YVO’S SHORTIES #119 – The Dream Thieves & Darius The Great Is Not Okay

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a YA edition… The first a sequel that surprisingly enough ended up disappointing me: The Dream Thieves by  Maggie Stiefvater. Be warned for an upcoming unpopular opinion review! Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram turned out to be just as good as people kept promising though.


Title: The Dream Thieves
(The Raven Cycle #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: September 17th 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Finished reading: August 7th 2019
Pages: 453

“All of us have secrets in our lives. We’re keepers or keptfrom, players or played. Secrets and cockroaches – that’s what will be left at the end of it all.”


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WARNING: it’s unpopular opinion time again!!

I should have known that the unpopular opinion curse wouldn’t stay away… Because even though I did enjoy the first book The Raven Boys back when I read it in December 2015, I can’t say I felt the same about The Dream Thieves. It’s true that I’ve heard people having mixed reactions to this sequel in general, and I fully understand why now. Unlike the first book, The Dream Thieves almost fully focuses on Ronan, and reactions to the sequel will most likely depend on your reaction to Ronan’s character in general. My reaction on Ronan’s character is actually surprisingly neutral; there are some things I like (including heritage and ‘powers’) and other aspects I found rather annoying (including his attitude), but overall I don’t mind him as a character. Having the focus mainly on Ronan in this story means that the magic of the first book is almost completely lost though… Because it’s the dynamics between the four raven boys and Blue that made that story into a success for me. Apart from the shifted focus, I also found The Dream Thieves to be rather overlong and quite boring in points… I actually caught myself skimreading certain parts, and that is never a good sign. I do have hopes for the final two books, as more than one fellow blogger has called this sequel the weakest link of the series, but I think I’m going to take a little break before I actually continue with The Raven Cycle. Maybe the unpopular opinion curse will get bored and will go away that way!


Title: Darius The Great Is Not Okay
Author: Adib Khorram

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: August 28th 2018
Publisher: Dial Books
Finished reading: August 13th 2019
Pages: 320

“The thing is, I never had a friend like Sohrab before. One who understood me without even trying. Who knew what it was like to be stuck on the outside because of one little thing that set you apart.”


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This one has been recommended to me multiple times and I love foreign settings featuring places I’ve never been before, so it’s easy to see why I was really excited to finally pick up Darius The Great Is Not Okay. I have to say it didn’t disappoint at all. While it’s true that it took me a couple of pages before I fully connected to the characters and writing, once I did I was hooked. The power of this story is both in its characters and the descriptions of the setting in Iran and the local culture. Especially the second was thorough, detailed and well developed, making Iran and daily life in Yazd come fully alive for me and it really enhanced my reading experience. Adib Khorram is able to make you feel as if you are right beside Darius in Yazd, discovering more about his family and his roots. Darius made for a very interesting flawed character, his depression and issues with not feeling that he belongs making you think about what it is like to stand in his place and how difficult it can be to overcome a clash of cultures within your own family or even within yourself. Darius doesn’t feel American enough, but doesn’t think he belongs in Iran either, with him not speaking farsi and not knowing a lot about their culture… I really liked how the author developed this theme in what I think is a realistic way; as a Dutch person living in a quite different culture and country (Argentina), I found it really easy to relate to Darius and his struggles. I loved learning more about Iran and seeing the characters grow and develop over time in general…The ending made me kind of sad though. If you enjoy YA fiction with a foreign setting and both interesting and flawed characters, you should definitely read Darius The Great Is Not Okay.


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BOOK REVIEW: The Raven Boys – by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: The Raven Boys
(The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: September 1st 2012
Finished reading: December 21st 2015
Pages: 416
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The fact was, by the time she got to high school, being weird and proud of it was an asset. Suddenly cool, Blue could’ve happily had any number of friends. And she had tried. But the problem with being weird was that everyone else was ‘normal’.

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I have wanted to start The Raven Cycle for a long time now, but after not really enjoying The Wolves Of Mercy Falls I somehow held back. Such a shame, because I actually liked The Raven Boys a lot better! I’m not fangirling all over the place like a lot of people, but I cannot deny it’s a more than solid read and very entertaining. The biggest problem I had would probably be the love triangle, but it seems that those are hard to escape anyway when you want to read a YA novel… But still, whenever they appear it’s quite annoying. The prose was really easy to read though and the characters are quite likeable; my favorite would probably be Blue and not only for her name. I love quirky and strong main characters! And the only reason it took me so long to actually finish this novel by Maggie Stiefvater is that I didn’t really have a lot of free time to read at the time I read it… Because I really enjoyed The Raven Boys and I will definitely try to read the sequel soon. Recommended!

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It is tradition that Blue goes along with her mother to the churchyard every year as the soon-to-be-dead walk past. Blue doesn’t exactly has powers herself, but her clairvoyant mother can see them. This year, things are different though when a boy shows himself to Blue and speaks directly to her…  For years, every paranormally gifted person has predicted that when Blue shares a kiss with her true love, he will die. And now everybody at Blue’s house thinks the poor boy will be her victim. Blue doesn’t believe it, because she would never hang out with a ‘raven boy’, a student at the local private school Aglionby, in the first place because they always mean trouble. But somehow she meets a few raven boys anyway while she is working and things soon start to change… And Blue is suddenly having a hard time keeping up with her promise to stay away from boys.

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I still want to hit my head for not reading this series first, because I liked The Raven Boys a lot better than Shiver and its sequels. The characters are better developed and I liked the overall story better as well. Sure, the love triangle was a minor setback, but the whole mystery/paranormal element really made up for it. It’s a very entertaining read and I will be looking forward to the sequel!