"Don’t eat dreams...At best they’ll starve you and at worst they’ll control you. Dreams are like words, they’re like thoughts. They always mean more than one thing."
Find me a book that combines humanity and magic, the unearthly in the ordinary, and a subtextual campaign for a return to nature with attention to the damage we've done to the natural world that also considers the ethics of dreamers and survivors alike, and I'll devour it within days. Mister Impossible is all of this, with the added benefit of being the latest in one of my favourite series from one of my favorite authors. I might be a little bit biased, but that's what you get for religiously preordering every book from an author for six or so years. Still, I'll keep my bias woefully in check as we dive into this (spoiler free) review of Stiefvater's newest release.
"You have to know what you want, or you'll never get it."
This second book in the Dreamer Trilogy picks up almost exactly where Call Down the Hawk left off, revealing the physical form of the mysterious entity Bryde, following Ronan Lynch and Jordan Hennessy, the original, across the vast and mostly unnamed Eastern United States, following Declan and Matthew Lynch as they leave the Barns for destinations unknown, following Jordan Hennessy, the copy, as she separates herself for the first time from her dreamer.
As with most of Maggie's writing, the essence that drew me towards her work in the first place, Mister Impossible builds the lore of the world, the magic hidden in seemingly ordinary existences, the outright incredible breaking through the seams of the mundane, with immense skill and a clever hand. There are creations that are iconic and mind-bending: dreamt swords and sundogs and ice-melting dolphins, and there are creations that are vastly human: soul-reflective mirrors and phones that ring no matter how far away you may be. The combination of these is partially what makes this the perfect sequel to Call Down the Hawk, as well as what gives it a stand-alone quality that most of Stiefvater's books possess.
I will be the first to admit that a trilogy focused on the Lynch brothers and other dreamers found along the way was not the trilogy I expected when I was still reading The Raven Cycle; the original quartet. My first read-through had me reading the series as an homage to Gansey. My second read-through had me focusing on Adam, my third-read through had me focusing on Ronan, and my fourth read-through had me focusing on Blue. I find something new each time I make the journey through this series, and it was not until recently that I discovered that each book in the quartet seems dedicated to someone different: The Raven Boys to Adam, The Dream Thieves to Ronan, Blue Lily, Lily Blue to Blue, and The Raven King to Gansey. (Sorry Noah, a ghost that cannot leave Virginia has many stories, but they are mostly in the past.) In this light, the existence of the Dreamer Trilogy suddenly made absolute sense.
Maggie has said before that Ronan Lynch is an extension of herself, at times. Though I did not pick up on its greater importance initially, I knew that any story spun by this author would be a good one, one worth telling, worth reading, worth exploring. Immersion into the world of dreamers is a questioning of reality, and this book was no different. By the end, I felt a bit like I needed to lay down, and a bit like I needed to re-read it just to find what I had missed the first time. It is a story that makes a person a bit obsessive, in the way that creative-minded individuals often are, and this is what makes it so compelling - a story that needs to be told.
I was also thrilled with the themes interwoven throughout this story. With the addition of Hennessy and Jordan, with the deeper exploration into Declan's character, there is a narrative concerning the relationship between art and artist that parallels, at times, the relationship between dreamer and dream. A major plot point traverses the creation of art in that frenzy that defines true creativity, at least, for me, in a way I related to as someone who sometimes writes, and sometimes writes. This was an incredibly alluring narrative, an acknowledgement of the magic in an artist understanding the line between their typical creation, good as it may be, and the greatness of a piece they have a deep and undying connection with. Sometimes I feel that as I grow, these books grow with me.
Another theme explored that snagged my attention was the mutable nature of the ley line, the attention to how it has changed over time, for good or for bad, the ethics of waking it further, and the destruction humans have created that may not have been destruction at all, the suggestion that dreamers have always existed. There is little I love more than the idea that we exist in a world far bigger than our lifetimes, far more complex and otherworldly, innately mystic, than we can truly understand. This is another aspect of Maggie's work that comes up again and again, and never fails to leave me a bit breathless in its wake.
Overall, I deeply loved this book as I have loved the others that have come before it. It was not what I expected, because I never truly know what to expect, and this only serves to drag me in further. I finished this book in a mere two days, and that still felt as though it was not quick enough for the urgency in this tale, the magic that I needed to experience as the characters experienced it. I am forever grateful for this trilogy and for The Raven Cycle quintet.
"You can't hide away from the consequences of who you are."
Maggie, if you ever see this - I began writing because it is something I must do. I continue to write because I found your books in a bookstore once, and now I know I cannot give up this thing that I love. Thank you for inspiring such strange and familiar magic.
If you're interested in purchasing a copy of Mister Impossible, you can find it on Bookshop or purchase a signed copy, as well as copies of her other books, through One More Page, a local bookstore that partners with Maggie.
I received a preorder copy as a Christmas present (the preorder being the present, the book arrived just a few days ago with the release), so the photos above are showing off the special edition book jacket, signed book plate, and personalized signature, all of which I'm very pleased about!
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