Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvateter is, not surprisingly, all about dreams, dreamers and the dreamt. This trilogy follows her earlier Raven Cycle quartet and Ronan, one of the Raven boys, takes central stage. For fans this means, sadly, no Gansey and no Blue. But Declan and Matthew Lynch, Ronan’s brothers, who were pale shadows in the Raven Cycle have been fleshed out, made more interesting and with more personality than one could have imagined.
A mysterious shadowy organisation, which is possibly associated with the government in some way, is going around killing the dreamers who have the capability to bring back people, creatures, objects and even, in Ronan’s case, entire forests from their dreams into the real world. The organisation, believing that a dreamer will cause the apocalypse, is hunting down and indiscriminately getting rid of all of them. Ronan, for the most part, not being able to control what he brings back from his dreams, has secluded himself at The Barnes, his parents’ farm. He sees his life stretching out before him, thus confined and lonely, while his partner Adam has gone off to study at Harvard. He has always believed that apart from his father and one of the boys that he knew at school, he is the only dreamer with the capability of bringing his dreams to life until his dreams are infiltrated by the enigmatic Bryde and he is forced to set out into the world.
The story is narrated from multiple points of view, the three main being Ronan, Jordan Hennessy a thief, and an art forger who has dreamt multiple copies of herself and Carmen Farooq-Lane who is hunting down the dreamers. Maggie Stiefvater as usual writes beautifully but the beginning of the this book was a little disorienting considering the number of new characters introduced. An intriguing theme of the novel is the concept that sometime the copy, whether it be of art or of a person, can be ‘more’ than the original and takes on a life of its own and that the created has free will of the creator. A lot of fantasy novels these days have an underground market selling contraband and magical items, mostly inspired, we think by Neil Gaiman’s Floating Market in Neverwhere. The Fairy market in this book is one of the better and perhaps more Gaimanish than the ones in other books.
The many story lines in the book managed to pull together mid-way through after which, we thought, the story really took off. But the ending felt like we had bought one of those defective prints of a book where suddenly you find pages missing and you are left not knowing what happens next and wanting to pull the sword out of Ronan’s hands and start killing someone. Stiefvater better ensure the next book is out soon.