[Review] Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .

Genre(s): New Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Series: Dreamer Trilogy #1
Published by Scholastic Press on November 5, 2019
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Representation (click to show)

gay Northern Irish-American Catholic MC [Ronan], bisexual LI [Adam], established M/M relationship, Black bi/pan MC & secondary & minor characters [Jordan Hennessy & Co.]

Content warnings (click to show)

major character death(s), precanon loss of loved ones, grief & guilt, animal deaths (cat, cows), alcoholic parent, non-graphic murder & violence, anxiety attack, ableist language, past suicide, mention of overdose, mention of possible-drowning, mention of fatal car crash, mention of relationship with large age gap, mention of infidelity, mention of blackmail

While Call Down the Hawk wasn’t at all what I was expecting, I have to admit that I’m not sure what I expected — and  it does seem like an organic progression from the Raven Cycle. It’s definitely (New) Adult instead of Young Adult, with the protagonists entering a different stage of life; I hesitate to label this more mature because that’s a loaded phrase, but thus far the Dreamer trilogy feels darker and more complex than its predecessor. 

This centers on New Adult-aged characters, who are technically adults but far from being grown up: they have some sense of who they are and who they want to be, though that doesn’t equate to knowing how to make it happen. (Honestly, I always wish there were more books about this life stage, but I digress.) For me as an early-20s reader, it’s both relatable and cathartic. It seems like the stakes are higher, less because the dangers are more extreme — though this is arguably also true — but more because the protagonists have learned to think about the endgame rather than the immediate issue, yet they still have all the stubborn resilience of youth that keeps me believing in their victory.

Part of TRC’s appeal to me was the wonderful group dynamic and the characters’ specific personalities and quirks. So since this is a spinoff of the Raven Cycle, I really miss Blue and Gansey (my faves!) and Noah (RIP sweet cinnamon roll) and Henry. That said, the interpersonal dynamics and characterization in Call Down the Hawk are top-tier, as is characteristic of Stiefvater books. I find myself fully invested in the Lynch brothers, the brothers Lynch; obviously their familial bonds are different from the Gangsey’s friendships, but it is every bit as evocative and nuanced and even relatable, at its core. I’m also fascinated by Jordan Hennessy & Co., whose narrative arc brings up questions of identity, individuality, and morality (plus casual QPOC rep!).

As this is the first book in a trilogy, obviously there’s a lot of setup that needs to be done; you can theoretically keep up without having read (or reread) the Raven Cycle, though I personally wouldn’t recommend it. There’s references to previous episodes, which you can just skip over but are much more enjoyable if you know the full story; also, it’s fascinating to track how far Lynches have come since The Raven Boys. And it helps not to be starting from ground level as far as dreaming goes, since we learn more about dreamers and dreams … and art! (Gotta be honest, I’m much more interested in art than I am in cars, so I am here for this change in focus.)

Just please, more Declan POV and more Adam Parrish in the next book. That’s all I’m asking for.

4.5 stars

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4 thoughts on “[Review] Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

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