Greywaren by Maggie Stiefvater

Greywaren Book Cover


Series: Dreamer Trilogy #3
Age Category: Young Adult
Source: Library
Published: 2022

Official Summary

This is the story of the Lynch family.

Niall and Mór escaped their homeland for a new start, and lost themselves in what they found.

Declan has grown up as the responsible son, the responsible brother–only to find there is no way for him to keep his family safe.

Ronan has always lived on the edge between dreams and waking… but now that edge is gone, and he is falling.

Matthew has been the happy child, the brightest beam. But rebellion beckons, because it all feels like an illusion now.

This world was not made for such a family–a family with the power to make a world and break it. If they cannot save each other or themselves, we are all doomed.

Star Divider


Potential spoilers for the book below!

I have mixed feelings about Greywaren. While Call Down the Hawk and Mister Impossible blew me away with the sheer inventiveness of the worldbuilding, and the stakes of the drama, Greywaren meanders a bit though a futile attempt to give page time to its large ensemble cast, before devolving into a too-easy conclusion that makes the former two books feel irrelevant, and that fails to give readers much closure. I wanted to love Greywaren as much as I have loved the Raven Cycle and the first two books in the Dreamers Cycle, but I admit I closed the final pages feeling perplexed. The complexity and originality I have come to expect from Stiefvater do not seem fully there.

While many readers struggled to connect with some of the characters, or found themselves disappointed by an ensemble cast instead of a full focus on Ronan Lynch, I always greatly enjoyed all the characters and the chapters from their perspectives. Hennessy and Jordan fascinated me. Carmen seemed to have great potential as a do-gooder clearly working for the wrong side. Declan easily became my favorite, as he finally got the chance to tell his story and was not simply the villain in Ronan’s. And lovable Matthew grew in the telling, finally shedding some of his naivete as he was forced to reckon with reality. All of them were great. I was even vaguely intrigued about what role Adam would play in this saga, and if the Crying Club would become relevant. So I was left wondering why half the threads in the previous books seemed dropped. I was even left wondering why the threads in this book were dropped.

In the end, it seems like maybe too much was going on for Stiefvater to deal with it all, but that seems strange given her prior books. But I was left baffled that Adam basically disappeared from the narrative, after getting a set-up that seemed to suggest his scrying would play a prominent role in Ronan’s mission. The Crying Club was never relevant at all. Matthew was set up to do something remarkable, but didn’t. And then all the characters acted completely out of character just so things could wrap up neatly. Rebels become domesticated. People die so other people can end up together, even though they don’t make sense together. Even the characters from the Raven Cycle appear, ostensibly for Declan, even though they are Ronan’s friends and not Declan’s at all? I understand the desire to give readers closure by neatly pairing everyone off and making everyone seem happy, but this is not the way.

And the ending of the book just kind of makes the whole dilemma of the first two books…disappear. I thought interesting concepts were at play. How can dreamers survive in a world that is not built for them? Should they continue to fight the nightwash, or should Ronan awaken the ley lines? If Ronan does awaken the lines, what other horrors could occur if the dreams become too powerful to control? Just because no current dreamers have thought to dream something monstrous and world destroying does not mean no one could. What if that happens? What is the plan? Well…none of that matters, anymore, dear readers! Apparently Ronan is just going to toss the whole ley line idea because, well, I’m not sure. Yeah, Bryde is gone, but the problem isn’t. Essentially, this book says, Ronan went on this entire journey to figure out who Bryde is and to awaken the ley lines just to decide he doesn’t need to because he had some personal growth instead and he doesn’t really care anymore. Or something.

The book is not a complete letdown because I still love the characters and the world Stiefvater has created. However, it does seem clear that Stiefvater struggled with the ending. I was in awe with the complexity and imagination of the first two books in the series, but it all comes crashing down here, with the book not sure where to go with all the big ideas that were raised.

3 Stars

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