BOOK REVIEW: Call Down The Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

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“The dreamers walk among us… and so do the dreamed.”

Three years after the finale of her #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater returns to her magical and magnificent world of dreams and demons in the first book of a follow-on series, The Dreamer Trilogy: Call Down The Hawk.

Call Down the Hawk focuses on Ronan, a protagonist from The Raven Cycle, following the events of the previous series. Ronan is left to his own devices with only the company of his brothers, Matthew and Declan, after his best friends and boyfriend go their separate ways after graduating high school. Ronan also just happens to be a dreamer: he is able to manifest things into reality from his dreams.
Alongside Ronan’s storyline, in which he tries to make his ‘dreaming’ under control, and maintain his romantic long distance relationship, Call Down the Hawk follows a new dreamer, Hennessy, who has an aptitude for forgeries, as well as Carmen, a ‘Moderator’, whose job is to hunt and kill dreamers. All three are tumbling towards a nightmare that they don’t know how to stop, on separate paths, that will eventually cross.

Call Down the Hawk (CDTH) combines Stiefvater’s iconic, lyrical style with more grit and higher stakes than ever before. Where The Raven Cycle combined psychic magic with ley lines, myths, and legends, CDTH brings in a seedier side to a dreamer’s world, with black markets, forgery, and government-backed secret organizations.

Ronan as a character is more vulnerable than we’ve ever seen him. With a softer edge, it seems newcomer Hennessy has taken this role instead. Hennessy is the leather-jacket-wearing, car-racing, the most badass girl of your dreams (literally). Her slowly unfolding backstory gives us a springboard to dive off of in future instalments. The other Lynch brothers, Declan and Matthew, are given the chance to shine and we are given a deeper understanding of their inner workings, as individuals and as a family unit. This is what, I feel, will drive the Dreamer Trilogy, as well as the love for all things Lynch.

I can also sense that CDTH that will be the first book in a series. Casual readers may struggle to comprehend the significance of some of the foreshadowing (a Stiefvater staple), as well as understand the importance of sticking with the story in order for it to make sense. While  loyal fans of Stiefvater’s work are unapologetically grateful at seeing more of Ronan and his world of family and relationships, as well as the dreamers, it’s a fair assumption that new readers may struggle to keep up, or care.

The humour of Stiefvater’s work has always been a focal point of recognition for fans, and certain scenes have already made their way into the fandom hall of fame (the floating cow, anyone?). With all of Maggie’s works, it can take a while to get into the swing of the story, with conflicting plot lines and POVs, but ultimately, it’s the magic of her style and the strong characters and relationships they form that makes it all worthwhile.

Rating: 9/10