Call Down the Hawk
by Maggie Stiefvater
“You are made of dreams and this world is not for you.”
Published Nov. 5, 2019 by Scholastic
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Date finished: Nov. 1, 2019
Content warnings: mentions of suicide, violence, gore
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. . . .
My thoughts (spoiler free)
Warning: this review is NOT spoiler free for the The Raven Cycle. But then again, neither is this book. If you’re interested, I have a spoiler-filled review of the whole series.
For anyone who’s wondering, “Hey, Margaret, this book doesn’t come out for another day, how have you already read it??” – it’s kind of a long story, but basically the bookstore where I work needed someone to read it early and write a review, so I happily volunteered. And I’m already dying for everyone else to read it so I can scream about it properly with you all.
This review is going to be a bit different from ones I usually write – I’m going to be giving as little detail as possible, because I think that’s the best way to go into this book and also how I would want to go into it. Basically, this review is for anyone who needs reassurance that this is a worthy follow-up to The Raven Cycle (answer: yes) or can’t wait another second to find out as much as possible about this book (completely understandable).
So…how does one review a book that one has been anticipating for over two years? (I’m still in shock that I’ve actually read it now.)
I’ll start out with what this book is not: it’s not The Raven Cycle.
Even though this book carries over several major characters and themes from that series, it has an entirely different feel. Rather than being mainly confined to the small town of Henrietta, Virginia and its surrounding mountains, it spreads from Virginia to DC to Boston to Ireland. The stakes feel broader. (Not higher, because the stakes in TRC always felt plenty high even if they just involved whether or not two characters would kiss. Just…broader.) This book has a different sense to it overall – less dreamlike and otherworldly.
“We fool ourselves better than anyone when we’re afraid.”
The magic in TRC feels indefinable and intangible, but magic in Call Down the Hawk gets names and rules and borders. There’s still a sense of magic running through everything, an air of anything is possible, but it has a different taste than TRC.
Still, Call Down the Hawk feels like the perfect follow-up to TRC, and I don’t understand how Maggie Stiefvater made that transition seamlessly. But if you go into CDTH expecting it to be exactly like TRC, you’re going to be disappointed.
The strange thing is, if this book weren’t attached to TRC, I don’t think it would have been classified as Young Adult. All of the main characters are 19 or older and it doesn’t really have the feel of a YA book, from the themes to the conflicts, especially compared to TRC. That’s not exactly something that’s easy to quantify, and I certainly didn’t have a problem with it, but I’m interested to see if others feel the same way as they read.
This book centers around the Lynch brothers: Declan, Ronan, and Matthew – but especially Ronan Lynch. As a dreamer, Ronan’s life has never exactly been stable or safe, and in this book that becomes more clear than ever. Reading this, I was struck by how far he’s come since the start of The Raven Boys. I’m so proud of his development, and I can’t wait to see where his character continues to develop through the rest of this trilogy. My love for Ronan Lynch reached new heights in this book.
Adam Parrish, of course, plays a part. I appreciate how clear it is that he and Ronan understand each other – they’ve learned how to communicate in their own special way, and their relationship is healthy and so heartwarming.
“Tamquam alter idem.”
Maggie Stiefvater managed to do something I never thought was possible: make me care about Declan Lynch. She also made me hate their father, Niall Lynch, more than ever, just when I thought my hatred of him had hit its peak.
Another main character of this book is Jordan Hennessy, and I can say literally nothing about her that isn’t a spoiler. But let it be known that I love her and I would die for her and her character was spectacularly written.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is another new character who takes center stage. I can’t wait to see what’s coming for her in later books because I think she’s going to have a character arc that will be glorious to see.
Call Down the Hawk involves many things, from art forgery to secret government organizations to Niall Lynch backstory to Adam on a motorcycle (the REAL highlight of this book, let’s be real), all told with Stiefvater’s seemingly effortless flare for beautiful prose. She weaves together secrets and mysteries in a way that keeps you glued to every word, desperate to fit them all together. I still have so many questions having finished this book, but I absolutely trust Maggie to write a magnificent story over the course of the series.
“He didn’t have it in him to love another dream. It hurt too bad. Loving anything did.”
That said, there are some revelations in this book that had me screaming. I need you all to read it ASAP so you can scream about it with me.
Of course I miss the Raven Cycle – I miss Blue and Gansey and Glendower and Henrietta. But I knew from the start that this was going to be a completely different story, and I’m utterly satisfied with what we’ve gotten. I’m just going to be sitting here in agony until the second book comes out, I guess.
(If you’ve finished Call Down the Hawk, come talk to me about it!! But please keep spoilers out of the comments!)
“A tiny golden light slowly lifted from her palms. Out of the corner of one’s eye, it was just a light. But if you looked at it close enough, it burned with a tiny, almost-not-there emotion: hope.”