Synopsis: This is the story of a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.
When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.
For anyone . . .
“She was not the type to seek adventure, no, but she was well-enough acquainted with the shapes it might take. Shortly after the birthday where she had blown out the candles and made her choices, she discovered the pure joy of reading for pleasure, and was rarely–if ever–seen without a book in her hand. Even in slumber, she was often to be found clutching a volume with one slender hand, her fingers wrapped tight around its spine, as if she feared to wake into a world where all books had been forgotten and removed, and this book might become the last she had to linger over.
In the way of bookish children, she carried her books into trees and along the banks of chuckling creeks, weaving her way along their slippery shores with the sort of grace that belongs only to bibliophiles protecting their treasures. Through the words on the page she followed Alice down rabbit holes and Dorothy into tornadoes, solved mysteries alongside Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, flew with Peter to Neverland, and made a wonderful journey to a Mushroom Planet.”
In an Absent Dream is the fourth installment in the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire & was my last read of 2018. Needless to say, it ended on a wicked high note!
Oof. This series just shreds my soul. I feel it deep down in my bones. There is no question that this is now one of my all-time favorite series!
This story features Katherine Lundy. Yes Lundy, the therapist from Every Heart a Doorway! This is why I strongly believe these books should be read in order. It brings so much to the overall picture of what McGuire is building here. All of these puzzle pieces falling into place. It’s fucking glorious!
Lundy finds her doorway, which takes her to a High Logic world – The Goblin Market. Fair Value is important here.. because everything comes with a price. How do you calculate what is fair & what isn’t? With most things, there are consequences.
I dare say that this is my favorite in the series & that is because of Lundy (& the Goblin Market, to be fair!) Lundy.. oh Lundy. I loved her from the very beginning! She is probably the character I have related to the most in this series. My circumstances were different, but I could completely relate to the deep loneliness that Lundy felt around people, preferring instead to lose herself in the pages of a book. Lundy is just.. she’s a hardcore bibliophiles character.. because she *is* a book lover herself. It is evident in every single installment that Seanan McGuire is, too.
These feminist fairy tales are magical in their own individual ways. Self-discovery; finding your place in the world; overcoming obstacles unfairly placed upon you; love in various aspects; becoming happy with who you are; being kind to yourself & your fellow humans. It’s about friendship, loyalty, discovering what you want in life, falling in love with someone who just.. gets you. It’s both beautiful & painful, this series. Ultimately, what I think I love most is that it feels like it’s meant for the misfits & the outcasts & the weirdos. Like it’s for all of us who have never really felt like they belong.
In fact.. I’m still trying to find my doorway. But books like these give me hope that one day I will.
“It was not, perhaps, a happy ending. But it was what they had, and so we shall leave them to it as we head on, ever on, toward the next, patiently waiting door.”
There are so many portal worlds that McGuire could have us visit. This is a series that I hope continues for many more years because it is just everything. EVERYTHING.
Seanan McGuire is one of the most exciting novelists at work in the SFF field & I cannot express how much her stories truly mean to me. If you have yet to read her work.. please pick up Every Heart a Doorway. Something tells me you won’t regret it!
(Massive thanks to Tor.com Publishing for sending me a copy because they know how much I love this series!)
**The quotes above were taken from an ARC & are subject to change upon publication**