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Saturday, January 12, 2019

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

Book 8/125

In an Absent Dream
Wayward Children, Book 4
by Seanan McGuire
Published by Tor.Com Publishing
January 8, 2019
208 Pages • ISBN 978-0765399298 • Hardcover

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Book description:
A stand-alone fantasy tale from Seanan McGuire's Alex award-winning Wayward Children series, which began in the Alex, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning, World Fantasy Award finalist, Tiptree Honor List Every Heart a Doorway.

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, 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.

The Wayward Children Series
Book 1:
Every Heart a Doorway
Book 2:
Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Book 3:
Beneath the Sugar Sky
Book 4:
In an Absent Dream

Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series of books gets better with each addition, with the latest, In an Absent Dream, by far being the strongest story to date. Following the established every other book sequence, this volume tells Lundy's portal story, as she finds her door to the Goblin Market. McGuire offers up some serious ideas to ponder, such as idea of fair value for everything and what that means to either the recipient or the giver. It's some heavy ideas, and after finishing Absent Dream, I had to take some time to really mull over the notions that are put forth, and it really made me think about my own interactions with those around me and how the idea of fair value can applied to our real world.

McGuire doesn't just write one hell of an amazing book, but she pushes us, the readers, to consider how we can actually be better people by understanding how we can, and should, be fair to each other. It's really quite a remarkable book. And her writing; it's more beautiful with every book. There are so many potential stories to be told, I hope deep down that she never leaves this series and continues to offer us such amazing books forever.

Here is a handy outline of all the portal worlds discovered so far in the series.

The books follow an every other pattern, one book set in the "now" at the school, the next telling a portal world story about one of the students, then back to the school.
  1. Every Heart a Doorway (2016): At the school
  2. Down Among the Sticks and Bones (2017): Jack and Jill's portal story
  3. Beneath the Sugar Sky (2018): Back at the school
  4. In an Absent Dream (2019): Lundy's portal story
  5. Come Tumbling Down (2020): Back at the school and dealing with Jack & Jill's current development

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