in an absent dream mini-review! // a goblin market with a twist

Hi friends! I made it to the fourth book in the Wayward Children series, and well, I do have thoughts. As always with this series, I’d recommend reading the first book before any of the others!

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.

confession: i uh…don’t really remember who Lundy is.

Which is really annoying, because this book made me adore her. By the way, this cover is lowkey the most gorgeous of the whole series so far??? Like, YES COVER DESIGNERS. SLAY.

Katherine Lundy is our main character, and she’s a very quiet sort of child. She would much rather read books than make friends*. The first time she finds her door, she’s eight. Over time, we get to watch her grow to a young adult.

*okay but that was me as a child??? why didn’t i find any doorways into magical worlds???

The goblin market was really cool to read about! Basically, you can go back and forth between the market and the normal world until you’re 18. Then, you have to make a choice. I thought that having Lundy switch between worlds brought a really unique aspect to this particular installment that the others lacked. There’s quite a few rules, and the world relies on the concept of “fair trade” which I thought was cool*. The worldbuilding was excellent as always, especially for a novella!

*clearly, i would not do well here. the only fair trade i know is fair trade chocolate.

I have no idea how this is possible but somehow Seanan McGuire’s writing changes ever so slightly to reflect the mood of the specific tale she’s telling. In this case, we get darker fairy-tale vibes. Where Beneath the Sugar Sky is whimsy and magic and sweetness, this is choices and forests and logic.

“She was ordinary. She was remarkable. Of such commonplace contradictions are weapons made.”

I enjoyed the plot well enough. This just didn’t have that five-star appeal, you know? But I liked it, and the audiobook narrator was just *chef’s kiss*. Seriously, this is a great series to listen to on audio! There’s something in each of the narrator’s voices that captures the magic of the novel. Tell me:

Have you read this series?

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