Because my opinion is actually not an opinion, it’s undisputed fact. Anyways, I wanted to rank every single installment in The Wayward Children series partially because many things deserve to be ranked and partially because I haven’t finished Our Violent Ends and the post I was going to write on duologies works better if I’ve finished it. I’ll be going from the “worst” book to the “best” book in the series. And please don’t be offended or upset, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this post is just for fun!
and the worst book in the series (thus far) is…
Don’t @ me for using a drum roll to hype up the bottom of the barrel. Both the bottom of the barrel and the top of the barrel need a drum roll for opposite reasons. Anyways, Come Tumbling Down is very much the worst installment in this series for many reasons. The strengths in every Wayward Children book usually lie in the creative, imaginative worlds McGuire creates, and the deep discussions she integrates effortlessly into the plot. Come Tumbling Down failed on both accounts. We return to the Moors, but still don’t get to see vampires or anything else super cool. We hear some minor issues with the characters but the overall theme is really just Dora the Explorer yelling “Friendship!” We expect an amazing climax because of the cast of characters and the dramatics that are going on but all we get is a plop and an ending.
This and Number 4 on my Supreme List are very close (objectively). This one is placed here mostly due to the fact that it lacks in a lot of strengths that Number 4 has. This will definitely be some people’s favorite because it revolves around all sorts of magical horses but the actual plot is non-existent until maybe the last fourth of the story. This is a story that feels pointless until then. And for a novella, that’s quite an extraordinary feat unto itself.
BEFORE YOU GET ALL RILED UP AT ME FOR HAVING THIS HERE…actually I got nothing. Just kidding, I have a loose explanation. Beneath The Sugar Sky is a little bit sickly sweet, yes. It’s also a little bit predictable, cliche, and airy. However, we get to see multiple worlds through the perspectives of a diverse cast with a clear goal in mind, and that’s why I placed this book above the previous two. We’re not rehashing nonsense in a frankly disappointing climax nor are we meandering through some random fields. And while it is cliche, at least it’s cliche in Candy Land for half of this book. That’s a real winner.
Guys, look at how objective I’m trying to be. Please applaud me. Anyways, I love Down Among The Sticks and Bones but for good reason. Jack and Jill’s story was the first (sort of) standalone to be told. It reads like a beautifully paced dark fairytale. Also, the world is very uniquely written. Overall, this is just a strangely beautiful story.
Every Heart A Doorway is the first installment in this series, and there hasn’t been one like it since. It introduces a diverse cast, an incredible premise, and a fascinating mystery. If I’m being totally honest, I think this one captures exactly what a fantasy novella is supposed to be for so many people.
In An Absent Dream is an absolute work of art as far as both worldbuilding and atmosphere go. I think that Seanan McGuire is at her best when she’s creating a story that is fully planned out and influenced by something unique. In An Absent Dream is tightly plotted and tugs on all the emotions. I’m obsessed.
So that’s it! In case you’re wondering what my personal ranking would be, it would be putting Every Heart a Doorway at #4 and Beneath The Sugar Sky at #3. What about you? Do you agree with my ranking?