In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pages: 187

Series: Wayward Children, Book 4

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Novella, Urban Fantasy, Magical Realism

Publication Date: January 8th 2019

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This prequel story tells the tale of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study than live up to the expectations of the world around her. When she finds a doorway to a world founded in logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. But everything has a cost in the goblin market…

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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 Palace.

Ch. 1, pg. 13

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I cried reading this. A lot. And it’s not even that sad of a story!

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Seanan McGuire’s writing over the years, and it’s far past time that I actually sat down to read one of her stories. I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical that this story would live up to the hype. Not only did it live up to the hype, but it became one of the best stories I’ve read in a long while.

I picked this book up to be my January pick for the Buzzword Readothon/Reading Challenge and loved every second of it. Even though looking at the series In an Absent Dream is technically the fourth book in the series, I felt that since this story is a prequel there was no harm in reading it before picking up the actual first book in the series. And you’d better believe I plan on reading the rest of this series – in order this time. (Even though I’ve heard that each book can stand on its own, I’m still interested to see how the world progresses from book to book.)

If you’re interested in how I plan on participating in the 2021 Buzzword Readathon, check out my host here.

Personally, I adored seeing the ways in which Lundy worked within the rules, stretching them to suit her needs but never breaking them. Her thinking was a lot like the way I think about things which made for a truly immersive read. What loopholes will help you get ahead without having dire consequences? How do you maintain the ethical boundaries you’ve set for yourself while still trying to please those around you?

There wasn’t much – if anything – that I could find fault with in this story. To me, it was a near flawless 5 star read. The flow of the story, the characters and their motivations, the world building… everything. Nothing came without its own personal price, and even though I didn’t always like the prices that had to be paid, I could respect what they were.

I can’t wait to see what else this series has in store for me.

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*Spoilers ahead*

I don’t want to spoil much of this story, because I think that everyone should pick up this story and read it for themselves without getting spoiled. But there is one question I just have to get out into the universe: What’s going to happen to Moon?

Moon had to go through so much throughout the story – and it wasn’t even her story being told. Her mother abandoned her to the market. She lost her two best friends at the same time – one forever in death, the other seemingly forever when Lundy went back to her world. Then, when she thought her friend was back, Lundy disappeared on her again. Sure Lundy was eventually able to get back to the goblin market, but it was virtually too late at that point. Moon and Lundy were able to spend a near perfect year together before Lundy’s promise to turn into a bird should they still love each other tore them apart yet again. Lundy finally buying back her humanity should have allowed the friends to live out their lives together in bliss! But then Lundy started dealing with the obligations she had to her family in her world… and found out it wasn’t as bad as she’d thought. By trying to make everyone happy, Lundy managed to tear herself away from Moon forever. The rules were in place for a reason and this was one loophole that Lundy wasn’t able to make work in her favour.

While I’m thrilled that Moon ended up learning some self control and responsibility throughout this story, I wish she would have been able to convince Lundy not to try and break the rules of the market – to try and extend her time to jump between worlds. I wish that Lundy had heeded Moon’s warnings – or even her father’s. Not making a decision can sometimes be the worst decision to make.

Where is Moon’s happy ending?

(She might have been the secondary character in this story, but can you tell that Moon had me invested?)

5 thoughts on “In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

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