- Title And Author: In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
- Publisher: MacMillian Audio
- Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
- Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
- Length: 208 Pages and 4 hours 57 minutes
Back in 2017, I finally got myself round to reading the first novella within the Wayward Children series, Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire. And I enjoyed it. Yes, it wasn’t perfect with some of the things it suggested or how it handle the murder mystery element of that plot (I figured out who was behind the deed and why they were doing it quite quickly!), but I did like reading about this world and the idea of “What happens to children to go to magical worlds like Alice in Wonderland when they come back? What trauma do they go through?”
I have kept my eye of the series and, while I have always leaned more towards Behind the Sugar Sky more then Down Among the Sticks and Bones, I have always found one excuse or another not to return to this world. But when I discovered I had a ton of credits on Audible and that In An Absent Dream was out the following day (I listened to a good chuck on this on the day of release), I ordered it and dived straight in.
In this, the fourth installment of the Wayward Children, we have a prequel set in the 1960s. This followed a story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who follows the rules, would rather study, read and dream than become a respectable housewife. But one day, on the last day on school before summer holiday, Lundy fins a doorway. A doorway that leads her to a world founded in logic and reason, the goblin market where fair value rules. Lundy finally finds a place to be herself, but soon, she will have to make a decision about what world she should belong in, she makes a bargain. A bargain that will, in no way, be fair value to anyone…
I hoovered this up much faster than I thought I would (over the course of two days) and while I did like this twisted, fairy-tale like tale, I know that this series isn’t for everyone so, like all other books, I advise caution to my fellow readers. Not every story is going to be a story that you love.
But I did find this quite enjoyable. I think it help that it was an audiobook so I listened to these while at work. It’s sometimes better to have an audiobook playing rather than radio or podcasts (though I love podcasts and I will be writing a post about podcasts in the coming month or so). Because of this, it was lovely hearing the story being told in a bittersweet fairy-tale way. You sense from the get-go that this isn’t going to go the way you expected, even if you have read the series and know that Lundy is a character we meet in Every Heart a Doorway.
I really liked how the Goblin Market and how the world within it acts. How fair value is important and, because of that, the importance and dangers of debts, change and growing up, questioning how sure a person can be…
This story isn’t perfect. I am about to say what I said about Every Heart a Doorway, which is at times, things felt a little rushed. For example, we are told Lundy and her friend from Goblin Market, Owl, lost someone very dear to them. But we aren’t there when it happens. We don’t even meet the character is questions. We last see Lundy after becoming friends with Owl aged eight in the Goblin Market, the next chapter starts with Lundy finding her way home, crying into her father’s chest, promising she won’t go back due to the grief of her and Owl’s friend’s death. There is a huge amount of time we don’t get to see. And it doesn’t happen once, it happens several times within the story but because of the way the story is written, in its eerie fairy-tale way, it’s not a huge sticking point for me. But I know for some people will find this a problem. And I do wish we have something more about what happened with the Bee Queen…