Wednesday 15 December 2021

eBook review - Where The Drowned Girls Go

Title And Author
: Where The Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
Publisher: Tor
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof gifted by publisher in exchange for honest review/reaction

I’ve been meaning to come back to this series for quite some time. But one thing or another has always gotten in the way, so when I was approved to read/review this on NetGalley, I was hugely surprised and found time to squirrel this novella into my December reading.

The seventh novella in the Wayward Children series, this follows Cora. Since the events of Come Tumbling Down, Cora is struggling. She has nightmares from the Drowned Gods, who are waiting to claim her if she even finds her door. Desperate, she decided to transfer from Eleanor West’s Home from Wayward Children to Whitethorn Institute, another school to help children who fall through doors into other worlds then come back. This school teaches the students to forget, to be “normal” again. But the more time Cora stays, the more she realises that she and her fellow students aren’t safe…

Now, I know from several book bloggers and vloggers that I follow and trust that each book in the series can be very hit and miss, and I suspect that I have been very lucky to read and enjoyed three titles that most fans of the series really enjoy (Every Heart Is A Doorway, Beneath The Sugar Sky and In An Absent Dream). But going into this, I knew this instalment could very easily go either way.

I’m lucky to say that I did quite like this instalment, mainly because this instalment is set somewhere new. We spend most of this story at Whitethorn Institute, a school fans have heard of from Every Heart A Doorway, but not known much about. All readers knew was that it existed and it’s very different from Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Plus, it’s interesting how Cora’s view of the school changes from when she joins, desperate to forget the Drowned Gods and their hauntings, to a few weeks later when Cora realises that there’s something wrong with the school and she has to find her inner strength. 

I do want to reference quickly that, like the other Wayward Children novellas, this has triggers. Bully, fatphobia, eating disorders and mentions of suicide as one’s character’s backstory.

I did like this, and I do like the series, but I recently reread my previous write-up of the books in this series, and I found that I had the same issues then as I do now. All these stories have potential but there’s not enough pages to flesh out the potential and, because of that, there are times when sections of the story felt skimmed or rushed. Each Wayward Children instalment I have read just needs a few more pages to help build the story more. I get that these stories are novellas (and to be honest, I think these stories work best as novellas because I can’t see how this series would work if each instalment is around 400-odd pages) so pages matter, but I feel that if we had a few more pages, the pacing on certain sections would be better.

I, also, want to point out that most novellas in this series can, in theory, be read as standalones. You get just enough information about the character’s previous adventures that you can happily read without backtracking. However, while I did happily read this as a standalone, I do think that maybe I need to backtrack and read the previous two instalments – Come Tumbling Down (the fifth in the series where we see the events happen to Cora [though the book mainly follows another character, Jack, and Cora’s friends) and Across The Green Grass Fields (which follows one of Cora’s new classmates as she discovers her door and how she became a student at Whitethorn).

I do like this series and I do like this instalment, but I get the feeling that this might be my last outing with this series. I yearn for more. More what, I’m not sure. Now, I know many of you guys love this series, and I urge you to keep reading it if this series makes you happy, but for me… I feel like I might be outstaying my welcome and should bow out gracefully. I might come back to this series to one more title… maybe, we shall see…

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