Another interesting world introduced, but one that had me scratching my head.
Genre: YA, Fantasy
No. of pages: 204
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.
‘In An Absent Dream’ is my least favourite of the series so far. It took a while to get the story moving, and then kind of went nowhere. For a novella this is not a great start.
Sean’s melodic writing is there and still amazing, but I did not get the complexity of characters I’m used to from this series. This felt very… vanilla. Plus I think my portent for fantasy is wanning again.
Our protagonists (Lundy) arc was more subtle in comparison to its prequels; plus there was always an amount of crossover – dealing with other characters previously introduced – but there was none of that this time. ‘In An Absent Dream’ is a true standalone… and subsequently left me feeling isolated from the established narrative. I guess that’s the risk you take in writing a sequel; I’m hoping that this has gone a long way to set up the next few instalments in the Wayward Children collection, but I’m just not seeing those aspects just yet. Maybe some stronger hints would’ve done this story more justice, or even an afterward?
‘In An Absent Dream’ is still a quaint little read, but in comparing it to predecessors it fell slightly flat. I put the novella down many times, and even read another two books in between starting and finishing this fourth novella in the Wayward Children collection.
The world the door lead protagonist Lundy to was not as interesting as many of the others we’ve visited between the pages… and the stakes did not seem as high for Lundy to either evade and escape, or want to stay. A bland Sophie’s choice.
Lundy is a pretty plain girl – bookish and rule following; not anything like the diverse cast I’ve come to expect from McGuire.
The story is predictable – following the same plot as all the previous novellas but lacked the tension and pacing.
So this turned out to be a so-so read for me, and hopefully the relevance of this story is yet to come to light in the franchise, but it’s not one I would recommend at this point in time. I am hoping McGuire will make me eat my words because this is a series I have come to love.
Overall feeling: a bit of a let down
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