Book Review – ‘Across the Green Grass Fields’ (#6 Wayward Children) by Seanan McGuire

A horsey frolic through fantasy.

Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+

No. of pages: 174

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

I really enjoyed this addition to the Wayward Children series. I grew up with horses, and loved the imagination of the differing incarnations of equine in the creatures that inhabited the Hooflands. Intersex representation was also a plus for me – it’s not something I’ve come across before and McGuire handled it brilliantly. We get a slice of life in the real world and the discrimination and bullying our protagonist Regan faces, but once entering the Hooflands, any social weight of her natural biological condition was gone. She was simply a person – just like every other being in Hoofland.

Not so predictable, but the story kind of tells us where it is going to go. The ending, though satisfying, is bittersweet (with a twist) and abrupt. I found myself wanting more. Wanting to find out how Regan deals with her situation.

McGuire’s writing style is melodic in a fancy way that really sets an atmosphere and was such a joy to read. The short adventures each book in this series takes are endearing and have placed this franchise as one of my favourite fantasy reads to date.

The pacing is steady throughout. I wouldn’t say it was packed with action or anything, it meanders beautifully like a walk in the forest – steady and full of things to catch your eye.

If anything I would say the characters are a little flatter than I’ve come to expect with McGuire’s writing. Most everyone was nice. There was little conflict and not a lot of situations where personalities clashed. Hence the tension wasn’t so high and the stakes not overly great. It was certainly interesting, but in a franchise known for its diverse and complex characters ‘Across the Green Grass Fields’ was certainly lacking on this front in comparison to other titles.

I’m interested to see where Regan will fit in the future of the series, if she will get to interact with other established characters.

Looking forward to the next release ‘Where the Drowned Girls Go.’ A solid recommendation from me.

Overall feeling: fantastically beautiful

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