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In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4) by Seanan McGuire

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🚪 Every Heart a Doorway – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🚪 Down Among the Sticks and Bones – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🚪 Beneath the Sugar Sky – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, sexism, loss of a loved one, death, abandonment, and scene of child abuse (slapping of a child)

“Sometimes ‘fair’ is bigger than just you. Sometimes ‘fair’ has to think about what’s best for everyone.”

I think my heart truly melted for this story. As much as I fell in love with Down Among the Sticks and Bones, this might be my new favorite for the series. Who am I anymore?! I truly fell in love with this book though. Something about this book speaks to me on so many levels and if you’ve been here for a minute, I’ve been falling in love with this series so hard. This might be an all time favorite series of mine now!

Our story follows Katherine Lundy, you may remember her as the therapist who leads the group sessions in Every Heart A Doorway. She was placed as Elanor’s second in command, though she looks to be about eight-years-old, she claims to actually be eighty years old. This is her tale, the story of how everything began with a door and the goblin market.

“When a very serious little girl finds a magical door in the woods, she decides to leave behind a life of loneliness to go off in search of adventure, never expecting to find a mystical Market on the other side—where anything can happen, as long as you pay your debts.”

When Lundy is eight-years-old, she already knows how the rest of her life will be. She will be studious, quiet, and do what is asked of her. And if all goes according to her plan, one day she’ll become a librarian (she’s loves books something fierce) and then maybe one day, she’ll be a wife, and maybe a mother. This was the dream or at least the one that her parents wanted for her. But this isn’t the dream that feels right to Lundy and one day, she’ll find that glittering door on an old trail, and her life will never be the same again.

📜 Rule One – Ask for nothing
📜 Rule Two – Names have power
📜 Rule Three – Always give fair value
📜 Rule Four – Take what’s offered and be grateful
📜 Rule Five – Remember the curfew

“Your name is your heart, and you don’t give your heart away.”

Being a child who enjoys knowledge, she learns a wide plethora in the goblin market about who she is as a person and who she truly wants to become. Lundy has been given the gift of traveling back and forth between the goblin market throughout this book. We see glimpses of different time periods in Lundy’s life and during different ages. Within these moments, we see the sisterly bonds between Diana and Lundy, but we also see the found family aspect with Moon, an owl-like girl who lives in the goblin market, (who might be one of my favorite characters thus far). Each relationship is so pure, so wholesome, and fills my heart with so much love. The love and loyalty Lundy has for both Diana and Moon just warms the heart. You know I love sibling bonds and found family in books.

I truly loved Lundy’s character. While the circumstances and the environments were different, I felt like I could relate to Lundy the most thus far in this series. My family had often tried to keep me bound to their own dreams for me and to keep me as a quiet child. I felt connected to Lundy even more when it talk about the loneliness, one that even Lundy didn’t recognize at first. And the way she would spend her time reading and filling her time with her love for books truly made me appreciate her as a character. I know it’s more of a personal connection, but I think that’s why Lundy has become one of my favorite characters.

“In the way of bookish children, she carried her books into trees and along the banks of chuckling creeks, weaving her way along their slippery shores with the sort of grace that belongs only to bibliophiles protecting their treasures.”

As always, Seanan McGuire has absolutely beautiful writing and finds a way to make every world feel alive, in more ways than one. I loved how in this book we get a sense of the goblin market being a living breathing person. Always watching, always knowing who’s being fair or unjust. Speaking of which, that’s the theme of this whole book. Like the others in this series, In An Absent Dream has a theme about what’s fair, what’s right, and what’s just. Throughout this book, we see how privilege comes into play and how without some form of balance there would be chaos. The way the goblin market is written is designed to make us realize how our system is broken and we as people need to do better by each other.

“That’s because you don’t know what fairness means. You’ve been in a place that wasn’t fair for so long that the things we’d been trying to teach you have been driven back into the shadows.”

We truly just need to be kinder to one another, to learn from the errors we make and realize we need to do better. And we truly need to do better at acknowledging our privilege and realizing that not everyone has the same privileges. And overall, just read Seanan McGuire’s books. I haven’t seen many books talk about important topics that usually never get addressed or sometimes get ignored because no one wants to hear about it. I’m truly grateful there’s a series out in the wild bringing these topics up. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it, but I truly think this series needs to be celebrated a little bit more and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. If you’re a fantasy lover like me and you enjoy portal worlds, I whole heartily recommend this series to you.

“Enjoy yourself. There are many good things in the world, and each of them happens for the first time only once, and never again.”

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4 thoughts on “In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4) by Seanan McGuire

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