Title: In An Absent Dream
Author: Seanan McGuire
Publication Date: January 8, 2018
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Portal Fantasy
Source: Won in giveaway (Huge thank you to Tor Teen!!)
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This is the story of 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.
For anyone . . .
Every Heart a Doorway – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
Down Among the Sticks and Bones – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Beneath the Sugar Sky – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
Your name is your heart, and you don’t give your heart away. Promise.
Okay, so this book took me WAY longer to read than I initially anticipated, but something about it didn’t have that initial hook that the other books in the series did. There are a couple things that led to this that I will talk about later, but this was also the first physical read I’ve done since like July (which is crazy). I’ve had a bit of brain fog this back half of the year and I don’t know how much of that contributed my feelings towards this one.
Oh and I got this book for free from Tor Teen (won in a giveaway) and this in no way influenced my opinion.
Okay, let’s get into reviewing.
Um, I liked this book, don’t get me wrong, but I definitely wanted more.
Rule 1: Ask for nothing.
Rule 2: Names have power.
Rule 3: Always give fair value.
Rule 4: Take what is offered and be grateful.
Rule 5: Remember the curfew.
The plot, while interesting, did a lot of telling instead of showing.
We had significant time jumps where we were told about these fun adventures Lundy went on, instead of actually experiencing said adventures. I kind of get why this was done, specifically to keep the main plot focused and to lead up to them impending doom, but I also would have LOVED to get some more details on some of these adventures.
I also thought this plot was kind of slow. There were some gaps where I wanted more to happen and I felt myself losing focus at times.
That being said, wow that ending.
If you’ve read the first book, you already know what Lundy’s fate is. So this prequel had this impending sense of dread where you’re just waiting for the thing to go wrong and WOW did it pack a punch when it got to said moment. I’m talking literal chills.
I also loved how “fair value” was discussed in this book. Things being “fair” or “not fair” is so ingrained into our daily life that having a book tackle the subject from a child’s perspective was actually super interesting.
The Market doesn’t punish us for having limitations. It only reminds us that fair value applies to everyone.
Now, fans of Seanan McGuire know’s she has a pretty quirky writing style, often breaking the forth wall to talk directly to the reader and inform the reader about information that the characters don’t have or letting them know about a time jump that is to happen. I didn’t notice it at first, but having read 5 of her books in a row, I’m definitely noticing it now.
I actually really enjoy her writing style, but I notice her really use it and play with it in this book. That being said, it did take me a little while to get used to the writing style. I felt myself reread passages a few times to fully comprehend what was going on, especially in the first chapter.
She can be the kind of girl who doesn’t need anyone else to keep her happy, the kind of girl who smiles at adults and keeps her own company. She can be content.
As Wayward Children Stories go, this one was probably my least favorite (but let’s be real, we’re talking about a 4 vs 5 star, like I still liked it). That being said, Beneath the Sugar Sky started strong and ended a little weak, this one started weak and had such a powerful ending.
If you’re a fan of the previous books in the series, I still recommend you give this one a shot! Getting Lundy’s back story was so interesting, especially knowing her character in the first book. Though, if you didn’t enjoy the quick nature (ex: short scenes or glimpses of past events) of the previous stories, you may not enjoy this one either.
HUGE thank you again to Tor and Tor Teen for hosting their giveaway!