In an Absent Dream

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Heartbreaking and beautiful. The author does this thing of leaving out the usually exciting bits of a story, the fighting and winning bits, and just including the character building bits. The normal life and difficult questions bits. The living bit. I adored it
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These novellas have become a delicious morsel to snack on at the beginning of each new year. In an Absent Dream continues that trend with an engaging story about Katherine Lundy, a rule-following young girl who stumbles upon a portal world where fairness is the impetus behind all the laws in the land.  Author Seanan McGuire has such an interesting way of communicating sights and sounds and smells to the reader that it’s impossible to not be enchanted by the worlds she creates. Each book in the series has featured a unique fairy-tale land and I look forward to seeing what she cooks up next.

As always, it’s tough for me to push the rating for a novella beyond 3 full stars, but I did really dig this one. It still feels like a highlight reel of a what could have been a much longer book, though.
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McGuire’s Wayward Children series is not only in my must buy list but it’s in the set of books I slowly savor. The series features children walking through portals to other worlds—like Alice or Dorothy or the Pevensie children—either in their initial adventures as it happens or in the aftermath for those returned to their home changed by their experiences. In this installment young Katherine Lundy opens the door to the Goblin Market and faces a terrible choice. This is one of the darker stories with an ominous feel of time running by too quickly as Lundy must choose which side of the door she plans to stay on. This was a fabulous and creepy addition to the series!
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Have I mentioned how much I love Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series? I think I might have but still: I really fucking love this series. 

It goes without saying that McGuire has knocked the ball straight out of the park again with this book.  It’s possible to finish In An Absent Dream in an hour or a single sitting, the same way it’s perfectly possible to eat an entire box of chocolates, but once you’re done…well, now you’re out of chocolate, and you won’t be getting any more until 2020. I took my time with In An Absent Dream because I am a slow reader and because I wanted to savor it. Some of the scenes from Katherine’s childhood hit me so hard for a moment I wondered if Seanan McGuire followed me around when I was a kid and took notes. No kids at the birthday party? Got along better with adults than peers? Loved books more than people? Yes. 1000% yes. Katherine’s dream of becoming a librarian because “she couldn’t imagine knowing there was a job that was all about books and not wanting to do it”? 

That’s precisely why I got my Masters in Library and Information Science. That, and all the best jobs required it. But now that I have the degree, though, all of those jobs have disappeared. Because of course. 

Again, the worst thing about this series is just how long we have to wait between each installment. These books are oh so good, but so, so short. I do not recommend binging it all in a day - take it in slowly, preferably with the first three books on hand so you can see how all the stories are woven together. Make it last because I swear to God 2018 has felt like it’s lasted for twenty years and it’s still not over. The wait for 2020 is going to feel like an eternity. If the world is even still around by then. Fingers crossed!
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[Disclaimer: I received an advance NetGalley copy for an honest review.]

Reviews have been embargoed till it comes out and if the book is about anything it is about following the rules. So no details yet, I'll update this when the time comes.

Non-spoilery description: this is the fourth book in McGuire's amazing "Wayward Children" series about children who have each visited strange and unearthly lands -- some spirited away, some walking in eyes open -- and what happened to them after. Say, if Alice Liddell and Dorothy Gale and Christopher Robin and the Pevensie siblings were all sent to a rehab center. Not for their delusional belief in a strange land, mind you, but because they all want to go back. Each one has important truths without getting preachy, a wide range of diverse characters and both a good sense of humor and actual consequences for actions. Where the other books have been about several characters each, this one is more of a prequel character study of one of the teachers in the first book, the wise and eternally childlike Lundy and how she got that way.

This series reads like it was designed for me and I've loved each book in it. While I have some issues with it, this new addition is no exception. Go get it and come back so we can talk about it.
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This is a fantastic installment in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series. The writing is compelling and the characters are well-rounded. The world building is excellent, and unlike many other fantasy tales for young adults, these books are short enough to be accessible to a wide audience of readers. This is one series I consistently purchase both for my library and for my personal collection at home, and I return to them again and again. Highly recommended.
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In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire. In this prequel to her beloved series is the heartbreaking story of young girl who never fit in, lured to a fantastical place filled with longing, adventure, and magic. If you like the others in this series don't miss how it first began...
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This series just continually impresses me. I really enjoyed Lundy, and her story. At some points, I wanted to see more of her adventures in the Goblin Market, but I think the aspects that were focused on, really were the more important ones. Lundy's relationships with her family members was quite interesting and I really liked seeing how her door opened and the subsequent events that lead to the eventual end to her journey. 

I really enjoyed how Lundy developed and fit into her world. The writing was great, and the world building was interesting. Ultimately, Lundy's story is a cautionary tale, and I really liked how the story was crafted and how it fits into the larger Wayward Children world.
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The beauty of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children books are that they are short and you can read them separate from each other. Doesn’t mean they don’t pack a punch. I have only read Every Heart a Doorway but it was easy to read this book without having read book 2 and 3. 

The reason I was so drawn to this one was that it is about the Goblin Market. If you don’t know, The Goblin Market is a poem written by Christina Rossetti that I had the pleasure to read at the start of this year. Knowing this book uses that spark my interest right away. However I don’t think you need to have read The Goblin Market to be able to understand this book. Not at all. It stands on its own just fine. It is just a nice bonus to have read that as well. 

This book focuses on Katherine Lundy a character we briefly met in Every Heart a Doorway. She finds a doorway at the age of 8 to the Goblin Market, to escape her life. A life that has been set out for her by society. As she grows up she repeatedly visits, something that shapes her life in a defining way. It talks about family, the norms that society has set for females (especially in the period that Lundy grew up in) and economic status.  Take only as much as you give. 

I took more of a liking to Lundy in this story. A reader like us, who finds a way out in between the pages. She is so serious. In that way she kind of reminds me of myself. I loved how she took to Moon and Diana. But I think most of all I found her relationship with her so much younger sister so interesting. The one who had to pay the price for her leaving so many times. 

All in all this is a powerful installment to the series and it makes me even more curious about book 2,3 and 5.
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Book four of the Wayward Children series. If you enjoyed the others, this one will also fit the bill. Not quite as horror-oriented as the Jack&Jill book, but still not exactly for the squeamish.
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This was so bittersweet. I really liked this, The writing was engaging. I am fond of this series, and anyone who likes EHAD series will loved this.
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Another prequel to the wonderful Every Heart a Doorway.

Katherine Lundy is a quiet, bookish, rule-following child without any friends. When she encounters a tree with a door in it, she cautiously enters, and finds herself in the Goblin Market. The Market has a lot of rules, about fair exchange and paying one's debts. One of the biggest rules is that she can come and go as she wishes until she is 18; then, unless she has become a citizen, she can never return.

Surprising, inventive, and deep.
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Katherine Lundy is the focus of this story, and we get to explore the Goblin Market through her eyes in this fourth installment of the Wayward Children series.
I loved this book so much, McGuire is always able to thread so much real world wisdom and themes, perfectly phrased at that, into these portal fantasy novellas.
The market has 4 main rules that seem basic and clear : ask for nothing, names have power, always give fair value, and beware of curfew. Lundy is taught how the market works, in a piecemeal fashion, starting at age 8 and continuing over several years by the Archivist and her friend Moon.
This is an excellent story about fairness and privilege, and all done through a portal fantasy parable. I cannot recommend this book, and this series enough.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book.
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This installment of the Wayward Children series returns to the past, with the story of Lundy (first introduced in "Every Heart a Doorway") and her experiences with the Goblin Market. Each of the novellas in this series so far has tackled a different aspect of identity and belonging. Lundy's story is about fairness, and about what we owe to each other. Unlike the previous main characters in this series, Lundy is in the unique position of being able to go back and forth between the Goblin Market, where anything is possible as long as you give fair value, and her home in our world, where she has two caring siblings and parents who love her deeply even if they don't always understand.

I enjoyed "In an Absent Dream", although it was also a less comfortable read for me then others in the series simply because parts of it hit a little close to home. I definitely could have been the child who stumbles into trouble because she can't bear to give up either of her families and wants to find some way to have it all. In the earlier novellas we either haven't really seen the families of the lost children, or what we have seen of them just makes us even more satisfied that their children have managed to find a new home. Lundy is the first to be genuinely torn. Of course, in some ways she's also the first to really have a choice.

Everything that happens in the Goblin Market is based on the idea of giving fair value, a contract that is strictly enforced by the Market itself. There is no way to cheat this system, and in many ways that is the appeal of Lundy's world. It can be comforting to know that you will always be treated fairly, even if pure fairness can be rather lacking in compassion.

Lundy's story is especially difficult to read because we know how it ends. Seeing Lundy inch closer and closer to the person that she is when we meet her in "Every Heart a Doorway" isn't easy, but her journey is well worth reading. Welcome to the Goblin Market, be sure.
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I love Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children books. Actually I just love Seanan McGuire and her alter ego, Mira Grant.  I was only granted this novella yesterday and I finished it before work this morning, it having leap frogged over everything else I’m currently reading. There are so many important themes in in this series – learning to love your body no matter whether it fits societal standards or not, sexuality and the importance of understanding that you’re not broken and deserve to be loved no matter what, how gender norms are imposed on us in a poisonous cycle and should be rejected where necessary without guilt. And In an Absent Dream McGuire has outdone herself in portraying the sheer insanity of a world that has completely lost touch with people’s realities and circumstances. It’s about privilege and fairness, and being aware that your life experiences do not equal anyone else’s. Some things are not fair and we need to realise this. And she has done it through a Goblin Market retelling which was just sheer perfection. I am now in the post book hangover phase but I can’t even berate myself for my lack of self denial because it was just that good.
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This is the fourth installment of the Wayward Children series, and this story focuses on Katherine Lundy, who ends up at the Goblin Market from Christina Rossetti's famous poem. The Market operates under a bartering system of fair value, and Katherine quickly has to learn not to get herself into debt. Katherine's story teeters between two worlds, until she is ultimately forced to make a choice between the mundane world and the Goblin Market. 
McGuire continues to find new ways of telling the stories of Wayward children, while also writing poignantly about the imaginations of children and the love of books. I'm looking forward to her next installment!
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