Cover Image: Across the Green Grass Fields

Across the Green Grass Fields

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Regan’s life is good. Her parents love her, she has her horse riding, and if she doesn’t quite fit with her best friend’s other friends at least she has friends. She’s happy enough with her life even as she finds herself ever more aware of the ways she stands out from her social group. A falling out sends her running, stumbling across a doorway that could never exist. A doorway that reads “Be Sure”. A doorway that leads her out of her life and into a world of unicorns and centaurs and all manner of hoofed folk where she finds herself surrounded by those who celebrate her coming even as they expect it to herald tremendous change. Destiny and expectation are heavy burdens, even with all the support the herd can offer, and Regan’s path to heroism may not lead where anyone could have thought.

Across the Green Grass Fields is a book I find myself not quite sure how to talk about. As ever, Seanan McGuire’s writing is fantastic and the characters are well done. This definitely feels more like a character study than I was entirely expecting, the story is definitely there but it is entirely reliant on Regan’s growth as a character.

There are no humans in the Hooflands. At least, there are no humans in the Hooflands unless one walks through a door and into a fate of saving the world and bringing glory to whichever herd finds them first, because a human is a rare and important thing indeed. There’s a feeling that there should be all kinds of expectations on Regan’s shoulders. That in this new world humans are only ever harbingers of tremendous change should be a massive weight on our protagonist. It should be and, to some degree, it is. The fate of a hero, a harbinger, a human is of mythical importance in the Hooflands and it could so easily be the heaviest of burdens.

But then we come to the centaurs who found Regan. They’re loud and huge and caring, and they welcome her in and give her space to learn and grow. They welcome her into their lives and home. And that gives Regan room to be herself, to learn who she wants to be. A lot of the book is given to Regan’s time with the centaurs, her learning from them and growing up alongside Chicory, the youngest member of the herd. It shows her having as normal a life as she could have in a world that isn’t her own. And that feels pretty excellent, it builds the connection between Regan and the world that chose her and gives her reasons to fulfill that heroic destiny that has been hanging over her head since she arrived.

Across the Green Grass Fields was a fast read and one that I found myself devouring even as I wanted it to not end just yet. Though we know that Regan will wind up stumbling back through the door to her original world, to our world, this is a case where the journey is much more important than the destination. Even then, I feel like McGuire penned a pretty fantastic ending to it. One that fit everything that came before it and then some.

Often, I find myself ever wondering which side of the Wayward Children series I prefer. There may not be an answer to that. Across the Green Grass Fields is definitely a point in favor of both the series as a whole and the side of it that focuses on students’ time through their doorways. It sits, sort of like a dream over a lot of my book related thoughts lately, not quite a comparison to anything in particular but something I would like to go back to again. It feels a bit like nostalgia and that earns it a five out of five.
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In this installement of the Wayward Children series we get to meet a new character named Regan. After seeing her best friend shun one of their friends for not conforming to their expectations of what it means to be a girl Regan has followed all the gender norms demanded of her. When Regan questions her parents about puberty they reveal to her that she was born intersex. I really liked how her parents approached the conversation and just how loving they were towards Regan. Overwhelmed by the information Regan confides in her best friend who turns on Regan the moment she finds out. Devastated she runs away from school and is on her way home when she stumbles across her magical door in the woods.

There we meet a clan full of lively women centaurs who spend their days hearding majestic unicorns. Regan becomes fast friends with a lonely centaur girl her age named Chicory and is treated like family by the rest of the clan. I loved Regan and Chicorys sweet and innocent bond. It was a nice change from the toxic friendship Regan had with her schoolmates. Despite being worried about her parents distress once they realize shes gone missing Regan settled into clan life well. She apprenticeshiped as a healer and learned how to care for the pregnant unicorns and their babies. I loved how loyal and protective the clan was of Regan while still not being

I really enjoyed the Hooflands and the centaurs simple way of life. The way they view humans with such reverence made for some unique interactions. I also found their mating habits interesting and wish we got to learn more about it. I also wanted to see more of the Fair. I liked the themes about destiny and forging your own path. The plot didnt tie back to the series main story line so this can be read seperately. I really liked the reveal at the end but the climax felt rushed compared to the time spent with Regan just living among the clan. I didnt mind the abrupt ending but I’m hoping we get to see more of Regan in future books. Every single time I finish a book in this series I find myself wishing they were a little longer because of how much I enjoy spending time in each world.
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The latest installment in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series fits beautifully in with the rest of the series while being nearly entirely it's own thing. For the first time, McGuire has brought us a wholly separate story that relies on no knowledge of the rest of the series. Horse girls and portal fantasy fans alike will rejoice in this transportive fantasy novella.
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I really enjoyed this one. Like the other books in the series, it has magical moments and heartbreaking moments. I always finish wanting more. Anticipation for the next door starts immediately after I'm spit out of the last. Can't wait.
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Across the Green Grass Fields is the sixth book in the Wayward Children series but the first that I've read, despite being a huge Seanan McGuire fan. A bit different than the other McGuire series I've devoured (Toby Daye and InCryptid) but clearly written with McGuire's magic ability to completely transport the reader into another world, literally this time (okay, not literally, unfortunately). 

Across the Green Grass Fields reads like a short story (it is on the shorter side of the novel-length at 166 pages) and tells the tale of Laurel, a girl who steps through a doorway into a world filled with centaurs, unicorns, and an evil queen. All is not what it seems though, so don't read this with the traditional " centaurs, unicorns, and evil queen" plot in your head; or maybe do, and be pleasantly surprised. 

4.5 stars for this beautiful story as it was slow going at first, but is seriously just so flipping beautiful. Special kudos for having a main character that does not fit traditional gender norms and the lack of romantic love (because friendship is just as beautiful).
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Thank you to and NetGalley for an early digital copy in exchange for an honest review. 

I understand why this such a well-loved series by Seanan McGuire. It's so fast-paced and fun for a lot of people. I can't deny that. The first book in the series really hooked me and pushed me to read the rest of the series up to this point. With that being said, I've made the decision to say farewell to this series.

The last couple of books before this one just didn't do it for me, and this one just had no importance. That sounds harsh, but I just felt like it didn't need to exist. I understand that it can be a standalone, and one where people can start, but I continued with the series to follow characters from the first book. This just isn't what I really signed up for. That doesn't mean that I don't recommend this to lovers of the series. If you just love McGuire's writing style and the fun, fantasy antics, then please give this a go.
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CW: interphobia, bullying, kidnapping

I've seen this described as "Narnia-esque" and I completely agree. It was magical and a good place to start if you're unfamiliar with the series/world. I would still recommend picking it up from the beginning though.

It was refreshing to see an intersex main character have an adventure that didn't fully revolve around her identity. The beginning did have a lot of discussion and there were some scenes that could be triggering so please tread cautiously.

It took me TWO WEEKS to read this 174 page book because I just couldn't get into it. I've been feeling slump-y in general, but this just wasn't working for me. The introduction dragged on forever and took SO long to get to the door. 

Something is missing but I can't put my finger on it. I'm hoping that a re-read when I'm in the right mindset will do the trick.
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One of my top three favorite reads of 2020, and maybe the best Wayward Children book so far, although I know those are fighting words...I've been told this one is for former horse girls, which I was NOT, so I think that says something too. It's a magical little book, a fast read, but also a poignant one, with an intersex lead, that isn't about traumatic sex or medical intervention or learning to love your body. No, it's about centaurs and unicorns and bullying and being heroic. I loved every page (though the beginning part, set in the real world, is so real, and so hard, it makes me wonder why we all bother).
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This was so much fun! Definitely one of my favorites of the series. McGuire’s world building is always amazing, but I just really, really loved this world in particular. Such a wonderful, small, self-contained story that was thoroughly satisfying to read but left me wanting more stories set in that same world, and that’s a feeling I wish more books gave me. This series is just fantastic, never gets boring, and I love recommending it!
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Across the Green Grass Fields is the sixth installment of McGuire's Wayward Children series, touted as being a jumping off point for readers new to the series. I think perhaps this is why I felt so underwhelmed by it in the end -- the novel follows the same basic set up as many of the others, where a child has a difficult time at home, then comes across a door and enters another world that seems perfect for them, only to wind up being sent back to their original world. As someone who has read the entire series, it just felt like taking a step back in how the stories have progressed from the first novel which introduced us to that set up. 

Usually I find McGuire's imagination and creativity enviable, but here it fell flat for me. Maybe it's because I never went through a horse phase as a kid -- I think the closest I came was watching The Saddle Club on TV and maybe reading a few of the books -- but McGuire's worldbuilding was thin here. Regan spends most of her time hidden away by her centaur family, which is full of characters that are likable, but that causes the world to feel small. There's a bit of worldbuilding at the end but it's rushed, as is the third act of the novel. Regan doesn't get to explore the Hooflands, so it doesn't feel lived in. 

I do however like that there was representation of intersex people in this novel. This is still one of my favorite series and I'll read whatever McGuire writes for it. Across the Green Grass Fields just isn't my favorite of the series, unfortunately.
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Despite very little in her novels being actually “comfortable”, Seanan McGuire has been something of a comfort read for me the past few years as I have practically devoured nearly everything she has written. I’m still catching up on a few things (Boneyards, Indexing, her short stories), but I have straight up mainlined her longer fiction. It’s just that I feel better having read one of McGuire’s novels, which is something that I can say about any number of writers, but reading most of those other writers does not often create in me the desire to read ten more of their books in a row - but that's exactly how I feel about Seanan McGuire.

There is a certain expectation of style and - if we’re talking October Daye or Incryptid - blood, mysteries, and the expansion of her worldbuilding. McGuire's books are damned delights. Heartbreak is not uncommon (often mine), especially in her Wayward Children series, of which Across the Green Grass Fields is the sixth.

Across the Green Grass Fields is a story of found family, which is not unusual for Seanan McGuire. Despite having loving and accepting parents, which is somewhat unusual for this series, Regan still finds herself estranged from her life. Regan is intersex, and disclosing that to someone she thought of as a friend caused everything to fall apart. When Regan goes through the door she is sure, and that brings her to the hooflands, a world of equines and destiny. There Regan finds abiding friendship and, naturally, threats to her wellbeing. Across the Green Grass Fields is not a softer story, but it is an often quieter one. Beautiful and haunting and heartbreaking as always.
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*4.5 stars* I still super love this series but this felt just a bit underwhelming. The atmosphere and plot undertones were of course wonderful as I’ve come to except with this series. Yet I felt the ending was a bit rushed and I wanted more. It did make me want to read the beginning books of this series again though
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sending me a copy in exchange for a review. 

Whilst I felt that this was a very slow and less plot driven than the others in this series, it was no less entertaining and beautifully written. Reagan was a bit of a flat character, and the plot of the Hoofland Queen was weak compared to the other books - it felt more like an interim book whilst we wait for the next and last book.
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This was a beautiful installment of the Wayward Children series. McGuire's world building is fantastic, and her character work is phenomenal. She has the ability to write poignant stories in a small number of pages. I cannot wait to read the next book.
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I want to thank NetGalley & Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Again, these author’s stories don’t cease to amaze me and make me have an incredible time, I liked this book, I don’t think it’s my favorite, that will always be the fourth book for me, but still, I really enjoy its whimsical and inclusive style.

In this story we follow Regan, a little girl who’s facing many changes in her life, discovering more about herself as well as having a difficult time with her friends at school. But while she’s trying to deal with all that, she finds a door on the way to her home, a door that asks her to “Be Sure” before crossing it, and once she does everything changes for her since she finds herself in a magical world where she meets all kinds of magical equines, from centaurs to kelpies. And in her magical journey, Regan will discover that there are many ways to become a hero and the true meaning of destiny.

The message behind the story is extremely beautiful, I like how real things are discussed and it’s combined with highly magical environments, I think that in some way it makes that symbolism behind the message even more meaningful and has more impact when reading it. This story is beautifully written and we see how this little girl questions many things about herself as a person and also about the people around her. Watching her grow up was very interesting, and although I didn’t have a strong connection with Regan, I don’t think she was a bad character at all. On the other hand, I think the book needs a little more depth in other aspects that are also important, such as the magical world as a whole.

I’ve seen that in general people who have already read this book have this thought, that the book should have focused more on the fantasy world instead of lengthening the moments in the real world for so long, on the other hand, although I do share this point of view, I think what happens in the real world was wonderful, I think having a whole book just about a girl learning that she’s an intersex person and seeing how this affects or changes in some way her perspective on the world would seem extremely interesting to me since it’s not something that’s seen much within the genre. So, for my part, I loved the first part of the real world, and although there’s a bit of girl group drama and toxic friendships, I think it’s interesting to explore it to give more depth to the character.

The world of Hooflands, which is where Regan is transported, is extremely beautiful, and it doesn’t surprise me because the author never disappoints with her ideas to create new worlds. Although doesn’t take much time to describe everything because it’s a very short book, it still feels very vivid and dynamic, I enjoyed meeting the creatures that inhabit as well as their customs and lifestyles . There are many aspects of it that are very original and fun to read. This little novel has also made me laugh so that’s always something super positive, especially due to the honest personalities that the inhabitants of this fantasy land have.

The characters were good, I think they’re “real” enough but without having that impact that makes you feel like they cut through the story, I think that factor is one of my least favorites in the book. Although I did like Regan as a character, I don’t think she’s THAT amazing like I thought she will be. There are some interesting and fun characters in Hooflands, but none that really stands out this time, and I’m so sorry for that!!

The author’s writing style is always a delight to my eyes and that’s why I’ll continue to read her books forever. There’s something about her style that resonates a lot with my soul, and I love to read what comes out of her mind, she’s an extremely unique author.

So basically, I liked the book, I think it’s a great job and I’m sure that if you like horses and fantastic equine creatures then this is probably going to be a fave for you, on the other hand, I could recommend it anyway to others people who enjoy short stories with interesting plots and lots of diversity. I also think it has very nice descriptions, but I have to warn that the ending isn’t one of my favorites, I felt it superficial and kind of rushed, but that, of course, is just my personal opinion, so I hope you decide to give the series a chance if still, you haven’t done it because it’s a jewel!! On the other hand, you can also read this book easily as a standalone.
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A fantastic addition to the Wayward Children series! The mantra "Be sure." has stuck with me ever since reading Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and seeing it being used from Regan's perspective added even more life to the world of the Wayward Children.
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I am not too familiar with the Wayward Children series (I've only read book 3), but I enjoyed this novella for what it was.  I found it to be a fun little portal fantasy that I think would be a very good read for younger girls that are interested in horses and unicorns.  The fact that the main character is also intersex adds a touch of diversity to the book.  I do feel that the ending was rather abrupt, but I did enjoy seeing Regan grow to love and become part of her adoptive family and finally accepting herself as she is (which I think is the main point of the story).  Overall, I thought this was a fun, quick read and I will pick up other books in this series. 

Thank you to Netgalley and for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A weaker installation in The Wayward Children series. An enjoyable tale of a girl who ends up in a world of unicorns, centaurs, kelpies, kirins and other horse like mythical beings. One of the best aspects was the intersex rep. It has been years since I read a book which centres a intersex character so I’m really glad to have seen that here.

Overall the novella read like a fun middle grade fantasy. At times thing felt rushed and the final twist felt very predictable. The overall messages though about prejudice and what groups we consider to be persons and how we treat them are powerful. It also looks a lot at true and abusive friendships and how we navigate these things at a young age and what we realise and learn looking back on them when we are older.
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I love this series, overall. This is a standalone book within a larger series, and I am interested to see how it is going to fit in. It wasn't my favorite, as I never really felt that I connected with the main character, Regan. Her journey was interesting, but it didn't consume me in the way that some of the other journeys have. Still, as I have found myself in some of the other characters, I think many readers will find themselves in Regan. I absolutely recommend this to any reader who has felt just that little bit out of place.
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I haven't read all the books in this series but I do agree on that this is a good point for starting. I like it. It's cute and has unicorns but get more depth than I first thought. Short and easy to recommend to others who haven't started this series yet. Perfect to read while communiting.
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