In an Absent Dream

- Seanan McGuire


This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, 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.



In a house, on a street, in a town ordinary enough in every aspect to cross over its own roots and become remarkable, there lived a girl named Katherine Victoria Lundy. She had a brother, six years older and a little bit wild in the way of boys who could look over their shoulders and see the shadow of a war standing there, its jaws open and hungry. She had a sister, six years younger and a little bit shy in the way of children who had yet to decide whether they would be timid or brave, kind or cruel. She had two parents who loved her and a small ginger cat who purred when she stroked its back, and everything was lovely, and everything was terrible.


enjoyable/easy to read:
I knew it was too good to be true. But I guess every series has to have a dud, and I hope this is the low point in the Wayward Children series.

Going through all the characters we’ve met so far, Lundy and Sumi were probably the two I didn’t care to learn more about. Well, now that we’ve gotten to know both of them better, hopefully, we can move on to something darker and creepier again. Skeletons anyone? Where is Christopher…

There’s nothing wrong with In an Absent Dream; it’s just a bit boring. You can’t tell a story about rules and a girl who loves to follow them without losing a little of the magic of the unpredictability of the rest of the series.

She had been able to find a doorway and disappear into an adventure, instead of living in a world that told her, day after day after grinding, demoralizing day, that adventures were only for boys; that girls had better things to worry about, like making sure those same boys had a safe harbor to come home to.

The market sounds wonderful and terrible at the same time. Our own world could use a little more fair value, as I’m sure the market could have probably used a little less. The Archivist kept saying that the market was kinder to children – not that it ever seemed awfully kind to poor Moon – so it would’ve been interesting to see if Lundy had stayed (obviously not a spoiler – we’ve known this since Every Heart a Doorway) if the market would have become even more unkind with time. Would it have become darker and more strict? More difficult to find fair value and avoid debts? Or would it have been easier to survive as an adult, having learned the rules and having had time to practice, to stay aboveboard and fair and honest? If only Lundy didn’t feel torn between her two homes…

I’ve been doing my best not to look ahead in the series to see who is the subject of each book, but I’m really hoping we’re heading away from Nonsense and towards something darker.




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