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review 2019-01-14 22:11
In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire--- great addition to the series!
In an Absent Dream - Seanan McGuire

Looking for fair value in an unfair world can lead even the most sensible child to look elsewhere for a place to call Home. What would you do or give up to be seen, truly seen, understood and surrounded by those who see things as you do?


This series just keeps getting better and better! I really thought I couldn't be any more impressed. That was until I devoured my preordered copy, the very day it was released, and suddenly I am blown away... again! How can a simple concept such as children who don't easily fit in finding a way to escape their mundane/ill fitting reality only to encounter and enter a fairytale like, alternate, more accepting world give us such a gamut of supremely worthy material? The world building and prose are vivid while the characters are diverse. Ultimately Mrs. McGuire has graciously thought into being new and fantastical worlds that surpass the proceeding ones with imagination too beautiful for words.


This one is centered around Katherine Lundy who prefers to be called by her last name only (it's a Goblin Market thing, you'll see). Lundy finds the world she was born to to be unjust, especially with how it treats its children. When she finds her way to the door in the tree that is boldly displaying the words "BE SURE", Lundy has never been so sure of anything in her whole life. This book, based on Rosetti's poem The Goblin Market, has an ethereal and melodic cadence. The writing is simply gorgeous without being too flowery or verbose. The characters are rich, multidimensional and at once relateable. I won't go into anymore detail than that because I went into this one blind, enjoyed every single second of it and believe wholeheartedly that you will too.



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review 2019-01-12 04:27
Continues to be lovely
Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider (2018-) #4 - Seanan McGuire,Rosi Kampe,Bengal

I notice there's another writer on this, which makes sense.   I didn't check, but the writing did feel different. 


Still, a lovely take on the character. I refuse to indulge Marvel in their events, so I was a bit lost on the details, but still felt the rough patch Gwen was going through and was fed enough information to get the general idea. 


What she had to do in the end was so hard, and also so kind.   So much like her to take on that kindness when no one else thought of it. 


I love Spider-Gwen so, so much!

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review 2019-01-11 04:05
Another Wayward Child's story -- magical, enchanting, heartbreaking. You know the drill.
In an Absent Dream - Seanan McGuire
...the worst she was ever called where anyone might here was "teacher's pet," which she took, not as an insult, but rather as a statement of fact. She was Katherine, she was the teacher's pet, and when she grew up, she was going to be a librarian, because she couldn't imagine knowing there was a job that was all about books and not wanting to do it.

Here's a quick recap of this series for those of you who haven't heard about it yet/have ignored everything I've said about the series these last few years: Imagine Children who go off to a magical kingdom for a bit from our world -- Narnia, Fillory, the Lands Beyond, Neverland, Lyrian, whatever you call that land on the other side of the fourteenth door in Coraline, etc. -- and then return home. Some will go on to live "normal" lives -- others can't forget or outgrow their attachment to the magical world -- some of those, those who want more than anything to return to whatever was on the other side of the door wind up at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This series is about some of those children.


There's a basic outline to these books -- McGuire introduces you to a Child and a new world. Her language will be lyrical, playful and enchanting. She'll draw you in with the awe and wonder and while you're not looking, she'll set the hook, and you will be as emotionally tied to her characters as you are close family members*. Then something devastating will happen to those characters, and you will feel horrible, yet love the experience. No matter what kind of resolution is found in the book (death, rescue, brokenness), when you close the book you'll almost instantly start waiting until the next book comes out, because McGuire is just that good.


In this book we meet Katherine -- Katherine's never been good at making friends her age (there are justifiable reasons for this), but she likes talking to adults more, she likes rules, and she loves reading. There's something about each Wayward Child that readers can identify with, but Katherine is more relatable to readers than the others have been. One day, Katherine comes upon a tree that hadn't been there before. This tree had a door in it, and before she realized what was happening -- she was on the other side of the door, walking down a hall, on her way to a Goblin Market. In the last book, we saw a nonsense world -- this is a logic world, through and through. There are rules, enforced by everyone who lives there -- and somehow, by the world itself.


Unlike that (mostly) tongue-in-cheek outline above, each of these books are so different from the rest, it's hard to compare them -- so I'll try not to. But the structure of this seems more different than the others have. So I'm not going to tell you any more about the plot than I have -- I'll just say it's a great story, incredibly well told -- and even when the narration tells you the ending is not going to be "kind", you keep expecting/hoping/wanting for things to work out for Katherine and her loved ones.


I've made the ending sound bad -- it's not "happy," but I'm not complaining, I'm not criticizing, I'm most definitely not warning a reader away. It's the right ending for this story, it's absolutely how things needed to go -- but this is not the Feel-Good Novella of the Year. It is wonderfully written, beautifully written, imaginative, awe-inspiring, delightful, and eventually heartbreaking. McGuire's one of the best at work today -- and this is proof of it.


Yes, you can read these out-of-order -- but I don't recommend it. And hey, were talking 200 pages or less each, you've got time for that. You'll be glad you did (once you stop feeling horrible)


* That might be a bit hyperbolic.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/01/10/in-an-absent-dream-by-seanan-mcguire-another-wayward-childs-story-magical-enchanting-heartbreaking-you-know-the-drill
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review 2019-01-04 23:13
Love, love, love, love
Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider (2018-) #3 - Seanan McGuire,Rosi Kampe,Bengal

I continue to love how twisted this is.   Just a totally new look at what could have happened with Spider-Man if Peter hadn't been bitten and in a new world. 


And yet, it all feels somewhat familiar and not at the same time.   McGuire balances everything nicely - from the new dynamics, personal interactions and action - and the art is just as lovely and fitting as in the previous series. 



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review 2018-12-17 23:04
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day - Seanan McGuire

I don't actually have a lot to say about this slender novella. One of the things I like about McGuire is that her world building often feels unique and surprising, and this story was no exception - I enjoyed the magic and world she built. The book was atmospheric and melancholy, which I appreciated. I also liked her treatment of the themes of loss, depression, and how living means more than simply existing. Where this book fell down for me is that it wasn't quite what I wanted it to be. I was really wanting a ghost story, and while it is literally that, it feels more like an urban fantasy. There are more trappings of an urban fantasy romp here than a gothic horror, and while that's not really damning it's not really what I was craving. All in all I liked it, but it wasn't quite the story I was hunting for.

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