So my recent and newfound love has been the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. These books have been on my radar for a while but I’ve always wanted them in hardback form (I mean, have you seen the covers?!) and thanks to some lovely human beans, I have been able to finally start the series. I was toying with how to review these but eventually decided on writing mini-reviews for each book in the series thus far (my thoughts rather than a synopsis) so without further ado, here are some of my thoughts!
Book One: Every Heart a Doorway
“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.”
For me, the first book in a series can either be the best or the worst and in this case, it’s a strong favourite. We are introduced to the main characters that we follow throughout the rest of the series, give or take and I think the main reason I am loving this collection is because it features my favourite trope – found families. Based around the idea of children being lost and having nobody who understands them except each other just tugs on my heartstrings. As you may already know, this series is incredibly diverse and this one alone features an asexual MC (with plenty of discussions about it) and a trans side character. Overall, this was such a strong start to the series and a wonderful introduction to the characters we’ll continue to follow.
Book Two: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
“She had tried to make sure they knew that there were a hundred, a thousand, a million different ways to be a girl, and that all of them were valid, and that neither of them was doing anything wrong.”
The second book in the series features Jack and Jill – twin sisters we meet in book one. We follow their story before the events of Every Heart and find out how they ended up in the home. This book takes place in their world – known as The Moors and it is delightfully dark. The two sisters could not be more different and we learn about their childhood up until they discover their door. This book deals a lot with gender expectations and how each girl was moulded to fit the idea their parents had in their heads. To them, a girl is either ‘girly’ or a ‘tom-boy’ and this book shows that a girl can be everything and anything. We also get excellent germaphobia/mysophobia rep as well as a beautiful f/f romance. One of the darkest books in the series so definitely another favourite.
Book Three: Beneath the Sugar Sky
“That’s why people shouldn’t get too hung up on labels. Sometimes I think that’s part of what we do wrong. We try to make things make sense, even when they’re never going to.”
Book three for me is perhaps the most different in the series purely because its setting – a world made entirely of candy is a stark contrast to the Home itself and the Moors from book two. This is perhaps my least favourite in the series but I enjoyed it all the same. As well as featuring some characters from book one, we also have a few new voices including our main character who brings us excellent fat representation. A lot of her dialogue and thoughts are based around her weight but Seanan debunks the stereotypes put on fat people. It was so refreshing to see a character own their weight and this book was a big f*** you to fatphobia. I also loved that this book featured a huge bunch of misfits working together because I am such a sucker for that. Not only that but this book also features Nadya, an amputee and a hijabi character as well as anxiety rep. Huge bonus points for the most beautiful cover art and illustrations woven throughout.
Book Four: In An Absent Dream
“If you want to help her, you need to help yourself first. No one serves their friends by grinding themselves into dust on the altar of compassion.”
The fourth instalment in the series and perhaps my least favourite unfortunately. This book follows Lundy, who we first meet in book one. Lundy travels through her door as a child and finds herself in the Goblin Market faced with certain rules she must follow. Before this, she is the daughter of a principal and a stickler for the rules. She wants to grow up, get married and have children but when she falls into her world, everything changes. This book tackles the subject of fairness and how we are conditioned to live in a world where nothing is fair. It shows us that despite wealth and privilege and everything in between, the ideal world would have fairness and equality and kindness. I think the reason this book was my least favourite is because it focussed purely on Lundy and a lot of years in her childhood were skipped over, resulting in the story not flowing as well as I’d hoped. However, I love the message in this book and it has not put me off the series at all.
Book Five: Come Tumbling Down
“The world doesn’t stop spinning because you’re sad, and that’s good; if it did, people would go around breaking hearts like they were sheets of maple sugar, just to keep the world exactly where it is.”
The most recent book in this series that again has received mixed reviews is, safe to say, one of my favourites. I saw a lot of people let down that another book was based around Jack and Jill and the Moors but seeing as I love their twin dynamic, the dark setting and of course, a gang of misfits working together – I loved it. This book is set after the events of book one and shows us what happened after the twins returned to their world. Seanan always amazes me by cramming so much into books that are just over 100 pages. Without going into spoilers, this book delved even more into Jack’s OCD and I believe this aspect is own voices too! I love that almost all the characters from the previous books came together in this one but now I just need books based around Kade and Christopher please and thank you.
Have you read this series? If so, which is your favourite?
Lots of Love,