Book Review: In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

In an Absent Dream

Title: In An Absent Dream

Author: Seanan McGuire

Published by: Tor.com

Publishing date: January 8th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 187

This is the story of 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.

For anyone . . .

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In An Absent Dream has become my favorite book in the Wayward Children series. I found the Goblin Market to be a more fascinating and intricate world than the worlds in other books in the series and I found the whole concept of Fair Value, which is the base of the Market, to be really thought provoking and critical of some of the behaviours and systems we have as a society.

Seanan McGuire takes the writing in this book one step further, it feels even more like a fairytale than the other books and the way in which she tells this cautionary tale is intriguing, because there’s a sort of omnipresent narrator that shows the reader this little glimpses of what’s gonna happen later in the book and that kept me interested and made me want to keep reading until I could found out exactly how thing were gonna play out.

The relationships in this story are very complex and they were of my favorite things about this book.  I loved the friendship between Lundy and Moon and the relationship between Lundy and the Archivist, even if the way those relationships ended kind of dissapointed me. The relationship between Lundy and her father was so interesting and intriguing to me that I wish I got more of it. And lastly, I freaking adored the little bit we saw of the relationship between Lundy and her sister, it was precious.

This book focuses on the moments between adventures, the book mentions that Lundy went questing and defended the Market, but those are not the stories the book is telling. instead, it’s about understanding how the market works and the consequences of not paying fair value. At the beginning, I was a bit disappointed that we were not getting to see Lundy’s adventures, but then I understood that wasn’t neccesary because that wasn’t what the story was about. And also, the events and consequences of those adventures were mentioned enough to answer some of my questions about them while letting the world keep an aura of mystery that was very compelling. I think that’s something Seanan McGuire does very well in all the books in the series, she gives enough information about the world to make it interesting, but there’s things that remain unknown and that way the worlds keep being intriguing.

From the start, you know this book is not gonna have a happy ending, but I didn’t see coming the especific way it ended. I wouldn’t say it was surprising, but I was a bit confused and disappointed in how easily some of the other characters let it happen. I feel like Lundy would have done a lot more to avoid something like that happeneing to the other characters, so I felt a little betrayed in her behalf. But then, I remember that Moon had told Lundy that she would never understanding Fair Value completely, because she wasn’t originally from the Market and I think neither Lundy, as a character, or me, as a reader, completely understood what Fair Value means until the last page of the book. 

Rating: 4,3 stars 

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? Are any fantasy books that you think are similar to this series and that you would recommend?

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