Sarah Reviews: In an Absent Dream

In an Absent Dream by 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.

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Publication Date: January 8th, 2019

Date Started: January 31st, 2019

Date Finished: February 1st, 2019 

Recommended By: N/A

Acquired: Audiobook from

Content Warnings: Grief, references to abused pregnant girls

Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Good: As always, I loved McGuire’s prose and her philosophical musings embedded in her narrative voice. It’s perfectly balanced and moving, and it always evinces a deep emotional reaction in me. That was present in this book, too, though in slightly different measure. I can also say that I really related to Lundy as a young child. Her preoccupation with the rules felt very familiar to me. Similarly, I appreciated that it was her father who received the most attention as the parental figure. I think father-daughter relationships aren’t explored often enough, especially when they’re as complicated as this pair. It was great seeing a High Logic, High Wicked world from the Wayward Children universes, and its Wicked side really showed up by the end despite the fact that it looks Neutral at first glance. 

The Bad: The pacing in this book was a little more breakneck than in other installments on the series because, like Down Among the Sticks and Bones, it covers a longer period of time. However, Lundy jumps back and forth so many times that it gets just a little disorienting. Also, she became frustrating as a character because the Wicked side of the world clearly affected her ability to relate to people, making her extremely selfish. I appreciate flawed characters, but this particular flaw is one I don’t enjoy so much. I also thought that, while the philosophical aspect was still good, there was too much time spent explaining the rules of the Goblin Market along with events that were often repetitive. 

Representation: This book is unusual in the Wayward Children series for not having much diversity. I think there was a reference to a wlw couple, but I can’t remember who was involved. 

Favorite Line: “No one serves their friends by grinding themselves into dust on the altar of compassion.”