Seanan McGuire is a wise goddamn writer and I don’t know where her soul gleans the emotional energy to keep producing these heartfelt stories.
In An Absent Dream is Book 4 in the Wayward Children series, but it can definitely be read first if you wanted to.
The main character, Lundy, is someone I can’t even remember from Book 1, but it is definitely worth it to visit her door because it is so unique.
The series is about kids who walk through magical doors, or portals (a la Narnia, Wonderland, Fillory, etc). The worlds they walk into are uniquely attuned to their deepest essences as humans, pointing to what feels like home, more than home ever did. But the types of worlds can be categorized in a spectrum between: wicked, logic, virtue and nonsense. (Check out the clever little chart up on Tor’s website: https://www.tor.com/2019/01/16/all-the-known-portal-worlds-of-seanan-mcguires-wayward-children-series-updated/ )
Lundy’s Goblin Market is the first high logic world we’re introduced to, meaning that it isn’t so over-the-top fantastical like the typical fairyland portal you see in books and movies everywhere.
The Market is governed by strict rules of fairness and logic that are both instinctual, yet not so straightforward that one can completely understand them 100% of the time. Fairness and the careful balancing of scales are of the utmost importance.
It’s strange, throughout the series I’ve always felt like the high logic worlds would be stifling and boring, yet with every new book it’s like “THIS!!! THIS IS MY DOOR!!!…” until the next book comes around. You might just feel the same way.
With the Goblin Market it’s as if Seanan McGuire had her hand RIGHT on the pulse of human rights injustices in our world in the last few years, and translated it into a story that could make anyone better understand just how illogical our own world is.
Highly recommended if you like fantasy, portal fiction, if you’ve followed the series this far, or if you’d like to read about a world where injustice is taken seriously, and fairness actually matters.