Book Reviews

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4) by Seanan McGuire

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4)  by Seanan McGuire (.jpg

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

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.

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Book Reviews

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

The Wicked King is a tad shorter than The Cruel Prince and it is also nowhere near as heart-wrenching and thrilling, but the story is no less intriguing and infuriating because you always know that something awful is going to happen but there’s no way to know until it’s already happening.

The Wicked King focuses on Jude as a badass character who will so not take any shit from anyone, that she ends up distancing herself from absolutely everyone. If literally ANYONE else in the Isles were telling the story, she would most definitely be the villain in their telling. 

This volume also includes a tiny bit more romance than the previous one (and it’s steamy this time). 

If you read and enjoyed The Cruel Prince, there’s no reason not to read this. Definitely recommended. 

I really hope the next book tears through the depths of my soul like the first one did. This one didn’t quite hit the mark. 

Book Reviews

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver by Naomi NovikRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

Every blurb mentions how Spinning Silver is inspired by Rumpelstiltskin but frankly that’s an awful comparison and not one I would use to entice you to read this book, so forget about it right away. This is NOT a fairytale retelling. 

Spinning Silver is told from the perspectives of a few characters, but the main ones are three young heroines who display an admirable level of bravery and wisdom, unmatched by anyone else in their surroundings. Naomi Novik is a great writer and it’s interesting how she switches perspectives without outright naming the character (like in Game of Thrones), but you still know exactly who is talking at the time. 

Miryem, the main (and most entertaining) character, is quite cunning and naturally (magically?) skilled in producing and multiplying her family’s wealth. Almost like she can SPIN. SILVER. out of thin air. She goes through the world making advantageous exchanges for the utmost profit, and is someone whose language you have to pay close attention to. She will find the loopholes in everything and her ability to solve problems through smart wordplay instead of through violence or intrigue is a refreshing skill to see in fantasy. 

Miryem’s home is surrounded by magical woods populated by cold oppressive creatures known as the Staryk, who terrorize and starve the humans through never-ending winters. Miryem’s money-multiplying ability quickly catches the Staryk’s attention, and that’s when this book becomes super interesting. 

While I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down for about 4/5ths of it, somewhere near the end I lost interest because the perspectives of the characters switch too often, and as a result, the chronological order is briefly derailed. We lose track of Miryem for longer than I would’ve liked, but in the end it’s all worth it. 

I would recommend this to: people who want intelligent fantasy that isn’t awfully jargony, readers looking for a nice, thick standalone book to last them many nights, people who don’t mind stories told from the perspectives of multiple characters, and fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted. 

Book Reviews

Hilda and the Hidden People (Hilda Tie-In #1) by Luke Pearson (Creator), Stephen Davies (Writer)

Hilda and the Hidden People (Hilda Tie-In #1) by Luke Pearson (Creator), Stephen Davies (Writer)

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁

I’m obsessed with everything Hilda, and after watching the Netflix show and reading the comics, I just had to read this too and I honestly can’t recommend that you do the same. 

The events in this book read almost exactly like the events in: Hilda and the Troll, Hilda and the Midnight Giant, and in Episode 1 of the show. The only alterations are tiny, insignificant details that feel forced, as if the author was instructed to change something just for the sake of it. 

In a book adaptation, I would hope there’s tons more content to make it enticing and worthwhile. Extra background information, little in-depth histories! Where the show and the comic are visual, a book has the luxury of space to go above and beyond, but there’s nothing of the sort here. 

Also, I’m sorry to say that this writer was not able to capture Hilda’s voice. The Hilda of this book reads like a spoiled brat lacking in compassion. She always gets her way despite other characters clearly expressing their discomfort, she is outright mean (even if she apologizes afterwards), and I would NOT want to be friends with this iteration of the character.

I would not recommend this to anyone, not even to fans of the show or the comics, or to parents who would prefer their children read a novel instead of a comic, it’s really not worth it when there’s already higher quality content elsewhere. 

The only plus are the cute illustrations in a limited color palette, but be aware that they are not done by the same artist as in the comics.

Book Reviews

Hilda and the Stone Forest (Hilda #5) by Luke Pearson

Hilda and the Stone Forest (Hilda #5) by Luke Pearson

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

Excitingly, this installment of Hilda veers completely away from the Netflix show! It shows us TONS more of the relationship with her mom, plus all the adventures with magical creatures that Hilda is still somehow able to find within the walls of Trolberg.

This volume ends in a very peculiar and supernatural cliffhanger that I never would’ve seen coming, and I can’t wait until the next one comes out! It has a strong nostalgic feel of dark European fantasy cartoons from when I was little. 

Book Reviews

Hilda and the Black Hound (Hilda #4) by Luke Pearson

Hilda and the Black Hound (Hilda #4) by Luke PearsonRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

This is the first volume in the comics where it veers entirely away from the Netflix series, because this jumps to the events of episodes 12 and 13, and while Hilda joins the Sparrow Scouts, Frida is only briefly introduced, and David is nowhere to be seen yet.

The story is also satisfyingly longer than in previous volumes.

These comics just keep getting better and better!

Book Reviews

Hilda and the Bird Parade (Hilda #3) by Luke Pearson

 

Hilda and the Bird Parade (Hilda #3) by Luke PearsonRating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

Even longer than the previous volume! The art style starts to round out more and the colors also brighten a bit, having the greatest resemblance with the show so far. 

The Bird Parade is almost exactly the same as Episode 3 of Hilda. 

And best of all, the end of this volume includes a GIANT map of Hilda’s world. It’s not just Trolberg and her house. There’s tons of places to discover yet!!!