Series Review: Wayward Children

Hello book nerds! It’s my first ever series review for the year! Today, I’m featuring an amazing series made up of dark and whimsical novellas—Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire!

I first heard of the Wayward Children series when the first book Every Heart a Doorway caught my attention with its portal fantasy worlds (then I later found out that it also had queer rep!). I listened to the audiobook a few months back and instantly adored it! Ever since then, I planned to continue reading the rest of the series.

Fortunately, early in December 2020, Tor.com’s Ebook Club offered the Wayward Children series for free—one book a day, for the whole week! I was ecstatic! So I took the opportunity and downloaded the books (minus the first book because sadly, I missed it). Then for the last week of December, I read them in one go!

Let me tell you now, reading this series is an experience. Seanan McGuire is such an amazing writer and this whole series is enough testament to that.

Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was so good! The writing style and the tone was chilling and melancholic, and although the plot seemed simple and short, it was still interesting and puzzling. The murder mystery aspect of the plot certainly added more to the story and I loved it! The world-building and the fantasy element as a whole were also great! It was dark and whimsical, and I was all up for it. Lastly, the asexual rep kind of surprised me but I loved it in the end!

The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars is because I feel like I missed some details, and so, I didn’t appreciate it enough. I would love to physically read this in the future, just so I could fully take in every aspect of the story.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Rating: 5 out of 5.

THIS WAS SO GOOD.

The vampire’s daughter, the mad scientist’s apprentice, they will never again be the innocent, untouched children who wandered down a stairway, who went through a door. They have been changed. The story changes with them.

Just like the first book in the series, the prose was exquisite and it was my favorite thing in the world. The writing style was clever and puzzling. And overall, this one was dark, eerie, and yet, melancholic!

I particularly liked the focus on parenting and how this made such an impact on Jack and Jill. It was also disturbing actually, once you realize that their parents reflect a lot of people in reality. Apart from that, sisterhood/twinhood was also a big theme in the book; it showed how similar and unfamiliar Jack and Jill can be from each other.

The trouble with denying children the freedom to be themselves— with forcing them into an idea of what they should be, not allowing them to choose their own paths— is that all too often, the one drawing the design knows nothing of the desires of their model. Children are not formless clay, to be shaped according to the sculptor’s whim, nor are they blank but identical dolls, waiting to be slipped into the mode that suits them best.

Also, it was just so great finally knowing Jack and Jill’s backstory. In Every Heart a Doorway, they were such significant parts of the story and yet we have so much more to know about them. I’m glad this book focused on their story and gave us an insight on how Jack and Jill came to be.

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Interestingly, this was kind of sweet and hopeful! It still had that dark atmosphere in it, but it was toned down compared to the first two books of the series.

So great to see familiar characters in this third book. In a way, (and in a timeline standpoint) the story was a continuation of the first book, Every Heart a Doorway. I loved seeing all the old characters and getting to know what happened after the first book.

There was also more world-building here in this book. We get to know more details about the Compass and how worlds and doors, function or behaves. It was absolutely fascinating.

To my surprise, this book also had fat rep! One of the main characters is fat, and I liked how real and raw her character was. It’s safe to say that I definitely related to her.

My only wish is more character development. Especially with Cora (with her struggle as a plus-sized teen), and with Christopher (with his longing for his door/his home). I think these two characters were my top two favorites, so I really wanted more for them.

Also, can I just say how amazing it is that there’s LGBTQ+ rep in every book of this series?! It’s amazing and I definitely want more of it!

In an Absent Dream

In An Absent Dream

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love this book, I just do.

There was something so bittersweet in this volume that I can’t quite explain. The main character, Lundy, gained so much and lost so much throughout the course of the story. She also experienced so much and missed so much at the same time. This story was just so beautiful and melancholic in every way possible, I am amazed.

Also can I just say, McGuire’s writing style/prose is just so so so so fucking beautiful. I am in love with it! This is the fourth volume in the series and she has never failed to take my breath away with every story. I’m loving the Wayward Children series so much. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series!

Come Tumbling Down

Come Tumbling Down

Rating: 5 out of 5.

THIS WAS ANOTHER INCREDIBLE STORY. I don’t know how Seanan McGuire does it!

This was humorous and dark, gripping and wistful. (I want to ramble on more about the author’s writing style and the beautiful prose filled with metaphors and elegance, but that might be too much already, hah!)

It was nice to get an ending to Jack and Jill’s story and character arcs. Though it was kind of bittersweet (especially with Jack and Jill’s relationship and sisterhood), it was a satisfying ending for me.

I also really love just how diverse this was (thewhole series actually). I’ll forever cherish all the rep I’ve gotten to see so far, from queer rep, to fat rep, OCD rep, anxiety rep, and more.

Across the Green Grass Fields

Come Tumbling Down

Rating: 4 out of 5.

(Across the Green Grass Fields releases January 12th, 2021! Check out this pre-order pin here!)

You know, at this point I am just so in love with every installment in this series.

Across the Green Grass Fields is another beautiful story in Wayward Children! I loved that there is an intersex character here and it just amazed me how this book showed us that there’s no one way to be a girl, that we don’t have to conform to everything—especially when it comes to gender identity and expression. I do wish it was tackled more though, and that I wish we could have seen the main character Regan truly embrace herself and tell others off (*cough* Laurel *cough).

The world-building and the writing style, of course, was amazing. (What more did I expect, really)

“We can’t stand here all day and expect the world to come to us.”

I also loved that plot twist in the end, as well as the little yet important lessons we’re left with at the end of the story.

“We have always held the land above the one who rules it.”

There was something so poetic and disturbing in that plot twist, and I guess this wouldn’t be a Wayward Children book without its dark and whimsical atmosphere. I loved it, of course!


The Wayward Children series is not yet over! I am so over the moon when I found out it will have a seventh book. We have no other details yet except for the title (Where the Drowned Girls Go) and the publication date (January 2022) but I am already so excited!

How about the rest of you? Have you read this series yet? What did you think?! Come tell me in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Series Review: Wayward Children

    • Oohh! I think you may be right about that! My two favorites are Down Among the Sticks and Bones and In An Absent Dream which are two prequels! Lol

      And oh my, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series! 😀

      Like

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