The Wayward Children’s series by Seanan McGuire follows kids and teenagers who have traveled into fantasy worlds, have returned home and how they cope or not cope with being brought back to a world that is now not really home.
Every Heart a Doorway follows Nancy a new student at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children who traveled to the Halls of the Dead, is now back home and her parents want her to be the way she was before she left. Shortly after Nancy arrives at the school another student is murdered and the plot revolves around who is killing the students and why. This book introduces multiple characters that we gain more information about both in this book as well through out the series and how these other worlds work on a scale of Nonsense/Logic and Virtue/Wickedness though it becomes clear that world can present themselves one way while their rules don’t seem the same. One of the things I love about Seanan McGuire’s books is the fact that many of the characters are diverse such as different religions, sexuality and identities but this diversity is not the main focus of the plot. The characters are diverse because the real world is diverse. Every Heart a Doorway so far is my favorite book in the series.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones follows Jack and Jill, twin sisters that we met in book one, and tells the story of before they arrived at school and the world that they went to. Jack and Jill’s parents treated their daughters as one being a tomboy and the other a girly girl regardless of how they felt about it and that caused them to resent each other. When they arrive at the Moors, a world much like Universal’s classic horror movies, they finally chose who they were for them selves with Jack working for a mad scientist and Jill becoming the favorite of the Vampire that ruled the town which changes everything forever. Technically, books one and two of this series can be read with either working as book one however, I feel like Every Heart should be read first because of what happens to Jack and Jill at the end of book one which shows what they become where Down is their back story and why they are the way they are.
To discus Beneath the Sugar Sky in any detail I will have to mention spoilers for book one, so if you don’t want that just know that Beneath is my least favorite of the series as I feel the story is not as good as the other books and the fat representation is very heavy-handed which makes parts of the story hard to read.
Beneath the Sugar Sky follows Rini the daughter of Sumi, who was killed the beginning of book one. Rini has traveled from the world of Confection to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children to save her mother’s life and her world. Because of Rini’s quest several other students join her in traveling through different world to put Sumi back together again and help her save Confection which allows the readers to see different worlds than have been shown in the other books and see some of the previous main characters. Though the plot of Beneath revolves around Rini and her quest to save her mother a new student, Cora, is the main narrator/character for the book.
Cora is a curvy young woman who travel to the Trenches where she was a mermaid but is now the new arrival at the school. Generally, I love how Seanan McGuire handles diverse representation but this time it felt very heavy-handed. When the reader meets Cora it is made very clear that Cora is fat (she repeatedly calls herself fat throughout the book) and as the main narrator of the book we hear Cora’s internal monologue thought most of it. It’s clear that in her previous schools that she has been bullied for her weight and at one point was not comfortable in her body but some times it seemed a bit too much and I just wanted it to stop. By the end of the book the only things I felt I knew about Cora is that she fat and a good swimmer. Fat representation is need but I felt like it could be done better. The one thing I loved about this book is the fact that the character travel to some of the different worlds and Seanan McGuire’s writing style is whimsical and sucks you in.
Overall, I love the Wayward Children’s series and I can’t wait for the next book In an Absent Dream which comes out in January 2019.