Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
This my first time reading something by Seanan McGuire, and I was absolutely not prepared for it at all. This is such a beautiful and heart-wrenching story. I loved every second of it.
The characters were all fantastic, I can’t even pick a favourite. I want to know more about all of them, follow them all through their own experiences and how they’re coping with their return to the “real” world. I loved watching their personalities and stories unfold, and seeing how they come closer to finding their own imperfect place in an imperfect world.
The exploration of range of issues such as gender/sexual identity, mental illness and belonging is done so tenderly, and it was refreshing to see that no two characters came away from their experiences with the same responses – even if they went to the same world. Human experience is so varied, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I see that reflected in a book.
The writing and worldbuilding throughout was spot on. McGuire created the perfect atmosphere for this murder mystery, and none of the beauty was lost even as it became creepier and creepier. The glimpses into the various worlds are tantalising, and I hope that future installments in the series will explore them in more detail.
I highly recommend this novella to anyone with a heart, and I’ll definitely be hunting down more of McGuire’s work.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.