Where the Drowned Girls Go Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her Home for Wayward Children, she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.

Cora’s character is just so complex. I love that we get a brief background on her and her experiences in childhood with her weight and how ostracised she was by her peers. I think it’s quite tragic that she thought the only way she could escape would be to try and commit suicide but I’m glad she found her way through her door and to the trenches. I thought it was quite brave of her to approach Eleanor and request the transfer, she obviously knows how to advocate for herself and through her experiences recognise when she’s had enough.

I’m a little miffed at Eleanor for her reaction to Cora’s decision to go to Whitethorn. I think she definitely took it too personal and reacted when I think she should of tried to be a bit more compassionate and try to reason with Cora. I just feel like when she was aware of how serious Cora was she kind of shut her out and sent her on her way.

I was very much invested in Cora’s time at Whitethorn and how they try to break the girls and reset their minds. We are introduced to a few new characters and revisit some old characters which was fun to see. I almost didn’t recognise Regan at first but I loved that we get to know what happened to her when she came back through her door and her new abilities. The other characters weren’t as memorable to me, they all kind of blended together a little bit but I’m hoping we learn more about them individually as the series continues.

I think this book in particular is one of my favourites in this series. Cora feels a lot more relatable as a character and overall the plot and pacing were still quite fast but highly engaging. I would of loved if this was a full length book that could of delved a lot deeper into Whitethorn and the Headmaster and his decisions. But for being a novella I think there was the perfect amount of context, mystery and thrills!

⭐️4/5 stars One of my favs from this series so far!

Across the Green Grass Fields Review

This was my favourite of the series so far!

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late. When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

Regan was an interesting character for sure! Wanting to fit in was at the forefront of her mind throughout her childhood, which is why is continues to put up with Laurel even though she knows she’s a questionable friend, just to fit in and not be ostracised. I would of appreciated her more if she would of stood up more for Heather but this was incredible realistic the way their friendships played out. She continues to grow and mature in the Hooflands and realises over time who she really should of chose.

I like that Seanan McGuire includes diverse characters with different sexualities and backgrounds. I can’t really comment on the accuracy of Regan as an intersex character but I am pretty sure she is the first intersex character I have come across in my reading history so I had to mention it!

I loved learning about this new world! Throughout Regan’s time there we learn so much about the dichotomy of the centaurs and how their civilisation works within this world. How the stallions are separated from the females and they essentially have to pay to sire a foal. This was really interesting to me and I almost wish we got to discover more about them. We are briefly given a run down of the different creatures that live in Hoofland besides the centaurs and how they view each other. Again I just want to know so much more about the world and how these legends started with the humans but again these books are so short I have become accustomed to the amount of world building we are going to be given.

The plot was pretty fast paced and I was engaged pretty much throughout the course of the storyline. I feel like this book goes into more detail about the world and establishes Regan’s character pretty quickly. I am excited to see where her story goes next and how she ends up at Eleanor’s and whether or not she acclimates back to the real world.

⭐️4/5 stars I really enjoyed this!!!

In An Absent Dream Review

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should. When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

From what we learn about Katherine I can see why she would want to escape to the Goblin Market and how she would thrive in this world. She is very stubborn and I could see how her choices would affect her later on in the plot and they eventually did. She was both selfish running away from her family and coming back multiple times, she didn’t really understand how that could affect them, but also she would do just about anything to help Moon and stop her from becoming an owl, taking on her debt and paying it all off with no thought of the repercussions.

The world building wasn’t quite enough for me. There was definitely multiple discussions about the rules and debt and how giving fair value and not asking for too much was key in this world but the actual setting wasn’t explored enough for me. It lacked that depth I needed to become fully engaged and invested in the plot.

I felt like all of the action and adventure aspects in these books were just passed over. I wanted to know about all of the things Lundy got up to in the years she was in the Goblin Market instead of briefly being told them when she returns to her family. This is definitely more of a character driven series which explores the characters growth over their journey’s and their frame of minds throughout as opposed to what is actually happening within the worlds.

Overall I feel a bit ambivalent towards this book in particular. It was interesting sure, and seeing how Lundy interprets the rules and debts captured my attention but overall it just feels like something is missing in the story. And again like the rest of the series I think it was the fact that they are just so short and doesn’t give me enough substance.

⭐️3/5 stars Just an ok one for me…