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Publisher's Summary

Hugo Award Nominee 2020

A stand-alone fantasy tale from Seanan McGuire's Alex award-winning Wayward Children series, which began in the Alex, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning, World Fantasy Award finalist, Tiptree Honor List novella Every Heart a Doorway 

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. 

The Wayward Children Series 

Book 1: Every Heart a Doorway
Book 2: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Book 3: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Book 4: In an Absent Dream

©2019 Seanan McGuire (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

Hugo Award - Nominee

World Fantasy Award - Finalist

What listeners say about In an Absent Dream

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Profile Image for Elisabeth Carey
  • Elisabeth Carey
  • 28-01-2019

Lundy's adventure in the Goblin Market

One of the students at Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children in Every Heart a Doorway is Lundy. She's unusual even by the standards of the school, in that she is aging in reverse, growing younger, at least in body, rather than older.

This is Lundy's story. Her world, the world she stumbles into through a doorway that shouldn't be there, is the Goblin Market.

It's a strange and magical world, and everything rests on a system of barter and the principle of Fair Value. The Goblin Market also allows people to go back and forth between their world of origin and the Goblin Market freely until the age of eighteen.

There are two catches to this. One is that, at eighteen, if you are debt-free in the world of the Goblin Market, you have to make a choice--take the oath of citizenship and stay permanently, or don't, and leave forever. The second is that, if at eighteen you are not debt-free, you don't have the option of leaving. You're stuck, with all the interesting ways the Goblin Market has of enforcing debt repayment.

It's clear from what we see of Lundy in Every Heart, Lundy managed to seriously miscalculate. This is the story of what, exactly, she did, and why. As always, it's an interesting story with interesting characters. The Goblin Market itself, and its Archivist, are interesting characters in themselves.

Another aspect of this story is Lundy's relationship with her father, who turns out to have his own history with the Goblin Market. This is an aspect we haven't seen in the earlier stories, because most worlds don't offer the easy back and forth that Goblin Market does. From Lundy's viewpoint, that's not necessarily an advantage.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 22-03-2019

Best One of the Series

Excellent, poignant and gripping. I was surprised as Lundy, of the original characters in the first book, was the least interesting to me. Her back story turned out to be my favorite.

4 people found this helpful

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  • larry
  • 28-09-2020

logic

I really really really like this book. it was so much logic in this one. wish the world ran this way for real

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-08-2020

I really do love these books.

if you love fairy tales, you are going to love this book. but caution not every fairy tale tells us about fair value.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Toni
  • 08-02-2021

Fair value

The importance of fair value.
In an Absent Dream we go back to see Lundy’s story, with her time in the Goblin Market, and the importance of fair value, and what a bargain can get you if you do not follow the rules.
In the first story I had mixed feelings for Lundy, but after reading her story I had so many more feelings, and I grew to respect and grieve for her. Watching a child bounce back and forth and reaching the ending it was something else. The Goblin Market was so different from what I would have thought it to be, and I found it be so much better. The story was neat because Lundy’s timeline was different, and seeing the effects, as well as it not just being her who went too.
I continue to love the stories and the development, and excited to continue. Another five out of five.

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  • Erynne L. Mitchell-Waltman
  • 06-01-2021

Another fantastic Wayward Children book

Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series continues by going backwards, looking at the story of Lundy and her magical door.

Like all the Wayward Children books, this story is engaging and wonderful and emotionally touching.

Cynthia Hopkins returns as the narrator for this book, and does a wonderful job giving unique voices to the characters. She performs beautifully and helps give the story soul.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and reader very much.

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  • Benjamin
  • 03-01-2021

Just so so good.

This series just keeps getting better. Im thankful to have accidently stumbled upon it. On to the next!

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  • Sharlani
  • 06-03-2020

Great story

Did not care for narrator. Hopkins does not have the right voice for this book

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-03-2020

Unique

even though I knew what was coming it was still a well-written story. love the ending

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  • Jan Ostler
  • 05-03-2020

Awesome

This whole series has been wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone who would like something creative and exciting.

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  • Farina
  • 09-07-2019

Another great book..

Another great book in the Wayward Children series. This one though I thought had a bit darker underlined theme. I love the Goblin Market. I loved the characters in it. The ending crushed me.

1 person found this helpful

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