Genre: Fantasy, Novella
Published: Tordotcom, January 2024
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
“I don’t think we get second chances with our own injuries” said Sumi. “All we can really do is try to clean up all the broken glass before someone else gets there.”
Mislaid in Parts Half-known marks the ninth and penultimate novella in the Wayward Children series, and is one of the few that actually reads like a sequel to its predecessors, and cannot be read easily as a standalone. Our story takes place directly after the events of Lost in the Moment and Found, and follows the continuation of Antsy’s story. As established, Antsy has a talent for finding Doors and that talent is put to full use when she takes the Wayward-gang on a world-hopping adventure. As you’ve come to expect from the series; friendships are to be built, and life-lessons are to be learned. As you may or may not have suspected from the cover; this time, dinosaurs are involved as well.
Full disclaimer: I’m not a Wayward Children’s fangirl…I can see its mass-appeal, but ever since Every Heart a Doorway it’s been a 3-star series for me. To speak in McGuires own terms; these books are high-whimsy, medium-logic and low subtlety. Although I love her imagination in the worlds and atmospheres she crafts, the message behind each of these novellas is so heavy handed that it often irks me. That being said, book 8 stands out as my favourite of the bunch, and I was actually excited to see the resolution to Antsy’s narrative.
Book 9 does provide that resolution, but does it in a far more whimsical, playful and weirdly low-stakes manner. We see the crew adventuring, and (literally!) running with dinosaurs. Yet as far as development goes: this felt like it could’ve been shortened and incorporated into Lost in the Moment and Found without losing too much.
Do I recommend this book? Maybe… If you’re a diehard Wayward Children’s fan, it’s an essential in the collection. It may not pack as much of an emotional punch, but the adventure-romp it does bring is a welcome breeze of fresh air after the previous two more intense novellas.
If you’re on the fence on the series, this one isn’t going to convince you. Taking into account their extremely steep pricetag (honestly, these novellas are among the most overpriced and capitalistic suckers in current publishing and we NEED to call that out), this would be more of a library-borrow than an immediate purchase for me.
Many thanks to Tordotcom for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Find this book here on Goodreads