With Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire introduced us to a vivid intersection of portal worlds containing magic, mystery, and occasional mayhem. Within its pages, readers were introduced to Lundy, a therapist at Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children. With In an Absent Dream, we step back in time and walk through the doorway that first transported Lundy to the Goblin Market—a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies.
Artist Rovina Cai has been with the Wayward Children books from the beginning, illustrating select scenes from each book—Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and Beneath the Sugar Sky—and we’re happy to have her on board again. Her illustrations for In an Absent Dream may be our favorite yet, bringing to life McGuire’s darkly magical world…
If a carnival and a farmer’s market and a craft fair all decided to happen at the same time, in the same field, the result might have been something like what was in front of her. Everywhere she looked there were tents, and painted wagons, and little stalls with fabric walls and decorated awnings.
She ran until the sounds of people passing were replaced by the warble and caw and screech of birds, until the branches of the trees that were closing in around them—big trees, climbing trees, patchwork trees that looked suspiciously like the one where the door had been—dripped with birdcages instead of fruit.
She had been extraordinary as a child, when she had too much authority hanging around her solitary shoulders, and extraordinary in the Market, where she was a summer person and a quester and the girl who’d helped to slay the Wasp Queen, who’d fought for the safety of their borders even before she was a citizen. Ordinary was a novel experience for her.