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Month in review

Reviews
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi
Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott
Edible Colors by Jennifer Vogel Bass
The Extremely High Tide! by Kir Fox and and M. Shelley Coats
Fearless Mary by Tami Charles and Claire Almon
Fire Storm by Andrew Lane
The Hollow under the Tree by Cary Fagan
The Horse in Harry's Room by Syd Hoff
I Date Dead People by Ann Kerns and Janina Görrissen
In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
The Misfits Club by Kieran Mark Crowley
The Missing Magic by Kallie George
My Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer
My Little Pony Micro-Series: #7 Cutie Mark Crusaders by Ted Anderson
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #8: Princess Celestia by Georgia Ball
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
Rust: Soul in the Machine by Royden Lepp
A Script for Danger by Carolyn Keene
The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Snake Bite by Andrew Lane
SOS at Night by M.A. Wilson
Tintin in Tibet by Hergé
The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein
Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink

Miscellaneous
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 07)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 14)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 21)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (January 28)
December 2018 Sources
December 2018 Summary

Road Essays
FF6666: orphan going offroad towards home

FF6633: orphans going home along the Blue Highway

FF6600: Orphans looking for home on the Interstate

FF33FF: orphans in rural places surrounded by cornfields

FF33CC and FF3399: rural orphans in the maze and labyrinth

Road Narrative Update for December 2018

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Canadian Book Challenge: 2018-2019

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In an Absent Dream: 01/25/19

In an Absent Dream

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire is the fourth in the Wayward Children series. Like the second book, Down Among the Sticks and Bones it serves as a backstory of one of the students. This book covers the adventures of Katherine Lundy in the Goblin Market over the course of ten years.

Katherine Lundy is presented at the start of the novella as the middle child with an older brother and a baby sister. She doesn't want to be a Kate or a Kitty or anything but Katherine. She likes rules. She likes knowing the plan. She prefers to read and it is reading that sends her in the direction of the Goblin Market.

The Goblin Market works on the concept of fair exchange. Given that the path too this world is through an ornately carved door sent in the trunk of an impossible tree, I can't help but think of the tree of knowledge and the concept of equivalent exchange in Fullmetal Alchemist.

Here, though, rather than losing part of yourself (or all of yourself in Al's case), people who don't give fair value for exchanges incur debt. Debt is paid in loss of humanity and transformation into some kind of bird. What kind depends on the person.

In terms of the road narrative spectrum, book four sits in the fantasy end of things, but is approaching horror. This one I'm placing at a 99FF99 because of the threat of transformation because of debt and the ticking clock of curfew (one's eighteenth birthday).

Lundy, as she is known in the Goblin Market, like her friend Moon, does spent some of her time as a bird. I read her transformation, physical, emotional, and psychological as if she is becoming a minotaur (99) — someone trapped within the world by its rules and by her transformation. Had Lundy not been so affected, I would have rated this farther down, at a 33 for the fact that she and her father have both traveled to the Goblin Market.

The Goblin Market, reachable any time a child is in the right frame of mind, is a utopia (FF). It is a magical, other worldly place — even if it is a magical world that follows a rigid logic.

The tree with its door can show up anywhere that it senses a child is "sure." It meets Lundy in the berry patch, in her elementary school, at the boarding school, and at home. Yet each time the door opens, the path is the same winding, impossible but one way path through the tree. In this regard, it is like a labyrinth (99)

The narrative spectrum progression of the four books
Book 1: Every Heart a Doorway: FFFF33 - orphan utopia blue highway
Book 2: Down Among the Sticks and Bones: CCFF99 - Siblings Utopia Labyrinth
Book 3: Beneath the Sugar Sky: 33FFFF - Family utopia cornfield
Book 4: In an Absent Dream: 99FF99 - S/M Utopia labyrinth

Looking at book four in comparison to the other three, it is in the top row of the fantasy neighborhoods, but the one with a traveler with the least magical agency. Lundy is affected by magic but she has no control over it beyond the strict ideal of fair value. Only Beneath the Sugar Sky falls lower into the horror section of the spectrum because the story centers on a family cleaved by for its time.

Book Five, Come Tumbling Down is scheduled for release early next year.

Five stars

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