Release date: 6th October 2020
Series: The Up-and-Under #1
Blurb: “Writing as A. Deborah Baker, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces readers to a world of talking trees and sarcastic owls, of dangerous mermaids and captivating queens in Over the Woodward Wall, an exceptional tale for readers who are young at heart.
If you trust her you’ll never make it home…
Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.
Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.
They live on the same street.
They live in different worlds.
On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.
And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.”
So, if you have followed me for a while, you know I am trash for Seanan McGuire and her various nom de plumes. They are full of action and beautiful fantasy and this is no different. Honestly, it’s a beautiful tale of new friendships, found family and the ever present theme of coming together in the face of adversity. It is also another bite sized morsel, coming in at just over 200 pages.
As is usual with anything McGuire/Grant/Baker, it’s characters are beautifully formulated and fantastically flawed. Zib is the carefree child, always fighting conformity and doing the unexpected at every turn. Avery on the other hand is such a perfect child, one worries about whether he has in fact had his childhood stolen. Together they made an unexpected pair which makes them all the more perfect to take the Improbable Road. When combined with a girl made of crows, a page with an icy heart and an extremely wise but secretive owl, the whole tale takes on a kind of Wizard of Oz-esque flavour.
Now as I said earlier, this one comes in at the size of a novella, a niche that McGuire fills out so well in their own special way. While Middlegame and her other full length novels are spectacular, there is just something about the way McGuire manages to cram so much content into so few pages that keeps me coming back for more (seriously I need the next Wayward Children novella like yesterday).
But will it appeal to me? You ask. Do you like fun? Adventure? Cute kids with massive personalities? Magical beings that give zeros cares about your feels? If you answered yes to any of these questions, stand still while I through this one at you and scream ‘just read it’ at the top of my lungs. Its honestly well worth the time investment because a) its super fun but also heart-warming; b) its only short so there’s minimal time required; and c) if you haven’t read McGuire/Grant/Baker before then this is a pretty great place to start. Also, it’s from my favourite sci fi peeps Tordotcom so you got to keep the greats in business to keep the amazing content flowing.
Until next time lovelies xo