Mislaid In Parts Half-Known (Wayward Children book 9) by Seanan McGuire (book review)

There can’t be many children who, at one time or another, hasn’t imagined a world that is ideal for them. It could be one full of sweetshops or puppies or dinosaurs or perhaps where they are a mermaid. The Wayward Children of Seanan McGuire’s series for teens are those who have found a Door into a world that is ideally suited to their nature. When they return to the real world, often after a period of time being missing, they cannot get the adults to believe where they have been. Most of them want to go back but cannot find their Door again. Parents think they need help in the form of therapy to readjust. The lucky ones end up at Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children.

This is the ninth book in the series and follows on almost seamlessly from ‘Lost In The Moment And Found’. That followed Antsy Ricci, who had found herself in the Shop Where The Lost Things Go. Discovering she had not been given important information about her talent for finding doors, she left and, at the end of that book, she arrives at the school.

At the start of ‘Mislaid In Parts Half-Known’, Antsy is doing her best to settle in but she is a nine year-old in the body of a twelve year-old as the doors she has opened while in the Shop exact a price, three days of your life. When Seraphina, a spoilt brat, discovers that Antsy can find lost things she tries to glamour Antsy to find her Door. Her friends characters, readers of this series will be familiar with, rescue her. They take refuge in Kade’s attic room but, when Seraphina tracks her there, Antsy opens a Door so the six teenagers can escape.

The Door opens into Prism, a Fairyland that Kade visited. He knows the dangers and can steer them away from it while Antsy finds another Door. The one she finds is her Door, leading into the Shop Where Lost Things Go. When she had left, she had extracted promises from Vineta, who ran the place before Antsy arrived to help. She was supposed to warn any new helpers of the penalties the Doors extracted so they could make their own decision. Vineta has broken that promise and kept her new helper, Yulia, ignorant of the Price. To make things worse, Vineta has caged Hudson and thrown him through a Door. Hudson is the talking Magpie who keeps the accounts for the Shop. The friends travel through a Door in search of Hudson. The world they enter, is the one depicted on Robert Hunt’s cover.

There is a lot of charm to be found in this series, as well as jeopardy for the characters. For most of them, making choices is important, especially knowing when it is the right moment to make them. For the Wayward Children, their choices are often life-changing and, as it says of every Door, they must Be Sure it is right for them. Although it is useful to be able to track the recurring characters through the books in the series, this and the previous ‘Lost In The Moment And Found’ make a neat duology.

Pauline Morgan

June 2024

(pub: TorDotCom, 2024. 146 page hardback. Price: $22.99 (US), $30.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-250-84850-6)

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