Content notes for Seanan McGuire’s Across the Green Grass Fields: bullying, misgendering, intersexmisia, death (off-page), violence, kidnapping
- The main character is intersex and gets bullied by her fellow students
- There are mentions of death a couple of times (nothing explicit happens on page) and minor violence and gore
Representation: intersex main
This was … nice? I don’t know, I really love Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series but some of the novellas are just more my thing than others. So far Beneath the Sugar Sky is by far my least favourite but Across the Green Grass Fields might take second place. That doesn’t mean, that I didn’t like this story – it is still a very solid story, very well told and easily a 3, more likely a 3,5 rounded up. It just wasn’t entirely to my tastes and, unlike all previous Wayward Children novellas, this one felt somewhat disconnected.
True to the pattern of the series, this is, once again, a prequel, telling the story that one child found behind their door. But unlike the other two prequels we got so far, Down Among the Sticks and Bones and In an Absent Dream, this one does not feature a character who previously appeared in the main story. Instead it introduces Regan, a completely new character, which led to me feeling like this was somewhat disconnected from the rest of the Wayward Children novellas.
However, I still enjoyed Regan’s story. It follows her through her magical door into a world where everything has hooves and humans that stumble through doors are expected to become heroes. However, no one really knows what acts of heroism is expected of them and so Regan has to figure that out on her own. She also has to figure out what it means to be a girl and that there is no right or wrong way to be one, just as there are many different ways to be a hero.
It’s a nice story and just as the other Wayward Children novellas Across the Green Grass Fields deals with some important topics and tackles big questions but for me it just fell somewhat flat. The missing connection to the other novellas was a large part of that but it also just wasn’t quite my kind of story – I never was much of a horse girl and I couldn’t really bring myself to care much about most of the characters. Still, it’s a solid novella.
Edit January 2022: I just finished reading the seventh novella, Where the Drowned Girls Go, and I think, looking back, I might like Across the Green Grass Fields quite a bit better – because that one thing, this was missing, the connection to the World of Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children? It’s there now. And it is good. Really good. Unfortunately, having it show up after introducing Regan took something from her story for me. But when I reread the entirety of the series next January, in time for novella number 8, I’m sure I’ll like this story even better than the first time around.
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