• The Good: Magical doorways that lead to fantasy worlds
  • The Bad: Far too short despite large jumps in time
  • The Literary: Inspired by Rosetti’s phantasmagoric poem Goblin Market

In this fourth entry of the Wayward Children series, there lives a serious little girl who doesn’t have any friends except books, who believes in rules and reason and loopholes, and who does what’s expected of her. She assumes she’ll grow up, get married, and become a respectable librarian and housewife, as is the natural path laid out for her. But Lundy finds her doorway, and an entirely new world opens to her. A world based on fair play, logic, and riddles. A world with a best friend, a unicorn who sells the best meat pies, and real consequences.

I love all of the Wayward Children books. I was a kid who lived in books, and longed for my own rabbit hole or wardrobe or tornado, so it’s no surprise I’m rating this new installment another five stars. But let me tell you why this one is special. It stands on it’s own. Sure, the protagonist is a character from the first book, but it’s her own story. It’s a real cautionary tale. It’s tragic.

In the Goblin Market of Lundy’s world, every trade must be of fair value. A drink of water is worth more to a man dying of thirst than one who isn’t. A coin is worth more to those who have less. Although the rules are elusive and complicated, the Market is fair, and doesn’t capitalize on those who cannot afford it. It’s a lovely commentary on the unfairness of our own world. But no trade or decision is ever perfectly fair. Because even as Lundy wants to leave the normal world for her special one, she neglects the one person who looked up to her and longed for her as a friend.

Highly recommended for fans of fairy tales!