In the third Wayward Children novella, experienced teenage questers who have returned to Earth attempt to rewrite a magical land’s past and future.
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is for those young people who found a door to a fantastical world and then, inadvertently, often unwillingly, found their way back through it again. Nevertheless, it’s a big surprise when one day a portal opens on the grounds of the school itself, dropping a teenage girl from the sky into the turtle pond. It’s an even bigger surprise when she identifies herself as Rini, daughter of Sumi—a former student at the school who was murdered before she had any children (Every Heart a Doorway, 2016). But Sumi is/was the destined savior of Confection, a world of baked goods and Nonsense, and a world governed by Nonsense can often be flexible with time and dispense with causality entirely. Can Rini and Sumi’s former schoolmates manage to bring Sumi back from the dead and into her rightful place before Rini ceases to exist and the petulant and malicious Queen of Cakes’ dominion becomes complete? McGuire has assembled a richly drawn group of adventurers with a complex mix of magical and mundane issues, including a trans young man whose publicly avowed gender identity got him rejected both by the fairyland of Prism and his family of origin on Earth and a young woman emotionally wounded by constant fat-shaming on Earth but whose body type and athleticism served her well as a mermaid in the oceanic depths.
Fully dimensional characterization and a compelling story arc keep this series moving.