Another year, another installment of Seanan McGuire’s brilliant Wayward Children series. Everything you love about the series is on full display in Across the Green Grass Fields, from children discovering new identities to inexplicable worlds full of strange creatures ... the pinnacle of Horse Girl literature, and I’m not being sarcastic (okay, maybe just a little sarcastic) ... This novella is the lightest of the Wayward Children series in terms of action and plot. While McGuire doesn’t devote as much intensity to the plot, the messaging and subtext are thrumming with energy. Across the Green Grass Fields is an excellent book in an excellent series. Even if you’re like me and have little interest in horses, you’ll still enjoy following Regan on her quest to become the best version of herself.
McGuire, author of countless novels, novellas, comics, short stories, and songs, has an inborn connection to myths and legends. In reading her stories, it seems like McGuire takes tales of old and twists them, turns them on their head, and serves them to her readers like an exquisite delicacy ... All that being said, I enjoyed Across the Green Grass Fields, as I have enjoyed or loved the other books in her Wayward Children series, but this one was not my favorite. I came out of the story almost ambivalent to the plot ... This book has beautiful writing, a great explanation of centaurs’ matriarchal society, and touching descriptions of the real friendships Regan makes. But, beyond the lush details, the actual plot and final crescendo of the story fell flat for me. It felt anti-climatic in the face of such excellent writing. However, I have to say that Regan’s very practical nature is entertaining to read. The vital thing to note about the ending, even though I found it anti-climatic; it is in line with Regan’s character ... Overall, I enjoyed this addition to The Wayward Children series, great characters, and a lush world. It is solid, but I think it lacks the same oomph that other books in the series have. I will continue reading the Wayward Books, taken as a whole series; they are lovely and some of McGuires best writing.
The Wayward Children series tackles the harsher underpinnings of fairy tales head-on, and McGuire’s depiction of the girls’ dynamic is painfully accurate. But McGuire can be trusted to give her stories depth that both the characters and readers—even newcomers who start the series here—can handle.