Mislaid in Parts Half-Known by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #9)

Dinosaurs and portals, and a girl who can find both in the latest book in the Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning series.

Antsy is the latest student to pass through the doors at Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children.

When her fellow students realize that Antsy's talent for finding absolutely anything may extend to doors, she's forced to flee in the company of a small group of friends, looking for a way back to the Shop Where the Lost Things Go to be sure that Vineta and Hudson are keeping their promise.

Along the way, temptations are dangled, decisions are reinforced, and a departure to a world populated by dinosaurs brings untold dangers and one or two other surprises!

A story that reminds us that finding what you want doesn't always mean finding what you need.

PUBLISHER: Tor Publishing
YEAR: 2024
LENGTH: 160 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy

Queer Rep Summary: Bi/Pan Main Character(s), Trans Main Character(s).

*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book. 

This is the one with dinosaurs! It's excellent, and if you've been enjoying the series so far you'll love this too. Antsy is trying to make it so no other kids get tricked out of their childhoods by unknowingly paying for too many doors, but this time she has some help from Kade, Sumi, and the others.

For a school where “No Quests” adorns the door, the students at the school for Wayward Children sure do get up to a lot of quests. A core group with a slowly shifting cast has been established as traveling to try and fix things on a semi-regular basis. In MISLAID IN PARTS HALF-KNOWN, some of the kids figure out that Antsy’s gift for finding lost things might let her find their doors... whereupon trouble ensues. Kade, Sumi, Cora, Emily, and Christopher travel with Antsy to try and set things right which were left broken when she fled the Store at the end of LOST IN THE MOMENT AND FOUND. The worldbuilding has been getting more complicated as they learn more about what's happening. Eleanor's assumptions about the students have started having more to do with her desire for Nonsense than their actual experiences, and it's getting to a point where it's affecting the room assignments. This continues several storylines which were begun earlier, creating what feels like an entirely new storyline through recombination of older threads, even though as each piece was something introduced earlier. This far into the series, that’s an excellent feeling, making the adventure feel both fresh and familiar even on a first read-through. A particular problem in the Store is both introduced and resolved, and several more tangles either arise or are addressed. As a story about nexuses and connections, it’s especially nice to reach a point where everything feels so connected to everything else that it’s a complicated tangle to explain the setup, which for me is one of the joys of a long-running series. 

MISLAID IN PARTS HALF-KNOWN could partly make sense to someone who starts here, but if such a person wanted to jump in midway without starting at the beginning of the series, LOST IN THE MOMENT AND FOUND (the previous book) would be a much better entry point. That reader would find themselves knowing as much as Antsy does about what’s happening, which is a comprehensible perspective even if it misses earlier portions of the ongoing story. I particularly enjoyed some moments with Kade and Sumi (both separately and together). This felt like an ensemble cast in a way that earlier books didn't, and it's wonderful to be at the point in the series where the focus can smoothly shift between characters as needed. 

This entry is great, don't miss it! This series is consistently excellent and I'm eager to read what happens next.

Moderate CW for grief, bullying.

Minor CW for emotional abuse, confinement, vomit, excrement, forced institutionalization, blood, injury detail, child abuse, cannibalism, murder, child death, animal death, death.

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A mesh of tree roots forming an open doorway, through the doorway there are sauropods and distant flying pterosaurs.


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