The Wayward Children series definitely doesn’t need more hype online – I think it’s one of the most popular series I follow. The books are short and easy to read and always feed into the current social buzz. I definitely recommend giving them a try, they’re available on every format and I’d be surprised if they’re not available in local libraries.
The newest one is probably one of my favorites, and I have a few thoughts on it.
TL;DR: Recommended for those who have read the rest of the series, I don’t think you can enjoy it as much without having read those others.
Here come the thoughts, I’m going to try to keep these spoiler free:
- I have a lot of feelings about Jack. The running description for me that my husband uses is ‘mostly robot’ which is not meant in a bad way but it’s the best way to describe how logic driven my brain works sometimes. Most days I can consciously see when I’m doing it, and I do enjoy emotional things (I mean I adore romance and romance novels), but in a lot of ways I tend not to be very emotional – or if I do I then analyze it and take it apart to understand why I reacted the way I did. In that way I deeply identified with Jack. In the previous books where she appears you can kind of pick up on that but in this book she talks about being a ‘monster’ and I felt like that was her version of ‘robot’. So just getting it out of the way, that I adore Jack.
“Whoever said heroism was fair?” she asked. “It’s the unfairest thing of all. ‘Come, oh human child, and learn to swing a sword for the sake of people who’ve decided the thing you’re best for is dying in their name.’ We were lambs for the slaughter, all of us, and if we’ve survived, it’s not because we’re special. Come on. Let’s be heroes one more time.”
- I think because I like Jack so much I got very frustrated with characters like Sumi and Cora who seem to just react. Cora I think needs more development as she’s mostly lurked in the background of a few books now. Sumi drives me up the wall though, which I think shows the uniqueness of her character but damn.
- On that note I know that the characters in this are over the top, overdrawn. I know some readers do not enjoy that, my husband for one did not enjoy the first book nearly as much as I did because he felt like everyone and everything had to be ‘profound’. It’s a valid criticism and something to keep in mind when reading it. Even enjoying this as much as I did, I did get a little tired of a punchy line every page.
- I did very much enjoy some of the ideas that she explored though, touching on things like grief and panic.
“We can be sad and we can be hurt and we can even be killed, but the world keeps turning, and the things we’re supposed to do keep needing to be done.”
- This is also one of the darker Wayward Children books, so keep that in mind going into it. Characters have to do some really terrible things, and bad things definitely happen to them.
Ultimately though I recommend it for fans of the series for sure. Especially if you’re a fan of Jack and Jill or just want to know more about the Moors. I found it delightful.