I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Tor on January 12, 2021
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Chimes at Midnight, Indexing, The Winter Long, The InCryptid Prequels, Pocket Apocalypse, A Red Rose Chain, Reflections, Once Broken Faith, "Dreams and Slumbers", Chaos Choreography, Magic For Nothing, Indigo, Every Heart a Doorway, The Brightest Fell, "Of Things Unknown", Beneath the Sugar Sky, Night and Silence, "Suffer a Sea-change", The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork", Tricks for Free, That Ain't Witchcraft, "The Measure of a Monster", The Unkindest Tide, "Hope is Swift", Come Tumbling Down, Imaginary Numbers, "Follow the Lady", "The Fixed Stars", "Forbid the Sea", "No Sooner Met"
While Across the Green Grass Fields is sixth in the Wayward Children fantasy series for Young Adults revolving around alternate planes of existence to which doors open to the (un)lucky one, it is a standalone story. The focus in this one is the young Regan Lewis who chose the wrong person in whom to confide.
Poor thing. Regan is so desperate to conform, to be like all the girls in her class…and kids are so dang mean. It’s a cruelty we learn through third person protagonist point-of-view from Regan’s perspective, which could explain why it reads more like a naive fairytale with rescues and unexpected aid from creatures who want their land to be saved.
The herd of centaurs who find Regan are a very accepting group, although not all the inhabitants are decent. So true of every group of living beings…
It’s such a treasure to find a people [the centaurs] who care so much about another that they’re willing to give up everything. It’s a life that teaches Regan a great deal.
It is an “interesting” culture and somewhat difficult to understand. The whole deal with the Fair dipped in and out of my comprehension. As for how the next ruler was selected…oy, how barbaric!
It’s something of a blessing that Regan falls into the Hooflands, as she’s so insecure in herself, vulnerable to others. Then she meets Chicory.
“…she had finally found a friend who liked her for who she was, not for how well she fit an arbitrary list of attributes and ideals.”
I did enjoy Across the Green Grass Fields — I raced through it, wanting to know what would happen next. And yet, there was too much that was confusing and the ending was unfulfilling and left me hanging.
It’s a blessing and a curse in the Hooflands when a human shows up, as it means something bad is going to happen. Something from which the human will be the hero who saves their world.
Regan Lewis is seven years old and loves horses. Maureen and Hugo Lewis, a large-animal veterinarian, are her parents. Tracker had been Regan’s horse.
The Hooflands are…
…a land primarily populated by centaurs who herd unicorns, goats, and more. Queen Kagami, Her Sunlit Majesty and a kirin, rules the kingdom that she took back from the Kelpie King.
The centaur herd…
…(of nine) take Regan in. Pansy is the one who found her. Chicory is the lonely daughter of Aster. Rose and Lily are Aster’s sisters. Peony. Pansy, Bramble, and Daisy, a healer, keep track of their unicorns. Clover and Lilac do the scouting. Their Grandma Borage died two seasons ago.
Gristle is the scary kelpie. Zephyr is a peryton, a flying predator. Elise is the girl who had waited for her love, the last hero.
The nature-loving Heather Nelson and the bullying Laurel Anderson had been Regan’s best friends from kindergarten into first grade. Karen Winslow and the Ellery boys were fellow students.
Dr Gibson may need to treat Regan with hormones. Caroline is Regan’s riding instructor.
The Cover and Title
The cover is bucolic with the rolling hills of green grass, dusky purple mountains in the background. Up close is a huge old tree with a large hole in it…a door, perhaps? It’s the foreground that’s dark with the bottom third of the cover in black gradating up to long green grasses. Starting at the mouth of the tree is the title in white, meandering back and forth, descending into the black. In the left corner formed by the last two words of the title is a testimonial. Below this is the author’s name, centered in white. Beneath this is an info blurb, also in white. There’s a touch of the fae in the round white globes wandering through it all.
The title is Across the Green Grass Fields of this world, both the physical fields of the grazing herds and the metaphysical of the Hooflands’ future.