January 06, 2024

Seanan McGuire: "Mislaid in Parts Half-Known" (ARC Review)

Title: Mislaid in Parts Half-Known [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Wayward Children (9th of ?? books)
Author: Seanan McGuire [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Supernatural (technically it would be Portal Fantasy, but since I don't have a Fantasy Room on the blog, I decided to shelf this one as Supernatural - that's the closest I could get)
Year: 2024
Age: 14+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: An imaginative look-in-reverse at one of the most common fantasy tropes. Both funny and emotional. Gives us better insight into the portal universes and the doors' workings. Provides closure for a few characters.
Cons: More fragmented than most of its predecessors.
WARNING! Bullying/manipulation. Characters confronting past trauma.
Will appeal to: Readers who like a mix of adventure, humour and heart (with a side of heartbreak) and the found-family trope. Everyone who's ever felt out of place, but doesn't necessary dream of a happier world than the one they live in...

Blurb: Antsy is the latest student to pass through the doors at Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children. When the school’s (literally irresistible) mean girl realizes that Antsy's talent for finding absolutely anything may extend to doors, Antsy is 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, they will travel from a world which hides painful memories that cut as sharply as its beauty, to a land that time wasn’t yet old enough to forget - and more than one student's life will change forever. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley. Thanks to Tor/Forge for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.

A while ago, I decided I wouldn't write full reviews anymore for certain types of books, including novellas. But since I've been reviewing this series in full from the start, I'm making an exception here, and I intend to go on doing so for all its future installments. So, I'll keep writing a mini review after my first read, and a full one after my second.


If I have a bias when it comes to the Wayward Children universe, it's towards stories with an ensemble cast, especially if going on a quest (OK, so maybe I didn't love-love Book 1, but that one was peculiar, and the series still had to find its footing somehow). They merge two of my favourite tropes - found family and alternate worlds - and they usually feature at least a couple of characters that I love fiercely, so I tend to write more enthusiastic reviews when all these things are involved. This is precisely what happens with MIPHK, where old fan favourites Cora, Sumi, Kade and Christopher and later additions to the group Antsy and Emily are forced to flee the school and reckon with the past of some of them, all while touching base with a familiar face and righting some wrongs in the process. For a book so short (160 pages), the 9th installment in the Wayward Children saga delivers with a vengeance, and despite the rather large cast, you never feel like one of the kids doesn't get enough attention, though the main focus is on Antsy and her peculiar relationship with the doors (established in the previous installment, but explored in more detail here). The found-family dynamic is spot-on, and so what if "family" is a broad term here, that may or may not include talking birds and ancient predators πŸ˜‰. [...]                                                                    

After so many years and installments, McGuire's portal universes system still has some surprises in stores (and what surprises!). To be fair, the most shocking has been introduced in the previous book, but as MIPHK is a direct sequel to that one, it serves the purpose of making us fully grapple with its implications. In the same way, even so late in the game, the latest WC adventure manages to make us become more intimate with characters we've known since Book 1, while fleshing out relatively new ones and teasing us with snippets of the worlds they visited (if I know McGuire a little, it won't be long until we get a tour of Emily's Halloween world, and I'm so here for it). Full of humour, wisdom and adventure, suspended between Logic and Nonsense, MIPHK is also - like Antsy's world - a small nexus itself, full of doors leading to a number of emotional places, sometimes when you less expect it to happen. It's a bridge between the past and the future of the series, providing some closure and heartbreak (but of the good kind) and building towards more revelations and plot twists. And yeah, it has dinosaurs in it - but they don't "make" the book, and they're not the point. Come for the dinos, stay for found family, witty banter, justice warriors (I consider it a positive label, and anyhow, I'm using it for lack of a better one here), and kids who find their (peculiar) happy ending, if with a side of melancholy. It doesn't get any better than this πŸ˜€.

For my "Skeleton Song" review (prequel short story) click here.
For my "Every Heart a Doorway" review (first installment in the series) click here.
For my "Down Among the Sticks and Bones" review (second installment in the series) click here.
For my "In Mercy, Rain" review (companion short story) click here.
For my "Beneath the Sugar Sky" review (third installment in the series) click here.
For my "In an Absent Dream" review (fourth installment in the series) click here.
For my "Juice Like Wounds" review (companion short story) click here.
For my "Come Tumbling Down" review (fifth installment in the series) click here.
For my "Across the Green Grass Fields" review (sixth installment in the series) click here.
For my "Where the Drowned Girls Go" review (seventh installment in the series) click here.
For my "Lost in the Moment and Found" review (eighth installment in the series) click here.
For more Supernatural books click here.


  1. I've decided I'm going to binge these early in 2024 here, someone suggested they might be good as a binge read to keep everything straight, and that sounds good. So I'll be starting the first one soon. I like what you said about learning more about how the portals work too...

    1. Yay! I think in between me and Tammy we managed to steer you towards this series after 8 years? πŸ˜‚ And yeah...the portals' mechanics is still full of surprises after all this time...

  2. Awesome review! I did enjoy this, bit I didn't feel it had as much focus as some of the other books. I still love the darker stories the best😁

    1. Thanks! I get what you're saying - I did mention that this particular story is more fragmented than some of the others - but I love ensemble casts, so I didn't mind LOL. I did find it to be dark enough, what with the past trauma of two main characters playing a pivotal role. But I guess you can't beat Stick and Stones, Absent Dream and Tumbling Down when it comes to that πŸ˜‰.

  3. I like alternate worlds too and these books always sound so good.

    1. Alternate worlds are always fascinating, and these are especially good!

  4. I'm so glad you loved this one. I know how much you love Seanan McGuire. Alternate Worlds is one of my favorite tropes too. Unfortunately, I don't read very many of them for some reason, lol.

    1. This series has been going on for 10 years now, but the books are so short, so one day you might decide to try it and binge them with no problem at all!

  5. "Come for the dinos" lol Glad to hear it's still going strong. I read a few from the series but haven't kept up.

    1. The good thing is that they're pretty short, so you can catch up at any moment! But I suppose they didn't make a strong impression?


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