Monday, November 7, 2022

Into the Windwracked Wilds by A. Deborah Baker


This 3rd book in the Up and Under series by A. Deborah Baker, Seanan McGuire’s second pseudonym, is excellent! I liked it even more than book 2. 

Once again, I will say that I love Seanan McGuire. (Note: I review a bunch of her books so I am copying part of some of my other reviews here to save time.). She has quickly become my favorite living writer and I feel very lucky that she is so prolific. I was first introduced to her work when her book Parasite, written as Mira Grant, was nominated for a Hugo Award. I loved it and quickly devoured the Newsflesh series before I realized that Mira Grant and Seanan McGuire were the same person. 

I started reading her works under her own name, starting with Sparrow Hill Road, which is amazing, but I picked it because I was intimidated by her long running October Daye series. I had read some Urban Fantasy before, and I fondly remember Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde books, but my tastes run more to science fiction and then secondary world fantasy, so I was hesitant to dive into such a long series. I picked up the first book, Rosemary and Rue, when it was on sale as a kindle daily deal, and I found it somewhat disappointing compared to her other work. I reminded myself that it was her first published novel, so I cut it some slack. Then Incryptid was nominated for the Best Series Hugo in 2018 and I dove into that instead. I loved it! So I vowed to give Toby another chance. And I was so glad that I did! It is no one of my favorite series. 

I really enjoyed Middlegame when it came out and voted for it as best novel on the Hugo Awards at the time. The writing there was lyrical and a little dreamlike in a way that was a little different from most everything else of hers (but reminded me of the Parisitology books a little). 

One thing about Middlegame that especially reminded me of the Parasitology books was the excerpts from a children’s book included in the novel. In the world of Middlegame, A. Deborah Baker was an author who wrote the Up and Under Books. And Seanan McGuire, being the incredibly talented and prolific author she is, wrote out the entire book of Over the Woodward Wall as part of the process of writing Middlegame. 

That was quickly followed by book 2, Under the Saltwise Sea, and now this new volume, Into the Windwracked Wilds. I love everything about this book, from the cover on down. I listened to an eARC of the audiobook, thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, who gave me the eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was much better paced than book 2. It began with far less recap and jumped right into the story. We learned much more about the Crow Girl, one of my favorite characters in the series. (I wonder how much of the author is in the Crow Girl?). The characters don’t seem much closer to the Impossible City by the end of the book, but the character progression makes up for any possible complaints I might have. 

I was worried I wouldn’t like the narration - the only other audiobook I have listened to by Heath Miller was his wife’s novel, Space Opera. I adored that book and hated the narration on the audiobook. But Mr. Miller’s voice and style was a perfect fit for this tale. 

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