Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway
By: Seanan McGuire
Published By: Tor
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Page Count: 173
Page Count: 173
YA — Fantasy
We're all familiar with Alice's adventures in Wonderland and the Pevensie children's trips to Narnia. Surely they were not the only children to have had fantastical adventures. But what happens to these children after they return to our world? Author Seanan McGuire knows.
I adored the very concept of this book. So many books stop when the child (or children) in question return to our familiar reality. But truly such a journey, particularly when they have been gone subjectively for years, must leave its mark on the traveler. In Every Heart a Doorway, Nancy's sojourn in the Halls of the Dead has left her with a longing for stillness, for black and white, and for the cool slowness of the world of the dead. But each child's doorway to the fantastic leads to a different place with different rules, and so each child at Miss West's Home for Wayward Children has different habits, talents, and desires. Truly, a brilliant idea for a story.
With such a great setup, I'm not sure why I didn't enjoy Every Heart a Doorway more than I did. Perhaps the novella length prevented McGuire from deeper world building or more exciting plot twists due to lack of space. It could also be that the message of the story which strikes Nancy toward the end didn't resonate with me. Whatever the reason, I wanted more from a story that had won the SF/Fantasy trifecta of awards: The Hugo, The Nebula, and The Locus.
Still, I am eager to read the next two books in the series, Down Among the Sticks and Bones and Beneath the Sugar Sky. I want to learn more about the twins, Jack and Jill, who were two of the creepiest kids in Miss West's school!
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.