Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Every Heart a Doorway #1)


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire // VBC ReviewEvery Heart a Doorway (Every Heart a Doorway #1)
Seanan McGuire
Published: April 5, 2016 (Tor)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

 Reviewed by: Amy 

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Do you ever wonder what happens to those children that return from the wardrobe, rabbit hole, portal, doorway, etc.? For those that don’t really want to come back—for whom the real world is no longer “home,” those that will never stop looking for a way back—Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children offers a respite. It’s a place where said children can be in an environment with others like them, and hopefully help them to understand that they may never return to those other places.

Nancy is new to school having returned a couple of months ago from the Halls of the Dead. Her parents want the happy, colorful girl back. Nancy just wants to be still. And while she’s having difficulty understanding terms such as “Nonsense, Logic, Wickedness, and Virtue” (think of them like points of a compass), at Eleanor West’s Nancy at least feels somewhat understood. That is, until her arrival also marks the arrival of mysterious darkness onto the campus. Now, Nancy, with the help of some hard-won friends, will have to figure out what’s happening otherwise they all risk losing the one place they’re accepted.

Seanan McGuire never lacks for great storytelling, but in Every Heart a Doorway she really outdoes herself. “What happens next?” is such an interesting question, with endless possibilities as the answer. Within a relatively short amount of pages, McGuire conveys so many variations on the different worlds. I hope we’ll get a chance to explore more in future books.

I was a bit surprised when the mystery aspect was introduced to the story. I wasn’t really thinking things would go in that direction mainly due to the fact that I would probably have been fine with just learning more about these children and the various worlds they encountered. I understand there has to be an occurrence that pushes the story forward, I just think because the story itself was so short, there wasn’t enough time to develop it enough.

I wish there had been a bit more time to explore the terminology because, like Nancy, I felt like my grasp on what it means to be in a world that is, for example, “high Logic, high Wicked” was tentative at best, I understood things enough, but I guess I just wanted more. I suppose leaving readers wanting more is never really a bad thing, and I hope the more stories we get in this world, the better understanding will come.

I felt the overall tone of the story was bittersweet. Heartbreaking when you think about these children being “thrown out” of the only places where they’ve ever felt acceptance, and not only to return to a reality where they still feel like outcasts but to continue to yearn to go back to a place, yet many won’t get that opportunity.

I did love the quirky, oftentimes outright weird personalities of all the children we encounter. They have all definitely been shaped differently by the unique places they’ve been, but share a common thread at the core of themselves in that they miss their homes.

This is another winner from Seanan McGuire, and one that could easily be read in a lazy afternoon. You just might spend the rest of your day looking for your own doorway.

Sexual content: references to sex

One Response to “Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Every Heart a Doorway #1)”

  1. I thought the resolution of the mystery was a bit abrupt, but really liked a lot of the details, particularly the way it explored more marginalized personalities and things like consent.

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