Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Publication: April 5, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
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.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
First picking up this book I was under the impression it was a children’s book. Or at least under a Children’s category for publishing, which could have been YA Fiction. Looking further into it after reading, it is Science Fiction/Fantasy, which makes far more sense and makes me feel better about some of my discomforts. While Fantasy and Science Fiction are not my favorite, I truly enjoyed “Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire simply because it was pure and new and never has been done before. That is incredibly hard to find in a world where books have been around for a very, very long time and it seems every possible idea could be taken as a copy cat.
“Every Heart a Doorway” really centers on the story of Nancy, this odd young girl (or woman) who ends up at this home for wayward children ran by Miss Eleanor. Picture, if you will, Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus. That is how I pictures Eleanor the entire book purely based on the description of her outfit early on in the book. Plus it makes her eccentricities that much more fun to read. When you picture a “crazy” lady you automatically want to picture her dressed crazy too. This fits. While this is a home for wayward children, it is not what the outside world would assume. Parents are bringing their kids here after they have experienced being kidnapped or ran away and returning years or months later. They are different from how their parents remember them. I mean, who wouldn’t be. But these kids didn’t just disappear to some basement where some creepy pedophile was holding them up. They were in alternate worlds where bright colors and lollipops were everywhere or living among the skeletons in the underworld (Creepy, I know!). Eleanor has assembbled this school to help them, not become “un-crazy”, but to help them learn to live with the fact that they may never get to go back to these alternate worlds they got the opportunity to visit. Probably not what the parents ordered, I’d say.
In the beginning of this book I was thoroughly confused. I had no idea what they were talking about. I didn’t really understand in full what the book was about based on the synopsis, but it sounded interesting enough. I took a bit to catch on and not be confused when they talked about high logic or high nonsense. I feel the author could have done a better job in the beginning explaining that so I didn’t feel so frustrated while reading. It was almost enough to make me give up on the book in first quarter of it, but I held out and I am very glad I did. Once I got the hang of the terminology and what exactly was happening at this school, the characters kind of fell into place and their purpose in the story became clear to me. Who was suppose to draw out Nancy from her shell, or who was suppose to get her so worked up she closed herself off. I love murder mysteries and this science fiction story twisted in a fantastic murder mystery that left me guessing the whole time. I love that! It was as if I was watching a mystery/thriller with a child-like flair. There was something fun and exciting about it. However, I would not recommend this book for children. I’d stick to maybe mature young adults and up. There are some grotesque scenes that won’t be good for the faint of heart or the young.
So while the initial confusion would have probably brought this down to a three, if not a two had it continued throughout the whole book, the story itself is definitely a redeeming quality. It was well written, the characters are in-depth and developed, and the story flowed smoothly. It didn’t take forever to get to the point, which is always a deal breaker for me when it does. “Every Heart a Doorway” is a truly unique story that has not been done before and Seanan McGuire has struck gold here. I’d be very curious to see this as a film, too. (Can we get a shout out to movie producers?) People would flock to something like this… but read the book first, of course!!!
My hat is definitely off to McGuire. I am slowly becoming a science fiction and fantasy fan this year with a few books I have read, but out of all of them “Every Heart a Doorway” is probably my favorite one yet. Four solid stars for this work of art. And bravo to McGuire for having such an artistic and creative brain. Not many could have come up with such an intricate story and delivered it so well.
I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of “Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire. You can get yourself a copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads! Make sure to leave feedback for the author when you are done reading! We will be looking in to more books from McGuire to see what other magical worlds she can introduce to us. On Goodreads this book is listed as #1 so maybe we will have a sequel in our future! Only time will tell.