Monday, February 06, 2017

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: Portal Fantasy
Series: Wayward Children # 1

Hardcover, 173 pages
Publication: April 5, 2016 by

Source: Purchased


No Solicitations.No Visitors.No Guests.

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.

I never knew there was a specific name for books where the characters traveled to a different world/dimension/realm, which has been dubbed Portal Fantasy. However, it’s not anything new. We’ve seen it in movies and literature alike from Alice in Wonderland, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to Harry Potter and Coraline. There’s an abundance of them. But what sets McGuire's novella apart from the previous novels mention is McGuire deals with the aftermath of the characters’ adventures and travels. Asking the question, what happens next? Readers get an inside look at these characters who were whisked away as children and returned as young adults adjusting to coming home/to reality; trying to normalize their lives when they never felt normalcy except in the worlds they escaped to as kids.

I don’t read novellas often but Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors (If you haven’t checked out her October Daye series yet, you’re seriously missing out!). And anything she writes is a must read for me. I get that novellas are short and you can only do so much in x-amount of pages; you have to have fleshed out characters, some sort of world building/concept and a plot. Despite the rave reviews for Every Heart a Doorway, this novella fell short on all three accounts. The characters weren’t fully developed and except for Jack and Jill; Nancy, our main protagonist and all of the other characters felt one dimensional. The world building was a unique idea but with the book being so short, McGuire could only set the foundation for it and didn’t really explore it further. And lastly, the plot was pretty generic and straightforward. A whodunit mystery. Someone is going around murdering the students and Nancy and her new friends are trying to figure out who the killer is. That’s basically the gist of it.

This book had its interesting moments but overall it didn’t meet my expectations. Although I didn’t enjoy Every Heart a Doorway as much as I wanted, the next book in this novella series (?) is centered around Jack and Jill and their time before they came to West’s Home for Wayward Children. Now that is something I’d read, plus they were the only characters I found intriguing. If you were planning on checking this novella out, I’d suggest borrowing it some way, some how. In my opinion it’s not worth purchasing.

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