Review: Every Heart A Doorway
This is one of the most unique books I've read, and despite the far-reaching concepts that are explored in such a concise story, none of it felt too overdone or too crazy to not want to believe it all. Not to mention, it has one of the most gorgeous covers I've ever seen.
Every Heart A Doorway, Seanan McGuire
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.
The book contains a blend of poignant social and cultural commentary with the kind of imaginings that explore all the potential worlds that one might visit in a fantasy book. I deeply appreciated that McGuire casually addressed the pitfalls of the common high school female experience, with the main character lamenting the kind of lives girls led where they were pursuing an unattainable perfection “spurred on by a deeply ingrained self-loathing that had been manufactured for them before they were old enough to understand the kind of quicksand they were sinking in.”
McGuire also manages to address the socialization of girls versus boys, transgender experiences, and asexuality. Again, all while talking about a universe in which other worlds to which children can travel are mappable on scales of nonsense and logic, good and evil.
Another quote I really loved:
"You are the guardians of the secrets of the universe, beloved worlds that most will never dream of, much less see...can't you see you owe into yourselves to be kind? To care for one another?"
My only complaint is that I couldn’t help but wish for more! More of the social commentary, more examples of why kindness should rate above all else, more adventure.
Part of the reason I finally read this book now is because more content is now available, with yet more to come.
“Down Among the Sticks and Bones” just released on the 13th, with this book sharing the backstory of two of the characters from the first book. I have a copy on the way and am looking forward to more of this fine writing.
Then “Beneath the Sugar Sky” sounds like another wonderful exploration of the impossible with the daughter of a character who died before she could have children trying to find her way back to her mother (I mean, that's a special level of wonderful nonsense)- that drops January 9 2018.
Overall if you need a book snack, you don’t mind some gore, and you like seeing characters who embody the kind of acceptance we don’t always see enough of in our day to day world, then this book’s for you.