Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)
By: Seanan McGuire
My Rating: Three out of five stars.
Best for: 18 and up
I enjoyed Middlegame my Seanan McGuire so much, I looked to see what her next most popular books were. Turns out it’s the Wayward Children series. Book one is Every Heart a Doorway–which makes me laugh because it sounds like the title of an Amy Harmon romance novel. But…it’s not. Very much not.
Imagine you’re Alice, who visited Wonderland. You’re experiences changed you, and by the time you’ve made it home you don’t fit into the “real” world anymore. No one believes you. You’re an island. The people who love you most can’t understand why you went missing and came back different. They just want their little girl back–but they don’t understand. Their little girl is gone. All you want to do is return to Wonderland where you’re understood and a hero and you don’t have to pretend not be you to make others happy. But the doorway to Wonderland is closed. You’re trapped between expectations and reality and it’s driving you insane.
There’s a private school for you! A place where you can live with other teenagers who’ve also been through hidden doors or holes in the ground or mirrors, returned, and found themselves changed–but trapped.
This series is about those kids. And that’s the book I wanted to read!
Every Heart a Doorway was that book, but it came with a bit of baggage I wasn’t expecting.
Regarding the part I was expecting…Seanan McGuire is a wonderful writer and a prolific storyteller. Her prose is worthy of putting it in an elegant frame and hanging it on your wall.
There was still something unfinished around her eyes; she wasn’t done yet. She was a story, not an epilogue.
Is that wonderful? The book is full of them. The story is strong, the characters are well written. I even enjoyed the surprise murder mystery!
But there was some baggage. I didn’t love the objectional content. There wasn’t a lot, but I was frustrated with some strong language and crass sexual content that felt out of place and out of character. Mostly though, I felt like the entire book was a propaganda vehicle for hot topic social issues. Being preached to without warning is high on the list of things I try to avoid in books, and I was caught unaware.
I’m so impressed with Seanan McGuire. I also loved that this book can be read as a stand alone, and it (and the books in the series) are all under 200 pages! THAT is a rare and beautiful thing in the world of fantasy stories. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy and comfortable with books that get preachy when it comes to social issues, you’re going to really enjoy Every Heart a Doorway!
Best for 18 and up.