Series: Every Heart a Doorway #1
Published by Macmillan on April 5th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy, Fiction
Reviewed by: Kim
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 things.
No matter the cost.
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY was one of the most charming, unsettling books I have read in a long time. It's gentle and brutal at the same time and kept me off-kilter for the entire 176 pages of this novella. I loved it, and just wish it had been a bit longer.
All of the characters are fabulous. Nancy, the main character, has just come back from a trip to the Halls of the Dead, and her parents just don't get it. They don't understand why she no longer wears colours, or dyes her hair white (she doesn't) or barely eats anything anymore. So they send her to a special school where they think she'll be "fixed". Luckily for Nancy, she's not there to be fixed, she's there to be helped. They'll even remind her to eat when she forgets.
The school was enchanting, an odd mix of the amazing and mundane, with cliques of mean girls, and boys blowing bubbles into their chocolate milk. That mundane-ness made it that much more shocking when terrible things started happening. It was thrilling and terrifying.
The pace of the story is the only thing that bugged me. The violence and especially the resolution were so quick that I had to re-read a few times to make sure I had not missed anything. I understand why it had to end so abruptly, theme-wise, but it still irked me that it was over so quickly. Still, I wouldn't have done it any other way.
I think it's fabulous that Seanan McGuire is publishing shorter fiction like this. I have thoroughly enjoyed most of her series, which tend to feature extensive scientific or mythological worlds and explanations. This story is less an exploration, and more of a slap in the face; it's refreshing, abrupt, and you'll remember it for a long time.More Reviews:
- For more adventures down a "rabbit hole", try Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer, by Jonathan L Howard, Coraline by Neil Gaiman or Automated Alice or Nymphomation, both by Jeff Noon.