Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Death
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.
She leaned close, so close that Nancy felt one of the other girl’s pigtails brush her shoulder. ‘‘Why are you crying, ghostie girl? Did someone walk across your grave?’’
Mysterious murders. Secret doors. Magical worlds.
One thing I sure wasn’t expecting to find in this oddly mature young adult story is creepy dead girls. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a little bit of murder in a plot, but that was quite a twist for me.
What started as a peculiar tale of magical doors quickly shifted into something unexpectedly dark.
I’m glad. I really didn’t want to read about yet another Narnia-inspired journey into alternate universes where there are fairies, talking animals, half-humans or giant insects. We get none of that.
‘‘[I]f you open the right door at the right time, you might finally find a place where you belong.’’
The story takes place at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Sounds familiar? A school where ‘‘special’’ and marginalized children are welcome to recuperate and prosper in peace.
Every Heart a Doorway is the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children never got to be.
Both books don’t follow the same plot, yet there is an unmistakable similarity between them. Every Heart a Doorway is scary. Not in a ‘‘heart attack’’ way; the creepiness crawls under your skin and seems to follow a path, yet never reaches your heart. It’s a good and moderated creepy: one that’ll awake your senses!
‘‘Hope hurts. That’s what you need to learn, and fast, if you don’t want it to cut you open from the inside out.’’
I could tell you all about the heroine, but here’s the truth: all characters are important. Some are heroes, some are antiheroes. Some are innocent, others are dangerous. We don’t know who is who for sure. Maybe they’re all lying, maybe some are trust-worthy or maybe they’re all playing with us. Regardless, the author doesn’t neglect the secondary characters, and that’s a very good thing.
Just… don’t get too attached.
The main reason why I didn’t grant this book a higher rating, as it seemed to beg me to – sorry book, I don’t always oblige – is because of the plot. Yes, it’s suspenseful, relatively original and captivating enough, but it’s so uneventful.
Sure, there are people dying, but that’s all. A little bit of therapy here and there and interactions between characters, but it frustrated me to see the author limit herself to mundane scenes – aside from the murders – when there are infinite possibilities with this type of story! Furthermore, the lack of gasp when finding the identity of the killer(s) was disappointing.
A short and entertaining creepy read.
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I’m glad I read this read this review, because creepy books like this are really not my thing. But from the blurb, this sounds like something I would want to pick up. So thanks for warning me away haha 😛
I liked this one, it was interesting and different
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“Every Heart a Doorway is the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children never got to be.”
That’s quite the statement, considering how loved Rigg’s Peculiar Children seems to be. I’ve never read it, to be honest, and it makes me curious what about Rigg’s book that is missing that McGuire seems to have accomplished.
The creepy factor was missing in Rigg’s book 😦
This book caught my eye (the cover is amazing!) a few weeks ago, and I’ve been wondering about it every since. I’m intrigued now!
Good review. You explained your rating without giving anything away!
Hmmm… How disappointing that you didn’t like it more! It sounds like it has a lot of potential. I might give this one a shot anyway, and just expect that. 🙂
This is definitely going in my TBR REAAAL SOON. DAMN that storyline sounds awesome ! Even tho there are some points to be improved Im glad you kind of enjoyed it 🙂
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