Thursday, December 15, 2022

Review | Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway is the first book in the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

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.

This reread is so heartbreaking. Having now read 6 more books in this series and coming back to the beginning - I think it hits even harder reading about these wayward children who have been forced to return "home". I get it now that no matter where they went through their portal doorway - a nice place, a dark place, a nonsense place, that was home.

I went back and read my original review for this and for some reason I focused on how weird this series would get according to reviews. It definitely does get strange, but it's wonderful and quite often heartbreaking.

I don't know if it's the end of the year or my lack of focus, but I've been in full reread mode. This is the perfect time for me to make my way back through this series. I think I will enjoy book 7 and the new book coming out in January much more revisiting the previous books in this series. I want to reacquaint myself with all of the characters we've met along the way.

Every Heart a Doorway is a perfect introduction to this universe and what it's like to be a wayward kid who has gone through a portal to another world and forced to come back to the life they left behind. These children struggle to cope and often wind up at the school for wayward children which is where Every Heart a Doorway is set.

In each book after Every Heart a Doorway, we get to follow someone through a doorway to another world (with the occasional return to school). This is one of my favorite series, and I look forward to a new release every year. You could probably jump into most books of series without starting at the beginning, but I love the magnitude of what Every Heart a Doorway spells out for these characters and the expectations that are set for these children ever finding their doorway again.

I'm awful at classifying genres so I've always thought of these books strictly as fantasy, but I can see why these also make it onto horror lists. Every Heart a Doorway is certainly horror adjacent and should appeal to a wide range of genre readers.

I feel like you will know if this is a series that sounds right for you. As for me, I love it and I hope it lasts forever.
4/5 stars


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  1. I've been wanting to try this series for a while. I love the premise of it. The idea of kids going through portals to other worlds and having to come back.

  2. The first book is still one of my favorites 😁

  3. This does sound like it would be a good read.

  4. I've been curious about this series for a long time, but I think the strangeness has deterred me. It is good to know the human stakes that ground things. As for year end reading, I've been very goldilocks about the entire thing. I can't seem to settle on what I want to read next!

  5. I need to get my hands on this one soon! Great review!


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