Every heart a doorway, by Seanan McGuire

Every heart a doorway Book Cover Every heart a doorway
Every heart a doorway #1
Seanan McGuire
Fantasy
Tor.com
April 5 2016
e-book
174

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.

Here are the three stages of being faced with Every heart a doorway:

  1. OH GOSH it's a new Seanan McGuire!
  2. WHOA NELLY it's a Special School for Special Children type of story! By Seanan!
  3. GOODREADS LISTS IT AS #1! (implying there's going to be a #2 and even #3! Exclamation marks galore!)

Um, yes. Your truly admits to vast fondness of both the author, the trope, and, as it turns out, the book itself. Counting only 170-ish pages, it's a novella - and not a time-stretchy one, because I devoured it very, very fast. (And very, very happily.)

If you follow the author in various social media, you may know she really, really wants to write the X-men.  You know, that Marvel thing that has a special school in it, for special kids.  That hasn't happened yet, but I want it to, believe me. Because now I've seen Seanan McGuire writing the same trope - the kids aren't mutants, but the concept still fits - and she has done it beautifully, entertainingly, heartbreakingly, et cetera.

Yes, it's called 'gushing'.  I'm doing it.

Under the pseudonym Mira Grant, the author's Parasitology trilogy was concluded only a few months ago. That trilogy contains within it references to and snippets from an imagined children's book (which has been written in full, and was simply waiting for a publisher, last I heard) - you'll remember it if you read those books. It talks about broken doors.

This book talks a great deal about doors, and kids who accidentally found them.  I couldn't help but think back to that other book-within-a-book and its haunting verses, because haunting fits this one too.

In all kinds of good ways. I mean.  Did you ever think about Alice in Wonderland, and what her life was like after she left Wonderland?  Was it all merely a peculiar dream? Was it years and years of PTSD?

Did she ever think of going back there?

I'd ask the same about the Pevensie kids, but... but they had a morose ending, and I've read too much about Susan, and it's all mostly a painful mess.  But you see, portal-finders, they always have to deal with what comes after.

Sometimes the after is a strange boarding school, far away from everything.

(Hey, another thing that is awesome about any universe concocted by Seanan McGuire? Diversity and representation. This is no exception!)

You should absolutely read this book. Go, do!