Review: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

Quick review for a quick read. I think my literal reaction finishing this book was “Whoa.” That’s entirely a good thing considering the overarching journey that “Every Heart a Doorway” took me on. I loved the introduction and idea of the world in this novel. The characters also captivated me, and made me want to know more about them even in the mix of a number of harrowing events that kept me on the edge of my seat steamrolling through the novel’s end.

Nancy is a young woman who has been sent to Eleanor West’s “Home for Wayward Children”. She, like many of the students attending, is recovering from being sent into an otherworldly realm that’s left her forever changed from the experience. I think that’s one of the premises that drew me into this series in the first place. Many of us read fantasy stories in which children or adults are sent into an “otherworld” of sorts, but don’t exactly think about what happens when they come back and have to deal with the “real world” again. This novel has a blend of character experiences in this vein, but not all of them had ventured into bright, blooming, shimmering worlds (though some do). Some, like Nancy, descended into worlds that were dark and disturbing. In Nancy’s case, she walked with ghosts – and that made her a bit of an outcast to begin with. But she really gets into trouble as the characters who have interacted with her…well…meet not so cheerful fates that put her in the center of the crosshairs for blame.

This is a really, really, REALLY short book, that I almost wish were a little bit longer considering everything that happens and all the potential that was wrapped up into it. Considering it involves murder and grisly, gory scenes with a fair helping of diverse characters who are wrapped within the journey, I could appreciate what it had to offer. It ended a little too soon for the way the book steamrolled with blow after blow for plot conflict, but in the end, I liked what it had to offer and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more into the series built by McGuire here.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.

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