Review: EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire

EveryHeartaDoorwayEvery Heart a Doorway by  Seanan McGuire
(Fantasy; Tor, 2016)

5/5 Stars

Eleanor West’s boarding school helps adolescents returned from portal worlds, from Nonsense to Logic and from Wickedness to Virtue. The carefully constructed haven and its inhabitants face a trial more dark and disturbing than anything they’ve seen in this world or others.

Writer Brain: 5/5. It’s hard enough for some writers to build one world well. McGuire manages to build several. There spheres of rules within greater spheres of rules. Not everything is possible, and the limitations of individual portal-worlds are seamlessly introduced within the greater limitations of the book’s world. And since each character has lived in a different portal-world, each character abides by a different set of rules and is in a different state of acceptance/denial/rebellion. As a reader, you feel that there is so much more than you see on the page, than you need to know to follow the plot and empathize with the characters. You see the tip of the iceberg McGuire has crafted, but you’re not overwhelmed with information you don’t need. To do this in a book of this diminutive size is remarkable. There are authors who can’t manage worldbuilding this complete in a book five times this length. For this alone I’d return to the book as inspiration. But there were plenty of other reasons to love it.

Editor Brain: 4.5/5. I only had one issue. Early on in the book, there are a few paragraphs on narration that read, at first, as though Eleanor was the narrator. But this didn’t appear to be the case later on. Instead, the books spends most of the time in a close-third person POV behind Nancy’s story, and it’s compelling and engaging and everything it should be. The paragraphs in question, plus a brief change of POV later in the story, just pulled me out of the read. I’d never recommend a writer leave those types of switches in any genre except in cases of extreme need. And maybe that’s the case here: the rest of the book is so enjoyable and well crafted, that I’d believe it and am willing to excuse it as something with which I just didn’t connect. If I missed something super obvious, let me know in comments. I’d love to not be in the dark!

Reader Brain: 5/5. The experience of reading this book was simply delightful and deep. I found myself wondering which door I would have found, which door my husband would have found. I wanted to know more, but trusted McGuire to lead me where I needed to go. I laughed. I gaped. I held my breath with Nancy more than once. I wanted to share so many lines on Goodreads and didn’t for fear of giving away the best bits. I got really excited when I saw that there are two more books planned in this world. And then I went and ordered two print copies of this one: one for myself and one for my little sister (Tess, if you’re reading this, act surprised when you open it).

Et ceteraEvery Heart a Doorway releases today! Happy book birthday!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital ARC of Every Heart a Doorway from Tor via NetGalley.

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