Book Review – Every Heart a Doorway

Book: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children 1) by Seanan McGuire
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars




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 things.

No matter the cost.


A novella length story that gives us a little bit of that secret fantasy we all have. That there are secret portals to other worlds where maybe we can fit in. But this story tells us what happens when you return to our world. The backlash. It is a whimsical tale that could have had it all but lacked a bit of a punch in places.

Honestly I enjoyed this book, even if it wasn’t entirely what I had expected. I knew it was short but it was even shorter than I thought. Even so the story in itself stands. But due to the shortness there was a lack of a punch in places. I needed more in places. More depth. More room for things to be expanded upon. There is so much that could be in this world and I don’t think the short amount of pages does this book any justice.  The ending specifically where a mystery is wrapped up especially lacked a bit of a punch.
And truth be told it isn’t so much the actual story that is what I enjoyed. But the concept, the world, the characters. The concept of what it is like to come back into our world after having grown up in a fantasy world (with skeletons, vampires, candy canes and so on) is so interesting. How our society rejects those that are different. Want them to be ‘fixed’. How even if you are like minded that this doesn’t automatically accounts for support.

The many worlds that are mentioned and described make me so very curious. Especially the world where Christopher came from. Skeletons and rising them. And he retained that ability in our world. I just want to visit them all.

The characters were all great yet at the same I wish we could have had more pages with them to deepen them out more. Jill for instance felt like such a flat board. But Nancy was certainly an interesting character to follow, considering how she was before her ‘adventure’ (colorful and bright) and after (black and silent). I would have loved to have heard more about that transition. She is also asexual and this was also explained to another character. So that was great to see. Another character was Kaden who is transsexual. I loved how this was normalized, like Nancy’s asexuality. It is so important to do this.  There is also the small references to gender roles and how we easily assign these to children. Force them really. I would have loved seeing this more explored.

But most of all I enjoyed the inclusion of Christopher. He gave some much needed balance to some of the other characters. He had a bit more humor to show and as mentioned I just loved his world. I really hope we might get more of him in a future novella or novel length book.

14 thoughts on “Book Review – Every Heart a Doorway

  1. I loved the premise and the story structure, but the twist “mystery” was to predictable and I thought that ending part took up way to much of the story because of it being so short, and to me the ending was too much of a cliffhanger. I told another blogger that the only way I would forgive that was if when the sequel came out that EHaD acted more as a prequel novella for Nancy’s full story, but the sequel is only a couple of pages longer. You were kinder than me; I gave it three stars, but I did enjoy it up until the end part. You hit it on the nose with saying it lacked “punch” because that is exactly it. :/

    Liked by 1 person

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