Book review: Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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From Goodreads


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.

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3.5 stars, rounded to four

Overall, I loved so many things about this book. Again, I’m going to bullet this review into likes/dislikes because my thoughts are all over the place.

Things I loved

  • The story and concept: it’s so interesting. I love the concept of young girls and boys getting lost in fairytale worlds and what happens when they come back to the real world. It was so interesting to see that concept explored. I also loved the plot of this book and thought the murder mystery thing was super interesting.
  • The setting: I just love boarding schools, what can I say.
  • The diversity: hello, A+ diversity, thank you very much. There’s a trans POC, an ace character, a WOC. And all the stereotypes are challenged and called-out on-page, which is so refreshing. I loved it.
  • The world-building: I think one of the strengths of this book is that despite it’s short length, it still does a great job of world-building. I feel like I understood the fairytale world, the doorways, and all that. It was great, considering how short the book was and how little time there was to explore everything.
  • The writing: the writing was also great. McGuire is clearly a very talented author, and I had no issues with the writing. I thought it was brilliant.

Things I wish were better

  • The length: I think my biggest issue with this book was the length. I generally don’t mind short books, but this one felt a little underdeveloped and the plot seemed to whip by. I would’ve loved 100 more pages. The reveal at the end seemed rushed, and I just felt like I didn’t really have time to process anything.
  • The pacing: I kind of just went over this, but the pacing was just off. The first few chapters were about the main character settling into the school, meeting people, learning about the fairytale worlds, etc., and I really enjoyed them. Then all of a sudden people start dying, and it seemed like that was wrapped up and dealt with in the same amount of time as the beginning stuff. I think this is mainly an issue of how short the book is, but I think it still could’ve been improved upon.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. If you enjoy boarding schools, fairy tales and diversity, this one is for you!

Have you read this book? Have you read the rest of the series? Should I continue the series? Let me know!

Ally xx

10 thoughts on “Book review: Every Heart a Doorway

  1. I LOVE this series. I’ve read all of them so far, and enjoyed them all. (#3 was my least favorite of them so far, but I still liked it a bunch.) If it helps, this was never intended to be a full novel. It’s firmly in the novella camp, and while that doesn’t help the length issues (and means that the rest of the stories are also novellas) at least I never really felt that it was cut short in order to make one long book into several short ones, or something. My issue is that it was publicized as a novel, not as a novella, but that’s not really the author’s fault. (Side note, it won both the Hugo and the Nebula award for Best Novella.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had my eye on this book for a while and enjoyed reading your review 🙂 I’m glad that the pros outweigh the cons!! A lot of reviews that I’ve read comment on the length as well and say that they wish the book had 100 more pages, so you’re definitely not alone in that opinion!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also just recently read this book, and i feel like the murders and the killngs was a way to give a gothic dark twist to the entire premise of the story and not to make it feel like a malory towers type boarding school story.

    Liked by 1 person

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