Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

So apparently I missed the hype-train for this book. Back in 2016 every book tuber was reading and talking about Every Heart a Doorway, but it somehow escaped my notice, perhaps because it is fantasy, a genre which I do not read often.

Every Heart a Doorway is about a group of children and teenagers who attend a school for “wayward children,” children who have previously traveled to other worlds/lands. It is loosely based on stories such as Alice in Wonderland and the Chronicles of Narnia. Most of the wayward children were expelled from the lands for one reason or another, and almost all of them wish to return. There’s a lot more to the book, but that’s about all I knew going into it, and I think it provides you (the future reader) with enough insight without giving away spoilers.

What I liked about the book:

Let me start off by saying I loved this book. I found the writing to be lyrical and beautiful. I really liked both the concept and the worldbuilding, although I found the directions confusing. Like everyone else, I appreciated the diversity and the fact that there is both an asexual character and a transgender character, something which is still relatively rare in today’s fiction.

What I disliked about the book:

The book was extremely short. I am someone who favors shorter books because I hate unnecessary fluff (see my review of Dumplin’). However, this book frankly needed to be longer, especially for the amount of world building and character development necessary for the story to make sense. I personally found most of the characters underdeveloped. As I said in my previous paragraph, I also found the directions of the world confusing and would have liked either more vivid description or a map.

Also, I hate to be that person who pulls one line out of the book to discuss, but the sentence about dead bodies being like vibrators really made me cringe. It was a bad analogy and frankly should have been edited out of the book.

Who would I recommend the book to?

I would definitely recommend this book to people who enjoy fantasy, and also people who like books with darker plots. Many other reviewers recommended it for people who like Alice in Wonderland, but for me, the book reminded me a lot of the Wizard of Oz and also of the Madman’s Daughter by Meghan Shepherd (both of which I also love).

Overall, how would I rate this book?

This book received 4 stars from me on Goodreads, and I plan to continue the series.


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