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Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children Book 1) Kindle Edition
Winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Alex Awards
Nominated for the World Fantasy and British Fantasy Awards
Tiptree Honor List
"A mini-masterpiece of portal fantasy — a jewel of a book that deserves to be shelved with Lewis Carroll's and C. S. Lewis' classics" —NPR
Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children
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.
The Wayward Children Series
Book 1: Every Heart a Doorway
Book 2: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Book 3: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Book 4: In an Absent Dream
PRAISE FOR EVERY HEART A DOORWAY
"Seanan McGuire has long been one of the smartest writers around, and with this novella we can easily see that her heart is as big as her brain. We know this story isn't true, but it is truth." — Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series (TV's True Blood)
"Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is one of the most extraordinary stories I've ever read." — V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of A Gathering of Shadows
"Seanan McGuire once again demonstrates her intimate knowledge of the human heart in a powerful fable of loss, yearning and damaged children." — Paul Cornell, author of London Falling and Witches of Lychford
"So mindblowingly good, it hurts." — io9
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
From School Library Journal
About the Author
- ASIN : B00XHHV3YK
- Publisher : Tordotcom (April 5, 2016)
- Publication date : April 5, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 3107 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 174 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #18,260 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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Dear Miss McGuire take a bow because I think you might have outdone yourself.
This isn’t going to be for everyone. It is different, strange, fantastical, weird and utterly wickedly wonderful and then someone dies.
But before we get to that, imagine a world were the people who don’t quite fit into the norm sometimes disappear. ’That if you open the right door at the right time, you might finally find a place where you belong”. Now imagine that sometimes for various reasons that door opens again and put them back into this world where they never felt they had a place in. This is a story about those kids. The ones that desperately want to go back to the world that was home and are just trying to learn how to cope in a world that never was. But they always have hope that they can find another door to take them home, all they have is hope.
“Because hope is a knife that can cut through the foundations of the world,” said Sumi. Her voice was suddenly crystalline and clear, with none of her prior whimsy. She looked at Nancy with calm, steady eyes. “Hope hurts. That’s what you need to learn, and fast, if you don’t want it to cut you open from the inside out. Hope is bad. Hope means you keep on holding to things that won’t ever be so again, and so you bleed an inch at a time until there’s nothing left. Ely-Eleanor is always saying ‘don’t use this word’ and ‘don’t use that word,’ but she never bans the ones that are really bad. She never bans hope.”
This was the strangest story I’ve read in awhile. It was so different from the book I read before it that I finished the first chapter and had no clue what I just read and had to go back and reread it to bring myself into the right mind frame. But once I immersed myself I was all in. I wanted to know so much more about Sumi and the crazy candyland like world she visited, or Nancy and her time with the Lord of the Dead and the Moors where Jack and Jill spent there time
“I think the rules were different there. It was all about science, but the science was magical. It didn’t care about whether something could be done. It was about whether it should be done, and the answer was always, always yes.”
We get little snippets here and there but I wanted to live in these other worlds too.
There is a bigger overall plot of murder as some of the travelers are being killed off for no apparent reason and none of the kids at the asylum/school are safe. All of the kids need to work together to try and figure out who is killing them off and why. But for me all of this was secondary to the overall weirdness of all of the characters.
Very rarely do I read a short story and think ‘I need this so be so much longer’. I wanted this to be a full novel I wanted so much more. I loved the strange interactions between all of the travelers and how I believed that none of them were supposed to be in this land. I was genuinely sad when the story over but I loved how it ended.
You’re nobody’s rainbow.
You’re nobody’s princess.
You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.
I truly believe that this is for anyone who has ever felt like maybe they just didn’t belong. I’m telling you right now that everyone feels that way at some point and you should read this because I’m 98% sure that you fit in way more than any of these kids ever did.
I really hope there are a dozen or more stories set in this world, because I really want to go through all of the doors and visit all of the crazy worlds Seanan McGuire can conjure in her head.
2 stars because the story was at least well written and something new. Not for me though, almost not at all.
It was fine, but just fine. A bit drawn and easy to guess the who and what of it all. This could have been a really magical story, with tons of different stories in it, and enormous worlds to explore and things to learn and enjoy.
Instead, this was a short story about someone who didn't like the way things were and then changed them. Everyone was depressing and non-relatable, except one and she was killed off at the start almost. Sumi was really the only interesting character, all others were just whiny children.
I'm really disappointed in this not being more grand. I don't mind the dark approach of it, but it wasn't made into anything. Just a bunch of kids that could've just as easily have been mentally challenged, than the worlds being real.
Anyone looking for a short, easy read that doesn't require you getting into lots of details, but still looking for something new and different.
Not recommended for:
All of us looking for a grand adventure like The Hobbit or Harry Potter, or Narnia for that matter. Skip this if you want a large, grand world to explore, because you will be disappointed.
I'm fond of the use of female protagonists in a largely female context, along with the inclusion of a transgendered character. These are all things that are sorely missing in popular media, and younger minds should be exposed to these ideas and perspectives sooner rather than later.
But taken as-is, I would consider this to be a wonderful young adult book, but nothing more. The narrative is very simple and you see the end coming from a good mile away (which is to say, halfway through this already rather-short book). The universe and concepts are very interesting but are not fleshed out. And the characters, while well-defined, are rather shallow (albeit by design, given their background and respective ages).
Given the controversy around the Hugos in recent years I hesitate to say this, but I think it's worth noting that were the characters all young boys in the typical, over-saturated manner, then this book would likely not stand out at all. So the question becomes whether or not you believe that the divergent, much-needed perspective and setting add enough value in and of themselves.
To that end, I would say that this book is a praiseworthy addition to any young adult library, as it expands horizons and reinforces positive messages to people of all genders, but as a story in and of itself is likely "just" above-average. If you have to choose between this book and yet another also-ran story of a young boy who finds a magical X that takes him on a quest to save Y, then please choose this one. But if you're looking for the next Dune (a perhaps unfair comparison), then this isn't it.
Top reviews from other countries
Miss Eleanor’s Home for children who have travelled through doorways into fantasy worlds should provide a retreat and a sanctuary for bruised and fragile psyches suffering from their (mostly unwilling) return to the ‘normal’ world. But it proves instead to be a very dangerous place indeed. Understand this: the doorways of which we speak do not open onto moral and uplifting otherworlds where children can be kings and queens and yet remain unspoiled. Some doorways lead to dark and dangerous places, and the children who return from them are marked in ways that are not always visible. This is the story of some of those returnees.
I have two caveats. The first is that with relatively little effort this could have been a full length novel. A broader picture of the residents of the home, and a little more detail on the individuals who appear (however briefly) would have added colour and depth, and the premise could easily have carried more detail. And, secondly, the ending left me desperately hoping that this would prove to be the beginning of a sequence. Dear reader, luckily it is. I’m off now to pre-order Down Among the Sticks and Bones.
The content itself and the ideas on which the story is based are truly amazing. Authors’ imagination is to be respected and admired. I also liked her writing style.
Where I felt let down is that this is essentially just a short story and I didn’t think the storyline was properly developed. In the space of 170 pages we had the introduction, the plot (several of them actually), the characters and the ending which was quickly wrapped up. There wasn’t really much time to get to know the characters, let alone like them or pick your favourite. The ideas of the “other worlds” are fantastic but ultimately the shortness of the story let the book down for me.
The second book is based on Jack and Jill (characters from the first book) but since I don’t feel I connected to the characters I know I will not be purchasing the second book.
I liked the book but didn’t love it. I expected to be pulled into the magical world of impossible things and instead I felt I only took a fast train ride through some scenic parts. And the train was travelling really fast! I would have expected to pay £5 for this.
If you like fantasy series, try Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy.
Eleanor West runs a boarding schools for those children who can’t readjust. Their parents think them damaged, or wayward, or mad. Eleanor knows better, having herself returned from a Netherworld. Most learn to cope, in the company of those who understand. A few, a very few, find their way back. But when new girl Nancy arrives, dark things start happening, and the school itself is threatened. Is Nancy the source, or the trigger, of these events?
Life After Fantasy has always struck me as an issue. The scene at the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, where the Pevensie children return home after decades in Narnia, always horrified me: they had been adult royalty; how did they cope with being ordinary children again? Jo Walton tackles this issue in her wonderful short story, "Relentlessly Mundane". Here Seanan McGuire tackles it differently, in a 170pp novella.
Despite wanting to go to Lewis’ Narnia (for the Talking Animals, if not for the sexism, racism, classism, bad theology, and shoddy plotting), and to Marjorie Phillips’ Fairyland, I didn’t find myself attracted to any of the Netherworlds described by McGuire. (And I don’t think that’s just because there are no Pauline Baynes illustrations, or that I am half a century older than when I read the originals.) However, that lack of attraction is not a problem: it just serves to illustrate how everyone is different, and what is hearts-ease for one may be horror for another. But, consistently, Mundania is home for none.
This is not a typical school story, as it does not dwell on any lessons, except for some interesting Netherworld classification schemes. Nancy as new girl allows for some expository passages, but not that many. The tale focuses mainly on the deadly goings-on that threaten the school. And even there, we do not get a lot, since this is a novella. But McGuire does paint vivid pictures of the various main characters, and the very different homes they wish to return to. I wish this was a novel rather than a novella, and you can’t say fairer than that.
The language is so beautiful and poetic and then it changes dramatically to swearing. I imagine if Irvine Welsh and Lewis Carroll had co written a book, the result would be very much like Every Heart... Wonderful, brutal, very much like The Moors. Can't wait to read book 2!