Hello and welcome back to BB&B! I just finished up Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire and wanted to drop a little review for you guys. I have... some things to say about this book, so let's get right into it.
Every Heart a Doorway is a YA fanatsy novella that takes place in this home for children who have traveled to other worlds through magical doorways, but for various reasons they have been sent back to our world. The worlds they go to are the perfect world for that person. It's where their heart belongs, essentially so it's very difficult for these children to have to leave it. The director of the home, Miss West, is a traveler herself so (unlike the children's parents and the general public) she understands what the children are going through. Our main character, Nancy, is pushed back into our world from "The Halls of Death" and sent to Miss West's home for children by her parents who think their daughter is suffering from depression. Shortly after Nancy arrives though her roommate is found dead. And Nancy didn't do it. We follow her and a group of children from the home as they try to figure out what happened to the girl as well as deal with being cast out of their doors.
First off, I like the idea for this book. The premise sounds like it could be really cool and the author could have done a lot with the characters and all the different worlds. But it was just so bleh. It was way too short I think to shove character-building, world-building (especially with all the worlds she was trying to incorporate), and a decent plot together. It literally was only 180 pages or so for a story that needed at least 300. So the reader really only got a taste of the different worlds our main characters came from, a really rushed and contrived plot, and characters that are just silly and one-dimensional and I just felt no attachment to.
I get that this is a novella, but that's no excuse to me. I've read some great novellas. And great fanatsy novellas as well! I think this is just a case of too many ideas and not enough good writing to back it up. This is the first book in a series, but I won't be picking up any of the others. I just don't care what happens to any of them. I was super disappointed because so many people love this book and I just don't understand why. I found myself wanting to know so much more about each of the worlds that the kids visited but you just get a really basic glossed-over description of it and I was unsatisfied. There was also no motivation really for the things the characters did. The new girl shows up, someone dies, and for some reason a few of the children just decided to jump on board in finding out what happened so the new girl doesn't get blamed? But why? Especially once more people start showing up dead. Like why didn't they just get out while they could? They didn't owe anything to Nancy or the school itself really. Also Miss West tells all the children to lie to the public about what happens and they just... do it? Kids were killed on their school grounds and not a single child feels weird about lying to their families or the public? I don't buy it.
Basically I was not a fan of this one and won't be picking up any more in the series. Let me know what you guys thought in the comments. Do you have an unpopular opinion about a book everyone else seems to like? Let me know, because I am still shocked by this one. I'll see you in my next post!