Last Week on Inked Brownies

Every Heart a Doorway (Every Heart a Doorway #1) by Seanan McGuire

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Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published April 5th, 2016 by Tor.com

Do you ever have the feeling you don’t really belong here? Ask yourself: “Is this it?“. Do you feel like there’s some adventurous side of you which can’t come out due to the restrictions of the world we live in?
If so, imagine that one day, instead of opening the door to your good ol’ (ever so boring) bedroom, you open that same door, yet there’s an entirely different world behind it. Not like the Narnia kind of experience, though, if you’re thinking about that now.

That’s because Narnia was a Christian allegory pretending to be a fantasy series, you asshole

…is what the book has to say about that. So, nope, no tumbling out of a wardrobe into some snowy landscape. Unless that’s exactly what you’re into, of course. See, all the doors  in this book are actually portals with a deeper connection to the person who’s opening one. The world behind it is a reflection of what’s hidden deep within your soul. Straight from the heart, if you will.

If you’re secretly a bit of a badass, you’ll most definitely stumble upon a world in which you will thrive as one, and enjoy the hell out of it while doing so. You’d be perfectly happy there; this new world providing all the mental and physical stimulation you always needed to become this perfectly happy.
For Nancy, the protagonist of Every Heart A Doorway, this world happens to be the Hall of the Dead. Hey, it wouldn’t be my kind of thing either, but whatever floats her boat.

Now imagine being happy there, riding a horse with a monkey on your shoulder (I think my door would lead me to a Pippi Longstocking themed world with playing, baking cookies and fighting pirates) or, you know, being a happy corpse bride or something, and another door (or the same one) opens up again. This time back to where you came from: this world. There’s the option where you can choose to walk into it and return to your old family and friends (the other worlds’ times are entirely different from ours, meaning you would only have been gone for a couple of months or so here, after spending years in the other world). Then there’s also the option of not having an option, really, and just plainly being kicked out of the other world into your old one. Want to go back to living the fullest life possible? Too bad, the portal’s closed again.

This is where Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children comes in. It’s a bit of a mixture between a boarding school and an asylum. With the exception that the people who live there aren’t batshit crazy necessarily. They’re just really, really homesick.

This first book takes place in the institution entirely and so we get to meet lots of (mostly) teenagers who each already lived for years in one of the fantasy worlds. Some of them have already practically started a family there, yet ended back up into their old child’s body over here. Frustrating? Yes.

So while some of them can never return to this:

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(God, I’d be heartbroken!)

Others cry themselves to sleep each night because they can’t return to this:

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This makes this book a bric–a–brac  of genres, really, while still remaining within the YA Fantasy one as well. I’ve got two words for this: fucking awesome.

The characters are so unique and wonderful, with such a variety of backgrounds. Each and every one of their stories could fill up a book in itself. Which is what makes this even more of a writing accomplishment because the characters, the concept; the entire story, is being told in only 176 pages!

I loved the gothic theme, the rainbow theme, the candy kingdom theme…all of the themes, really! It felt like Roald Dahl, Tim Burton, and Agatha Christie (with a bit of a potty mouth), all sat together and wrote this book. There are crazy worlds, quirky characters and a mystery that will make you beg for more.

Which makes me get to the only thing I didn’t like about this book: the ending. Let’s just say that the story keeps you guessing about something but it turned out I guessed right the first time straight away? Hence, a little disappointment there, but nothing too major. The book also has a bit of an open ending to it but this isn’t called #1 for naught; there will be 2 more books as far as I can tell. Do I want to read them? Bloody hell, yeah! Do you want to read them? Yes, yes you do. But just start with this one. Recommended to everyone who still believes in a little bit of magic.

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An ARC of this book was provided by Tor via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Links to the book:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
The Book Depository
Bol.com (Dutch Retailer)
Goodreads

About Anne (231 Articles)
Dutch book reviewer who reviews in English. Grammar nazis beware!! I like brownies. And chamomile tea.

13 Comments on Every Heart a Doorway (Every Heart a Doorway #1) by Seanan McGuire

  1. katelynnhillier // 02/05/2016 at 19:03 // Reply

    I’m always scared that if I stumble across a portal, it’ll be the day I’ve decided to forgo pants.
    Wonderful review for a great book that I keep hearing wonderful things about! I’d definitely be more along the creepy gothic side of the portals so I know I’m going to love this book (whenever it comes in the mail!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I wonder if there’s an actual phobia named after that xD. Thanksees! There’s more goth in here than unicorns and rainbows, that’s for sure :). Oooo, sweet!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds quite original and unique. I wonder in what world I would find myself already..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess you can figure out what kind of world fits best when you take a look at what kind of books you enjoy the most 🙂

      Like

  3. Yes, yes I do want to read this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This book! I loved it so very much as well. It had such a fantastic mashup of diversity, Gothic imagery and emotions. My main issue with it was that it was too short. I cannot wait to read the next two. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • fist bumps Yes, it was definitely too short. Mainly because it was so awesome, but also because with some extra pages, the ending would’ve been more satisfying for me. I just want to know more! Thanks, so is yours! 🙂

      Like

  5. bookheathen // 03/05/2016 at 17:44 // Reply

    Often want to escape into a fantasy world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not surprised there! 😉 Which kind of fantasy world would you pick?

      Like

      • bookheathen // 04/05/2016 at 12:45 // Reply

        As you’ll see from my blog today, I’m rather fond of the Harry Potter world. However, if I’m to be serious and truthful, I’d like to find one where love conquers all. That so isn’t (sadly) true in real life. I guess I’m an utter romantic at heart.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Awwe, that’s so nice! Maybe you could combine the 2 and Dumbledore will still be alive in the end…On a serious note, just looking at the number of people filing for a divorce these days, yes, it’s far from real life :(.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Olivia-Savannah // 06/05/2016 at 12:06 // Reply

    You seem to have really loved this book! When I first saw it I was already half in love because that cover is beautiful! I also really like the sound of this book being a mix of a whole lot of things while still staying true to the fantasy genre. Love that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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