“Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire (Tor, 2016)

Seanan McGuire has a number of books under her belt, with both the October Daye and Incryptid series. Then there are the many books she’s written under Mira Grant. So with the publication of her new novel,with a new publisher – Tor, readers might be expecting something similar to what they’ve read before. Every Heart a Doorway is completely different to anything she has written before, and it may be (at least in my opinion) the best piece of fiction she’s written so far.

There is a special place for special children. These kids and teens have traveled to magical worlds, places of fable, locations that are disbelieved by our world. Then for one reason or another, are kicked out of their desired realm and brought back to ours. Now they feel incredibly lost and helpless and don’t know what to do. Their parents in many cases thought them lost and/or dead, and now that they’re back they appear to be wrong in some way.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is this special place that will help these children. It will take them in and foster them. Eleanor West herself went through this experience, and like the many children, hopes to one day return to her magical world. For now, with the help of teachers and classes and therapy, they learn to accept the way the world is, but at the same time are encouraged to accept the way they are, yearning for a lost world.

Except now something is killing the children. Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is no longer the safe, comfortable, welcoming refuge it has always been.

In some ways Every Heart a Doorway has a certain Neil Gaiman feel to it, but at the same time it is only the sort of book Seanan McGuire could have ever written. It is magical and lyrical and moving. While it is a short read, readers will want to race along to the end to find out what happens, but at the same time savor every word and page and make it last an eternity.

Originally written on March 24, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

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