I have always been impressed by Seanan McGuire’s world building. I remember very well how fascinating the world of the October Daye series was when II have always been impressed by Seanan McGuire’s world building. I remember very well how fascinating the world of the October Daye series was when I first read it and how it became just more and more complex and interesting with each new novel.
Sadly, the above means that, for me, Every Heart a Doorway fell short, probably because I have read the author’s other, and imho better works. Every Heart a Doorway feels like a poor man’s October Daye, with often self-centered teenagers rather than adults and less complexity in both characters and world-building. The doors that lead to other worlds, the diverse cast of characters are very reminiscent of October Daye and even the murder mystery plotline is mostly the same. Just more flat.
I enjoyed the ideas of the doorways and how everybody just wants to find that place, where you belong. And yet, Every Heart a Doorway is simply too short to explore neither the characters nor the world in detail. A ton of contemporary social issues are touched upon, but not explored further. A ton of fantasy adventure stories are alluded to, but again, never actually told. Neither are of much consequence to the plot, except to show why these teenagers don’t feel like they belong and why they behave as they do. The plot is very, very simple, because the book is too short for any suspense to build and any mystery to actually be investigated.
As for the characters, I found them mostly uninteresting and some too exaggerated. Nancy seems like a perfectly nice girl, but since she is somebody who prefers to not move (except dancing for some reason), she makes for a rather boring protagonist. The mad scientist girl and the boy who finds skeletons beautiful were too creepy for me and the control freak vampire lord sounds like a real charming gentlemen (Eleanor has good intentions, but her pedagogy is quite lacking). In general, I found the characters very whiny and many of them ungrateful towards their parents. Sure, they are teenagers, so such behavior can be excused, but I would have enjoyed some character development. Most people on earth don’t have perfect lives, but you just try to make the best of it.
In the end, Every Heart a Doorway is so short, it is basically a novella and as far as novellas go, it is a good one. Hence, in its imaginativeness and weirdness, it is also a good introduction to the work of Seanan McGuire. If you enjoy this one, you are likely to enjoy her more mature and complex works as well. For me, the world, the characters and the murder mystery plot never came together as a whole, as one story and Every Heart a Doorway pales in comparison to the October Daye series....more
Awesome cover lured me in. Everything else fell flat for me, though. There are some nice ideas, but the writing is unpolished and the plot thin. ThereAwesome cover lured me in. Everything else fell flat for me, though. There are some nice ideas, but the writing is unpolished and the plot thin. There are pirates and chases, but I never felt the suspense, because too much time is spent on the "pirates" arguing around as immature ex-lovers (they talk like bitchy teenagers) and unresolved emotional issues between them. A novella is maybe not the best format for a story that focuses on world-building and character relationships, but certainly it is very difficult to do both - adventure tale and relationship drama - in such a short text. In the present work, you get a little bit of both and therefore, neither worked for me. There was not enough time to create character depth nor to tell a thrilling story of travelling the ocean. 2 stars for nice ideas and because compelling short stories are in fact very difficult to write....more
All that glitters is not gold. The Night Circus has a beautiful cover and promising summary, but then only delivers boring instalove and almost no plotAll that glitters is not gold. The Night Circus has a beautiful cover and promising summary, but then only delivers boring instalove and almost no plot. A wonderful setting is not explored enough. The circus is described A LOT, unfortunately not very eloquently, but most of all, it is never much integrated into the plot. Nothing happens in the circus besides tents being designed. And the "challenge" is really just the background to a superficial teenie love story. They never challenge each other in any way, despite who is a better designer of circus tents. The characters were quite one-dimensional, at best mildly amusing (the twins), mostly though they were uninteresting (Celia, Marco) or downright unlikable (the magicians). I felt sorry for Isabelle, who functions only as a plot device, but actually got a more complex character than Celia and Marco combined....more