destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]'s Reviews > Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
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it was amazing
bookshelves: the-best-of-the-best, diverse-reads, lgbtqiap, so-pretty, fantasy, owned-physical, adult, sci-fi
Read 2 times. Last read June 1, 2018 to June 6, 2018.

#1 Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★
#2 Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★
#3 Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★★★
#4 In An Absent Dream ★★★★★
#5 Come Tumbling Down ★★★★★
#6 Across the Green Grass Fields ★★★★★

I somehow lived a full 25 years of my life without experiencing Seanan McGuire’s writing, and now that I’ve seen how incredible her story-telling is, I can’t imagine ever letting it go. This book sucked me in so wholly in such a short number of pages – it made me laugh, cry, and my heart soared. I was so invested in these characters, so fearful for them and desperately wishing I could protect them, that by the end of the story, I felt stunned. How could Seanan possibly do, in 173 pages, what so many authors fail to do in 600?

Eleanor West spent her days giving them what she had never had, and hoped that someday, it would be enough to pay her passage back to the place where she belonged.

In a world where children stumble upon doorways leading to other worlds, sometimes, those children are sent back – and left without any way of coping with the “real world” that they’re expected to mold seamlessly into. They spend their lives suffering through parents and doctors insisting that everything was a dream or delusion, when all these children want is to find that door again, and to go back where they belong.

She was a woman with something to protect. That made her more dangerous than they could ever have suspected.

That’s where Eleanor West comes in: a woman who gave up her door, to give these children a safe place to continues their searches whilst living as peacefully as their minds will allow. She is fiercely protective and loving of her students, determined to offer them a home away from the worlds they so desperately wanted to return to. I loved her instantly.

“If anyone should be kind, understanding, accepting, loving to their fellow outcasts, it’s you. All of you. You are the guardians of the secrets of the universe, beloved of worlds that most will never dream of, much less see… can’t you see where you owe it to yourselves to be kind? To care for one another?”

Of course, not all of these children are returned unscathed, and that’s where our murder mystery comes in. Students at the school keep turning up dead, corpses brutalized. Nancy is new to the school, but having been a child of the Underworld, death doesn’t scare her, and she finds herself joining in a small team of students determined to track down the murderer by any means necessary. Seanan’s writing is dark and heavy – gruesome, at most – but the suspense isn’t even the best part (though the mystery is, in fact, fantastic).

“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.”

At its core, this story and the characters within it are so inherently feminist and inclusive, and I love Seanan so much for that. Despite it being a fantasy tale, a tremendous amount of the advice given and commentary made was incredibly relevant to our own world and society.

She’d known girls on diet her entire life. Most of them had been looking for smaller waists, clearer complexions, and richer boyfriends, spurred on by a deeply ingrained self-loathing that had been manufactured for them before they were old enough to understand the kind of quicksand they were sinking in.

There’s not only a great deal of talk about toxic masculinity and how our culture accepts terrible crimes from men, simply because they are men, but there’s also commentary on the unfair standards women are scrutinized under. It felt incredibly important to me that one of the characters even points out that there are so few boys at the school, and is answered with an explanation that, as men are typically allowed to do as they please, they don’t suffer the same fine-toothed combing that a woman’s every move and word is passed under. When they go away to the other worlds, their disappearance is viewed as less of a shock, and when they come back changed, their newfound behaviors don’t deem them a problem child in the same ways.

She could have flirted forever. It was just the things that came after flirting that she had no interest in.

Of course, the feminism in the writing isn’t the only delightfully inclusive aspect to it; it’s also a book with wonderfully diverse representation throughout the cast, including both an asexual protagonist and a trans friend/love interest. Their sexual orientations and gender identities aren’t merely hinted at; they are displayed proudly on the page, which isn’t something we see often in fantasy novels, much less little novellas like this one. It was evident from the start that Seanan cares enough about representation to find room for it no matter how small the page count may be, and I appreciated that so much.

This was always the difficult part, back when she’d been at her old school: explaining that “asexual” and “aromantic” were different things.

Not only does she offer such wonderful rep, but she also takes the time to dismantle a few myths, tropes, and assumptions. We have an asexual character, explaining that ace does not equal aro, and that she’s capable of romantic interest and physical affections, regardless of her views on sex itself. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such prominent ace rep, and while I’m not on the ace spectrum myself, I thought that it came across as fantastically positive rep.

“You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”

I could honestly ramble forever about this little story, but the bottom line is that it is an incredible tale of acceptance, healing, friendship, trauma, and finding yourself – be it in this world, or another. I cannot recommend this series highly enough, and I am so eager to continue it and see what else Seanan has in store.
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Reading Progress

December 31, 2016 – Shelved
December 31, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
December 3, 2017 – Started Reading
December 5, 2017 –
page 49
28.32% ""I'm Jack, short for Jacqueline. This is Jill, short for Jillian, because our parents should never have been allowed to name their own children.""
December 5, 2017 –
page 59
34.1% ""We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women."

Holy hell."
December 5, 2017 – Shelved as: the-best-of-the-best
December 5, 2017 – Shelved as: diverse-reads
December 5, 2017 – Shelved as: lgbtqiap
December 5, 2017 – Shelved as: so-pretty
December 5, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy
December 5, 2017 – Finished Reading
June 1, 2018 – Started Reading
June 1, 2018 –
page 0
0.0% "Rereading this one with my love for Pride month! 💕"
June 1, 2018 –
page 52
30.06%
June 1, 2018 –
page 52
30.59%
June 6, 2018 – Finished Reading
July 8, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-physical
October 6, 2018 – Shelved as: adult
October 6, 2018 – Shelved as: sci-fi

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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Heather (The Sassy Book Geek) AHHHHH YOU FINALLY READ IT!!!! :)


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Heather wrote: "AHHHHH YOU FINALLY READ IT!!!! :)"

Yes and I freaking loved it!


message 3: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel Ohhh! I just brought this recently. I think I need to read it soon if its this good.


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Rachel wrote: "Ohhh! I just brought this recently. I think I need to read it soon if its this good."

I hope you do read it soon! It was so wonderful!


Mahnoor ⚯͛ This book is on my June TBR and I'll be treating myself by reading it on my birthday and after hearing your thoughts on it, my excitement and anticipation has doubled. I am sooo looking forward to getting started on this series.


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Mahnoor ⚯͛ wrote: "This book is on my June TBR and I'll be treating myself by reading it on my birthday and after hearing your thoughts on it, my excitement and anticipation has doubled. I am sooo looking forward to ..."

Awww, yay! I hope you love it, and happy early birthday! ♥


Mahnoor ⚯͛ destiny wrote: "Mahnoor ⚯͛ wrote: "This book is on my June TBR and I'll be treating myself by reading it on my birthday and after hearing your thoughts on it, my excitement and anticipation has doubled. I am sooo ..."

Thank you!!!!💛💛


Lisa They are awesome books and a great series, they deserve more attention. Everyone should them :)
Although i'd like to read more about Nancy and her world :)


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Lisa wrote: "They are awesome books and a great series, they deserve more attention. Everyone should them :)
Although i'd like to read more about Nancy and her world :)"


Yes, agreed for sure! :) I can't believe more people haven't read them! I guess a lot of people don't pick up novellas too often, which makes me sad because I love them, haha!


Melanie Thank you so much for this review. I take yours as gospel and have found some beautiful work.

This was one. My head hurt as I had to stop and consider so much after every paragraphs. Single sentences. Words.

Stunning storytelling.


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Melanie wrote: "Thank you so much for this review. I take yours as gospel and have found some beautiful work.

This was one. My head hurt as I had to stop and consider so much after every paragraphs. Single sente..."


Awww, this comment means the world to me - thank you. ♥ I am so, so happy that you enjoyed it so much. It really is a phenomenal piece of work. I am convinced that there are authors, and then there are artists who craft masterpieces, and Seanan is certainly the latter.


Marcela Quiero leer los demás ahora 😥


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Sara wrote: "Beautiful review! This one has been on my TBR forever, but maybe I need to bump it up. I have heard wonderful things about the whole series!"

Thank you! It's so good. I hope you enjoy it!


message 14: by Lacy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lacy I just want you to know you're the reason I picked up The Wayward Children series and started reading Seanan McGuire. I kept seeing you rave about them on Twitter an I finally checked them out at the library but I own my own set now. 🤗📚💕


message 15: by Selena (new)

Selena Absolutely amazing review Destiny!!


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Lacy wrote: "I just want you to know you're the reason I picked up The Wayward Children series and started reading Seanan McGuire. I kept seeing you rave about them on Twitter an I finally checked them out at t..."

Lacy!!! This makes me sooooo happy because it's truly one of my favorite series EVER. I'm so glad you've been enjoying them, too ♥♥ Thank you so much for telling me and totally making my evening!!


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Selena wrote: "Absolutely amazing review Destiny!!"

Thank you so much Selena, you are the best! ♥


message 18: by Lacy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lacy destiny ♡⚔♡ wrote: "Lacy wrote: "I just want you to know you're the reason I picked up The Wayward Children series and started reading Seanan McGuire. I kept seeing you rave about them on Twitter an I finally checked ..."

I can always trust your book recommendations! 💕


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Lacy wrote: "destiny ♡⚔♡ wrote: "Lacy wrote: "I just want you to know you're the reason I picked up The Wayward Children series and started reading Seanan McGuire. I kept seeing you rave about them on Twitter a..."

Awwww thank you 😭😭💕💕


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