Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well.
And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home.
There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published: April 5th 2016 by tor.com
Four and a half stars: An imaginative read with the most interesting characters.
Nancy isn't sure what to expect at Eleanor's West's Home for Wayward Children, but hopes it will be better than living with her parents who don't understand her anymore. It all started for Nancy when she found a mysterious door leading to another world in her basement. She spent months and months in this land of shadows, and she wants nothing more than to return, but no matter how hard she searches, Nancy can't find the door again. Once she is settled in her new home, Nancy learns that all the other occupants have visited other worlds and returned. Every single one of them wants nothing more than to find their own door. Will Nancy every find her door again?
What I Liked:
- What a brilliant little novella Every Heart a Doorway is. I loved the premise, the interesting and eclectic characters, the intriguing story, the mystery and the lovely writing. I only wished that it was longer because I didn't want it to end.
- What made this novella shine for me was the strange and captivating characters. All the characters have visited another fairy world when they accidentally stumbled across a door in this world. Somehow or another, all of the children, after a time, found themselves rudely dumped back home, leaving them with a yearning like no other to return back to their fairy world. Each character had visited such interesting places, that left them strangely changed. I wanted to know more about each and everyone of them and the world's they had visited. Loved this strange cast of characters.
- The world building was terrific. I loved the descriptions of all the strange worlds the kids visited when they chanced upon a door. One girl found a tiny doorway and found herself in a world of spiderwebs and moths, while another boy visited a world where skeletons were revered. Some worlds were of logic while others of nonsense. I was captivated by all the strange worlds described.
- The writing is lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed the rich descriptions, the creativity and the way the story was woven together. I definitely need to read more by Ms. McGuire.
- There is a bit of mystery as something dark begins to happen at the school. I was a bit surprised by the way it all played out.
- I was pleased that the story was complete and that it ended without a bunch of loose ends or a cliffhanger. It can be read as a stand alone, but I found that I wanted more. Luckily after a bit of research, I discovered this is just the first in a series. The next book follows Jack and Jill, and I am sure it will be most interesting.
And The Not So Much:
- I wished that this was longer. I was just getting entrenched in the story and the characters when it ended. I felt like it stopped while there was far more story to tell. I would have loved to get to know all the characters better and learn more about their worlds. Luckily, this is the first in a series, and I can only hope that each book will follow more of these unique characters.
- Eleanor was such a mystery, and I found myself yearning to know her better. She didn't play a large role in the story, and I would love for there to be more depth and detail on her.
- The story is a bit dark and there are bits of rather gruesome violence, so I recommend this for older, mature readers.
- This was a minor niggling point, but the majority of the story is told via third person view point, through Nancy's eyes, but there were several times when the view point would change without warning to another character. I found it to be a bit jarring, and there were a couple of times when I had to go back and reread paragraphs to catch the shift.
Every Heart a Doorway is an outstanding read. It has an interesting and eclectic cast of characters, mystery, fairy worlds, and wonderful world building. I couldn't get enough of this one, and I was sad when it ended far too soon. Luckily, there are more books in the works, and I only hope that the next book will be longer. Don't miss this one.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.