Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire is the tale of Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children—that is, children who went through a magical door to another world, and then ended up coming back. The children no longer belong to the world they were born into, their parents think they’re crazy, and so they come to Eleanore’s school. Except someone has started murdering them.
1—Every Story Has to Start Somewhere
And this story starts with Nancy arriving at Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children. Nancy went to an underworld, The Halls of the Dead, where she learned to be slow and still. She’s desperately trying to hold onto her stillness in this world so fast and bright. Every child at Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children is trying to hold onto the survival skills they learned in the world they went to, hoping that they’ll find their door again and get to go home. Though Nancy’s roommate Sumi says, hope is a bad word.
2—Sweet Like Pomegranates
Every Heart A Doorway it’s quietly intense. I don’t know how else to describe the book. Though I wouldn’t call it poetic, there is a sense that every word is carefully chosen. Though short, I don’t in any way feel the story is lacking. The story and characters all feel fully fleshed out. The sense of threat in the air is palpable once the deaths start.
There’s Nancy of course, who is also one of the few ace (asexual) protagonists I’ve ever found. And Sumi, who went to a Nonsense world and knows she will soon be too old to return. There’s Jack and Jill, the identical twin sisters who are anything but identical—Jack was the assistant to a mad scientist and wears a bowtie, whereas Jill was a vampire’s companion and dresses in flowy white dresses and carries a parasol. There’s Kade, who maintains the school’s wardrobe in his room and went to a fairy world and slew a Goblin King. And Christopher, who went to a world of dancing skeletons and has a bone flute only the dead can hear. And Eleanore herself, who went to a high Nonsense world and back so many times that time has a loose grip on her and she’s much older than she seems.
I am definitely picking up the other books in the Wayward Children’s series.