Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire | Review


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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Trigger Warnings: Transphobia, murder, displacement

Release Date: April 5th, 2016

Pages: 173

Publisher: Tor.com 

Goodreads blurb:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

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.


I’m not sure how I can across Every Heart A Doorway. I think it was because I saw people giving out five star ratings to the third book in the series and got incredibly curious. As usual. It wasn’t that Every Heart A Doorway was bad either. It just wasn’t that great. It really did fall flat, which is fine but a tad frustrating.

There are definitely highs and lows in the book, and there are definitely some great characters. However, I think my main issue with the book was Nancy. Who happens to be the main character, so, not really helpful.

The book starts with an explanation of the school. A school for kids who have been places and seen things no one else has. It a school for kids who have stumbled through doors that can never be found again. Nancy happened to have fallen through one of these doors and was seduced by the Lord of Death. She is able to stand completely still and slow her heart rate down to a minute due to this world. However, like all the other kids, Nancy was sent home and told she would return again. Which very rarely happens. The school is full of kids with similar experiences, but most of the worlds that children fall into are happy. A certain few have gone to more aggressive worlds and wanted to return. A mystery element is added to the book to push it along but it really didn’t help the story too much.



Well, to start off there is a trans-man in the book and Nancy is an asexual. Which is always a great start in my opinion. Obviously, these things don’t further the story too much but they’re just great inclusions to have in the text and to show how seamlessly they can be slotted into a narrative without drama being caused. There is some transphobia in the school with comments made that could make some people uncomfortable.


I really enjoyed the mystery element. I think I’ve made it clear in my reviews that I don’t read blurbs. I don’t know why. But, whenever I do read a blurb once I’ve finished a book I always find it spoiled something that I enjoyed discovering myself. It’s a strange mix. So, I didn’t know that Every Heart A Doorway would contain a mystery at all. I was definitely excited to discover it. However, at times it only felt like it was in place to push forward the plot. Also, the killer was incredibly obvious from the beginning. Which meant the mystery was a tad disappointing. Doesn’t take away from the fact I enjoyed it though.


That being said this book is fast. It is less than 200 pages long and the writing style really does draw you in and keep you on the edge of your seat. It all flows excellently together and the author does manage to include mainly things that other authors struggle to do in longer ones – create a concise mystery and a motive in a short time period being one of them. I was able to finish this book in under two hours too which I definitely appreciated.



As I mentioned before I didn’t like Nancy. She lacked personality and depth throughout the whole book. Honestly. I felt like I was reading about a cardboard box. Not a single hint of personality is put in the text which was a tad frustrating due to the fact the writing felt very monotone in parts. It was also very hard to identify when the POV changed – which it did twice – due to nothing being made clear and the fact that Nancy herself did not have a clear tone in her voice. I really don’t have much to say about Nancy herself because we really didn’t learn a lot. We found out more about the side characters and their goals rather than what the main character herself wanted or how she behaved. There is no information at all and it really was annoying.


It’s not that the concept was confusing; it was just really poorly explained in some parts. I could obviously work out the general gist of what was happening but even writing this review a few days after I read the book, I’m still confused about what went down. The ending itself was really confusing and felt slightly reminiscent of Harry Potter was a bit weird to me.

I really just struggled with falling into this book and loving it. It was pretty mediocre in terms of concepts as well. I’m pretty sure I read something similar when I was younger.


This was the big one. There really was no wow factor. Nothing that would make me stand in the rafters of the Empire State Building shouting praise. Nothing that would make me give this book as a gift to my friends. Just nothing that really made this book highly original and enjoyable to me.

Overall, it really just fit the Goodreads rating of three stars that means ‘I liked it’. I didn’t fall in love with it and I really didn’t hate it. I was curious and I am curious enough to read the second book but Every Heart A Doorway itself was definitely not falling under the hype for me.

Happy reading everyone!

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