I picked up Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire after seeing someone mention on Twitter that it was free that day. I recognized the author’s name from frequently seeing people I follow retweet her and the blurb intrigued me. I didn’t actually plan to write a longer review, just to feed my voracious need for distraction, but once I started it, I realized I loved it too much to pass it off with a quick three line review. Plus those who know I am a star hoarder will comprehend the significance here.
I started it in a doctor’s waiting room. The lyrical, mesmerizing voice quickly carried me away, so I was able to ignore the discomfort of the hard chair and just float into the world of words. The impact reminded me of being read to when half asleep or sick, when you are too out of it to do anything but let the story wash over you like waves and relax until you float away on them. Despite the fact that I was reading words on the tablet screen myself, I did hear the story’s voice in my head.
The opening was a bit slower and had more narrator feel than I’m used to expecting these days, but it worked perfectly. And if you’re not a fan of a slower, more literary start, don’t worry–the pace does pick up quickly. Also the intriguing world provided plenty of hook.
Since I’d arrived early and my doctor is always running at least fifteen minutes late, I was well into the book by the time she called me back and extremely annoyed I had to stop reading. This is not a story I wanted to have to put down.
I connected emotionally with the characters immediately. That sense that you are not who your family thinks you should be resonated with me. It looks like this book isn’t actually intended as YA, but I’d happily hand it to the misfit-feeling youth in my writing group and I wish someone had handed something like it to teen-me. Maybe I’d have felt less crazy if I realized other people felt like that.
I realize some parents may not appreciate its openness about some topics, but to me that felt appropriate to the characters and healthier. While it wasn’t the norm when I was a kid (or maybe I was just too much of an outcast to know it was), I think these things are more normal for teens today and should be.
When I got to the end of this book, I only had one huge issue–it ended. The conclusion was fully satisfying for me, but I hated to put it down. I loved the world and the characters and I wasn’t ready for my stay there to end. You can bet I will be watching for a chance to get more of this series and from this author.
So there’s no way I can give this book less than a 5 star review. It’s been almost two weeks since I read it (I’ve not been up to writing the review), but even in that time it has continued to occupy my mind despite me reading a book or more a day. I loved the voice, loved the ideas behind the world, and felt a strong connection with the characters.
ps–Sorry, much delay (months maybe?) before posting this review. My website needed some issues resolved first and I was less than well.