Saturday, April 16, 2016

Every Heart a Doorway

I think that many of us have a secret fantasy world.

Some have a 'Fifty Shades of Gray'-type thing going on.  But most of my friends and family have Hogwarts, Narnia, Wonderland...  The list of fantasy worlds may be endless, but there are some who are creating new worlds right now.

The Syfy channel is currently ending the first season run of 'The Magicians', the first book in Lev Grossman's phenomenal trilogy.  It's dark, it's very adult, and it's rather amazing.  In my opinion, the series is like a cross between Harry Potter, Narnia, and Less Than Zero.

However, I like my fantasy worlds to be a bit lighter in tone.  I prefer a bit of humor, a bit of fantastical magic, a bit of humanity.  If I had the choice, I'd be in Hogwarts.  
But what happens when one leaves their chosen fantasy world?  That is addressed in Seanan McGuire's new novel, 'Every Heart a Doorway'.  I waited for it for what seemed like forever, and once I got it home, I finished it in two hours; no lie.  I loved it. even has a chart based on McGuire's types of fantasy worlds; 'Logical', 'Netherworld', 'Nonsense', etc.  

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions---slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe.  Or a suitcase with a stairway. Even down a rabbit hole.

But what happens after the children are sent back to the 'real world'?  The children attending 'Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children' know all too well.  Each of them are seeking a way back into their magical worlds...even Miss West.  

Something dark, however, is threatening the school.  After tragedy occurs, the newest student, Nancy, and her new-found friends must get to the heart of the matter.

I love the characters.  So finely-drawn, so memorable.  Some shine, some are so dark.  But it is Nancy, the girl who went to the Halls of the Dead, who I remember most.  The girl who can stand as still as a statue.  The girl who is given the chance to make sure she wants to stay in the Halls of the Dead forever.  McGuire has given us a character who is meant for another time and place, yet is a fish-out-of-water in our reality.  She's a girl on the brink of womanhood, and more courageous than she realizes.

Author Seanan McGuire

Yes, it's a dark tale, and your heart will break while reading about children who had found their true happiness, but had it wrenched away. Although it's only about 169 pages long, it's a well-written tale about discovery, tragedy, and yearning.  

An excellent fable for our time.

'Every Heart a Doorway', written by Seanan McGuire, and published by Tom Doherty Assoc. (Tor Books), is available at your local library and favorite bookstore.  ISBN 978-0-7653-8550-5

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