Published by Tor.com on April 5th 2016
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.
I’ve heard a lot of talk about the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire but it took me a while before I read the first book. A few weeks ago, to be precise. I had no idea what exactly the premise was as I hadn’t looked at any of the summaries, but it was a nice surprise.
What happens after the portal fantasy ends? That’s where Every Heart a Doorway starts. The boarding school for wayward children, children who got lost in other worlds, is a place of eccentricity. I love how unique every character is, all molded by their world. And while most of them changed a lot compared to who they were before they went through the door, they come out as the person they were meant to be. The worlds they visited only showed who they truly were.
Even though the characters are in their early teens, the story turns quite dark quickly. Not just because Nancy comes from the Underworld but because the worlds follow the children back home. And not in a good way. It was a nice surprise and although what happens isn’t exactly nice or good, the story stays suitable for the ages of the characters. It’s a lovely mix of dark and whimsical. Just how I like it.
The only downside is that there aren’t enough pages. I guess the other books in the series make up for that. There is so much worldbuilding in there and we only catch a glimpse of it. It’s sad to think the author spent so much time creating it while we only see a small portion of it.
I give Every Heart A Doorway four stars. I’ll definitely read the other books too as I want to know more about the world and maybe visit one too. If you liked Coraline by Neil Gaiman, you’ll like the Wayward Children series too.