Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Tor.com (Macmillan imprint)
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 things. No matter the cost.
Every Heart a Doorway is an intriguing, impossible, improbable, fantastical tale. Like the aftermath of a child in a fairy tale tumbling down a rabbit hole to Wonderland. Because magical trips to fantasy lands must come to an end, even if the child wants to stay there. Dreams never last forever, and the real world is always there, waiting for the child to return.
The setting, the premise, the characters. I found all of it to be wondrously and eerily fantastic. The house itself a a home for those searching for one they may never find again. The vast variety of fantasy worlds unique and strange, full of their own rules and customs and ingrained biases. The characters, Nancy and Kade and Sumi, Jack and Jill, Eleanor. All had found magical places where they were able to be, where they could do what they'd always wanted, and then were sent back to the real world. They all still crave that sense of home, that place that exists outside the rules of what it is to be a non-magical human being who must follow human society's twisted rules.
This story is enchanting and eerie, dark and magical. Full of people who crave returning to a place where they feel like they belong and being unable to do so, their frustration intertwined with their wanting. It's surprising and heartfelt and cruel at times, wanting to keep childhood magic with you as you grow up. I'm rather intrigued to see what tale the next stories will tell.
(I borrowed an e-book copy of this from the library.)