Wednesday, 27 September 2017
eBook Review - Every Heart A Doorway
Ever wondered what happened to kids who step through a magic door into another world? Step into the wardrobe, crawl under the bed, step into a chest, fall down the rabbit hole. Well, that's not what this novella/series is about. It's the not what happened to them in the world they discovered - it's what would happened when they come back...
The Miss Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children accept children that slip into other worlds and help them find themselves once they come back. For every child attending this school all want to return to the world they discovered.
Nancy is a new student, sent her by her parents who believe the school will help her over her "trauma", not believe that she travelled to a world very similar to the Underworld. But her arrival has a knock on effect when something terrible happened... And it's going to happen again if Nancy and her classmates can't stop it.
This is a weird novella to describe. The best way I can think of is it's a bit of a mash-up between Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and X-Men, with the feeling/tone of The Night Circus about it.
It's a little gem of a book. It's not perfect (more on that later), but for the most part, it works. It tackles an idea of "what happened when the kids who discovered a wonderful world return?" and flip it on its head. And the world of this idea is intriguing - I know at the time of writing this, this is meant to be a trilogy but I want it to be a series as there are ideas/places/characters that call to me and I want to know more and I would happily read full-blown novels about them. I would happily read them and go "MORE!".
One of the aspects of this story I love is the diversity! The diversity in this book is on point. Nancy, our main character, identifies herself as asexual. Another main character, Kade (who I love and I will pay good money to read him!) is transgender. We have characters in here that hint that they are part of the LGBT community and the BAME community without saying outright. I love that this felt like it had a wide range of characters.
I do have problems. But these can be summed up in one fault. This is a novella of 176 pages. This length is too short for this story and the ideas mentioned and touched upon. The last quarter felt rushed and lacked depth. The murder mystery element was rushed and felt anti-climatic when who/what/why was revealed (I guessed these quite quickly), character development wasn't fleshed-out as I hoped and there was several things that happened in final chapter and epilogue that made me go "Oh, that's convenient.".
If this story had a hundred pages extra, it would have worked in my opinion. We would have built the tension to the mystery, spent time with characters and saw their development (one character came in quite late in the story and the world he went to intrigues me but due to how late he appeared, we know incredibly little), we could have explored the ideas, worlds and places (there's a second school briefly mentioned that similar to this school and I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT!). But it felt as if the author had a word count or page limit and she was going to stick to it, no matter what.
I am going to read the other stories in this series (at the moment, we have Down Among the Sticks and Bones [a prequel following two characters we meet in Every Heart a Doorway] and Beneath the Sugar Sky [a sequel, I think. Don't hold me to that]). Let me make that clear - if I can get my hands on them, I will read them.
Every Heart a Doorway has so much potential, and while it doesn't hit all of them, it looks like it's going to be a start of a wonderful series.