Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Children end up going through doors, rabbit holes and anything they can go through to end up in magical worlds. When they come back to the real world most of them try to figure out how they can get back to their fantasy worlds they loved so much. They are then taken to Miss West’s school for Wayward Children where they are supposed to be helped. This is where Nancy, our main protagonist ends up. When tragedy starts to take over, Nancy has to figure out what is going on.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
This story is the prequel to Every Heart a Doorway. It is the story of the characters Jack and Jill from the first book. They are twins of a couple that were very orderly but decided to have children for attention. They ended up raising them to their standards, one being the perfect little girl and one having to play the role of a little boy. At twelve years old the two of them walked down the staircase into a world that involved a lot of death and many choices that changed how they grew up. When they turned 17 they finally made their way back home.
Okay, don’t kill me, but I am not the biggest fan of these books. Every Heart a Doorway was definitely the better half but it wasn’t my favorite read of this year.
What threw me off a little bit was that Down Among the Sticks and Bones was a prequel not a sequel. I don’t have anything against prequels, but to be honest I’m not a fan of them. I haven’t read enough books to make a good argument here but based off of movies I’ve watched it never works. They always end up being boring and I lose interest. That is what happened with this one.
The reason I was so hooked in the first book was mainly because of the writing. McGuire knows how to use her words. The descriptive words and some of the dialogue was very witty which I enjoy. I found a few quotes from Every Heart a Doorway that just rang so true and you can bet that I wrote them down to treasure. The prequel had the same sort of writing but somehow it wasn’t a redeemable factor for me.
The characters in Down Among the Sticks and Bones were very bland. There was no character building and they just didn’t have enough personality to allow me to connect with them. I’m not a twin so I couldn’t tell you if the relationship between Jack and Jill was spot on. Not that there was much of a relationship between the two in this novel. It was hard for me to distinguish which one McGuire was talking about at any given point in the book. I had to make sure I was paying attention when they mentioned names.
Jack was one of my favorite characters in Every Heart a Doorway so it took me by surprise that she annoyed me in Down Among the Sticks and Bones. In Every Heart a Doorway she was the most relatable character because she never messed around. She was very witty and real. She was very dull and boring in Down Among the Sticks and Bones.
Another point to make about Jack was that in the prequel she was considered a lesbian. Which doesn’t bother me at all, it actually makes me happy to see that. The issue was that McGuire kind of threw you into the relationship she had with Alexis and then pulled you out because of an unfortunate event a few pages later. I guess she didn’t need to dwell on the relationship because that is not the point of the story. I think it’s just my preference to have a little more romance in a novel. I just think romance can either make or break a book and in this case it may have helped a little more.
In Every Heart a Doorway our main protagonist, Nancy, was said to be Asexual. McGuire mentioned it quite a bit and the characters even discussed it throughout the novel, and I really enjoyed it. It’s something that isn’t talked about a lot and I’m glad that it was included. I wasn’t expecting it so it was a nice surprise.
There was also a transgender character in Every Heart a Doorway named Kade. He was also one of my favorites because he was smart and helped when he could.
The world was discussed in the books but not in as much detail as I would have liked. They never explained much about what all the different types of worlds meant such as (high logic, high nonsense, the moors etc …) I was definitely confused in the beginning as to what everything meant and at the end I still didn’t quite understand the different worlds. The prequel also didn’t help me because it was all down in the moors. The world had potential to be great and take a greater part in the story but it just didn’t.
I will end up reading the third book, Beneath the Sugar Sky. It does take us back to the Every Heart a Doorway, but the children are being introduced to the real world again. I hope that it has the same characters because I do want to know more about them since I haven’t learned much in the first two books. However, since I checked these two books from the library I would probably only purchase Every Heart a Doorway. I know it would look good to have both of them on my shelves, Down Among the Sticks and Bones would just collect dust. In the end I was just not impressed.
Let me know what you thought of these books. I’d like to read your opinions. Remember, be respectful and happy reading.