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review 2018-08-05 17:30
Some Journey's Takes Us Further... And Weirder.
Beneath the Sugar Sky - Seanan McGuire

Where Every Heart A Doorway shows us a world where doors are open to the hearts of children that leads to home instead of the real world we live in, Beneath the Sugar Sky answers the questions why these doors exist and how time plays its role in it. The third book of the Wayward Children series continues from Every Heart A Doorway when a girl, out of nowhere drops off from the sky and lands on a lake near Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. It was this girl, that takes ChristopherKade and two other new characters (Cora and Nadya) on an adventure through a world of Confection. From there, its starts to get a little weird.

 

Although I would love to reveal more but if no one has read the first book, I won't write much of it here. Still, this is a hard book to rate. I am torn between 4 star rating or a 3.5 star. You see, this doesn't feel much for me in ways to really say this is better or as good as Down Among the Sticks and Bones, its more of an adventure quest to me. Although it does answer more questions about doorways open for certain children and some times, its possible that its open for all, its enough to fulfill fans of this series that might have some questions that are finally answered here. Here, we get to know more about Christopher and his abilities, a new main character Cora taking the lead here and an old familiar face returns that will excite fans. Overall, I like it still so likely this is one series I will be staying but its a long wait for me to read the next chapter. Beneath the Sugar Sky can be fun to read, and funny at times too. This is a fantasy novella that I feel deserves some attention.

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review 2018-07-28 14:15
Some Doorways Leads To Home...
Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire
The trouble with denying children the freedom to be themselves - with forcing them into an idea of what they should be, not allowing them to choose their own paths - is that all too often, the one drawing the design knows nothing of the desires of their model. Children are not formless clay, to be shaped according to the sculptor's whim, nor are they blank but identical dolls, waiting to be slipped into the mode that suits them best. Give ten children a toy box, and watch them select ten different toys, regardless of gender or religion or parental expectations. Children have preferences. The danger comes when they, as with any human, are denied those preferences for too long.

 

I will always remember this passage, of how true its meaning and what makes Down Among the Sticks and Bones, the second book of the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire stands out most. This is actually the back story of Jack and Jill, twin sisters that appeared in Every Heart A Doorway, one of the characters that answers the questions of open doorways to another world. While their world is a familiar place we grew up of from nightmarish stories from Bram Stoker's novel, Jack and Jill feels real in reality of the world we live in.

 

Jacqueline andJillian Wolcott were born with a plan by their parents to be their perfect trophies. As they started to grow, they were expected to be at their best by their parents desires, not theirs. But when both the twins discover a doorway in a trunk that lead them to the Moors, their lives forever changed as what was once they thought home was a house, it is a place where they feel belong.

 

I love this book a lot. Seanan McGuire had explored the relationship of parent and child through Jack and Jill, the idea of what parents want for their kids and through here, it feels so real that truth is spoken. While this serves as a stand-alone and a back story to one of the characters that is important in the Wayward Children series, I love the simplicity and fantasy depicts here. Its dark in its way and it answers to one of the questions I have from the first book on how these doorways appears in front of the children. Then of course, the relationship of the characters and its purpose speaks in good volumes. There is anticipation, smoothness and intriguing in the book, that I regret not making time to finish it earlier. If any thing, this book deserves a 4.5 out of 5 stars and will recommend fantasy lovers or students/children to read.

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review 2018-07-21 14:51
There Is A Place Where Wayward Children Exist...
Every Heart a Doorway - Seanan McGuire

What if the world we live in is our reality and there is another world beside ours exist? A world where belongs to you that you will call home. A fantasy world filled with sugar candies or a world where you are the prince in the Goblin Market. Where worlds exist isn't ours that your parents do not believe you even you had being there for a long time, thought missing or kidnap and return to the living, labelled crazy that your parents sent you to a boarding school called Eleanor's West Home for Wayward Children that helps these troubled children, only that this is a place that helps them because the the principal believes there are such worlds exist because... she has cross over before. This is the premise of Every Hear A Doorway, the first book of the Wayward Children series written by Seanan McGuire, a science fiction fantasy novella that is quite unique and yet similar to some other stories you might have heard before. While there is originality to its own, it is enjoyable and yet predictable.

 

It begins with a girl named Nancy Whitman, an ordinary teenager looking girl except for her white hair arrived at the manor, where she meets the residence of the Wayward Children. There, she discovers other children with similar experiences like her on different scale or level, some lived in worlds that are light and others lived in worlds that are dark and bleak. As she starts to discover and learn about the boarding school, one by one, children turns up dead in gruesome manner. Are any of the deaths, related to her or to anyone that lives in the world of the dark?

 

Reading Every Heart A Doorway to me is enjoyable because for its straight-to-a-point story where it doesn't waste much time as it progresses pretty much forward without any bullsh*t. And then, the world building is an interesting one where this reality explores portals opens to each children of their heart desires is intriguing and I believe, not done before. The building suspense of its mystery of the murders on the other hand at the beginning is plotted out pretty well, it was towards the end where its predictable when discovered who the real murderer was in the same old fashion reasoning why 'I done it because' excuse just fail to my expectation. Overall, I like it and I feel 3.5 out of 5 stars deserves its rating. I will be reading the next chapter, as although its not a sequel but rather a back-story of one of the characters.

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review 2017-01-12 01:59
Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) - DNF @ 80%
Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children) - Seanan McGuire

Gather 'round, boys and girls, while I tell you a lovely and empowering tale of a girl who was enslaved to a vampire, a girl who was forced to become the equivalent of Igor, an ace girl who was forced to stand perfectly still for days/weeks at a time so she wouldn't piss off her undead overlord, a trans boy who got to fight in some sort of war for a place that didn't want him because of his trans cooties, a Latino boy who lived in a real life Dia de las Muertas (because where else would a Latino want to be?), and a girl who...did something...somewhere...? Um, jazz hands? *shrugs*

 

Listen to their fascinating stories that they barely even tell you about while they pine away wishing they were back in their nightmare fuel worlds because apparently this is where their hearts wanted to be more than their own lives. But this isn't Narnia. Have no fear! There will be no actual adventures or grand battles or anything resembling bonding or friendship! Nope. Instead, you'll get a bunch of teens whining about not being able to butcher people anymore. Or not being able to drink pomegranate juice anymore. Because apparently we don't have that on Earth. Or not being able to live amongst the spiders anymore because I guess she doesn't have a cupboard under the stairs. Or... seriously, WTF is wrong with these people?!

 

I started skimming around 45% because the pacing was as slow as Nancy's gait, and I was trying to find anything resembling actual exposition, but it just wasn't here. There was an attempt at a murder mystery -

that the school's principal covers up so the kids wouldn't be sent back to their families - and she makes the kids cover it up for her.

(spoiler show)

So that happens. And if I had known this was going to become an attempt at a horror-inspired murder mystery, I could've told you who would be the first victim, because those racial and gender tropes just refuse to die.

 

Ok, I admit, a couple of these kids do have family lives that sound pretty awful. I can see why they'd want to do a Harry Potter or Tom Riddle and stay at Warped Hogwarts forever. But the others just sound like they're "misunderstood" and oh, isn't that horrible! No one gets them! How can they possibly be expected to go on?!!! 

 

Well, I'm one of the ones who doesn't get them. Maybe it's because I didn't hate my childhood growing up. Maybe it's because the author does next to nothing to actually explain anything. And advocates running away from your problems. Not that there aren't some instances where running is totally valid - to save your life, for instance. But I just didn't get the sense that was the case for most of the kids here. And I really got zero explanation for why they would prefer these nightmare worlds they fell into. There's a sort of explanation that whatever door opens for you is the one that you need based on your heart's desire or something. But WHY? Like,

one girl doesn't want to be the pretty twin her whole life, so she goes to a world where she gets to slaughter dogs and harvest their organs for science - so she can be smart. Um... you know, we have science here too, right? And you don't have to slaughter dogs to study it. IJS.

(spoiler show)

 

At around 80% I got tired of skimming looking for "good" parts (there weren't any) and just skipped all the way to end to see who the murderer was - not like it was particularly hard to guess - and kind of skimmed the end to see how it was wrapped up.

 

This was just... a mess, y'all. Terrible structure, terrible exposition, terrible characters, terrible worldbuilding. 

 

Yay diversity! But boo to everything else. Can't recommend this one.

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review 2016-04-30 00:00
Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children)
Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children) - Seanan McGuire Do you ever have the feeling you don't really belong here?
Ask yourself: "Is this it?".
Do you feel like there's some adventurous side of you which can't come out due to the restrictions of the world we live in?
If so, imagine that one day, instead of opening the door to your good ol' (ever so boring) bedroom, you open that same door, yet there's an entirely different world behind it. Not like the Narnia kind of experience, though, if you're thinking about that now.

"That's because Narnia was a Christian allegory pretending to be a fantasy series, you asshole"

...is what the book has to say about that. So, nope, no tumbling out of a wardrobe into some snowy landscape. Unless that's exactly what you're into, of course. See, all the doors  in this book are actually portals with a deeper connection to the person who's opening one. The world behind it is a reflection of what's hidden deep within your soul. Straight from the heart, if you will.

If you're secretly a bit of a badass, you'll most definitely stumble upon a world in which you will thrive as one, and enjoy the hell out of it while doing so. You'd be perfectly happy there; this new world providing all the mental and physical stimulation you always needed to become this perfectly happy.
For Nancy, the protagonist of Every Heart A Doorway, this world happens to be the Hall of the Dead. Hey, it wouldn't be my kind of thing either, but whatever floats her boat.

Now imagine being happy there, riding a horse with a monkey on your shoulder (I think my door would lead me to a Pippi Longstocking themed world with playing, baking cookies and fighting pirates) or, you know, being a happy corpse bride or something, and another door (or the same one) opens up again. This time back to where you came from: this world. There's the option where you can choose to walk into it and return to your old family and friends (the other worlds' times are entirely different from ours, meaning you would only have been gone for a couple of months or so here, after spending years in the other world). Then there's also the option of not having an option, really, and just plainly being kicked out of the other world into your old one. Want to go back to living the fullest life possible? Too bad, the portal's closed again.

This is where Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children comes in. It's a bit of a mixture between a boarding school and an asylum. With the exception that the people who live there aren't batshit crazy necessarily. They're just really, really homesick.

This first book takes place in the institution entirely and so we get to meet lots of (mostly) teenagers who each already lived for years in one of the fantasy worlds. Some of them have already practically started a family there, yet ended back up into their old child's body over here. Frustrating? Yes.

So while some of them can never return to this:

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(God, I'd be heartbroken!)

Others cry themselves to sleep each night because they can't return to this:

the-walking-dead-lives-on-according-to-amc-bosses-the-walking-dead-785235

This makes this book a bric–a–brac  of genres, really, while still remaining within the YA Fantasy one as well. I've got two words for this: fucking awesome.

The characters are so unique and wonderful, with such a variety of backgrounds. Each and every one of their stories could fill up a book in itself. Which is what makes this even more of a writing accomplishment because the characters, the concept; the entire story, is being told in only 176 pages!

I loved the gothic theme, the rainbow theme, the candy kingdom theme...all of the themes, really! It felt like Roald Dahl, Tim Burton, and Agatha Christie (with a bit of a potty mouth), all sat together and wrote this book. There are crazy worlds, quirky characters and a mystery that will make you beg for more

Which makes me get to the only thing I didn't like about this book: the ending. Let's just say that the story keeps you guessing about something but it turned out I guessed right the first time straight away? Hence, a little disappointment there, but nothing too major. The book also has a bit of an open ending to it but this isn't called #1 for naught; there will be 2 more books as far as I can tell. Do I want to read them? Bloody hell, yeah! Do you want to read them? Yes, yes you do. But just start with this one. Recommended to everyone who still believes in a little bit of magic.

4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 here on GR.

An ARC of this book was provided by Tor via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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