Since this series is composed of novellas I thought I’d do something different and make one post for three mini-reviews.
“Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.”
― Seanan McGuire,
The series was darker than I imagined since all I’d read about it was Home for children who went to magical worlds and then had to came back, but all of them want to return. Turns out there are murders and stuff.
The three books are completely different from each other, I’ll get into more detail for each one but the thing is that they explore different characters and experiences. They can be classified in: The going home, the coming back, and the return.
Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
This is the story of what happened first…
Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.
Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.
They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.
They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.
This is a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, and we are taken on a ride of Jack and Jill’s life, how they came to be at Eleanor’s home. Obviously this part is about:
The going home
Because the children don’t really belong to our world but to those who claimed them
Hope only got you hurt. Hope was her least favourite thing, of all the things.
The first part isn’t really about J&J, it’s about their parents, how these two people who didn’t know a thing about kids and didn’t care for them at all decided to have the twins. As bad ideas go this was just one after the other. The parents are the kind of people who care only for themselves, which isn’t bad on itself but then they had kids. This whole part is important in the sense that we get a clear feel of how the twins’ home life would be like and we understand better why they are how they are, but it was so boring to me.
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.
When we finally get to the kids they are already complex characters with their own issues, thanks to the parents, and that gives them more depth than we got on the first book. I loved how the two girls developed along the story according to their personalities and opportunities in life. I found really interesting how a scary world like The Moors could be the perfect fit for both of them.
This world was so dark and dangerous and magic and rational at the same time. It was amazing.
The Moors exist in eternal twilight, in the pause between the lightning strike and the resurrection. They are a place of endless scientific experimentation, of monstrous beauty, and of terrible consequences.
Another thing that I loved? Jack had a girlfriend! It was so seamlessly woven into the story and it made me so happy. At the same time I feel like this is something she wouldn’t forgive Jill for so easily. I get that she had to help her sister but in the previous book we see no resentment or guilt.
It can be easy, in the end, to forget that children are people, and that people will do what people will do, the consequences be damned.
If I could change something, though, it’d be de ending. Don’t get me wrong, the trek upstairs and the surprise little brother were delightful but after reading Every Heart a Doorway I was left wanting an epilogue of when they come back. They left in the worst terms possible and now they just go back with a dead Jill? That’d be interesting to read after we saw all the intricacies of their relationship, both with the world and people there and with each other.
“There are moments that change everything, mired in the mass of more ordinary time like insects caught in amber. Without them, life would be a tame, predictable thing. But with them, ah. With them, life does as it will, like lightning, like the wind that blows across the castle battlements, and none may stop it, and none may tell it “no”.”
― Seanan McGuire,