Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan Maguire

“Every Heart A Doorway” by Seanan Maguire was a light, fun read but really rather disappointing. Even though it won like a billion fantasy awards. It has a really awesome premise. The main character is attending a school for those children (mostly girls) who find themselves drawn into- and then out of- other worlds, and helps them learn to cope with life in our world afterwards. And of course there’s lots of delicious little tidbits about the other worlds which is very interesting. So, with the premise being that tantalizing, your mind is racing and you’re like WOW, there’s so much amazing stuff that you could do with this, you want to know more, you want to read all about the other cool worlds and you’re really impressed by the vision and how the worlds are categorized. There’s High Nonsense, High Logic, High Magic, etc, like every possible fairyworld is possible to get to. And I mean, from a mental health standpoint, what DOES happen if you go to Narnia and you can’t ever go back? But the story ends up being just a basic murder mystery, so you’re like.. Eh…

The main character doesn’t even go through much of a journey on her way to the end of the book. I can’t REMEMBER HER NAME right now and I read it like three days ago. Lydia? Sarah? I honestly would have to find the book. So the main character is probably the least interesting of the cast, and doesn’t develop like, at all, but the other characters were various shades of cliche, and only Jack seems to make any forward progress. Every Heart A Doorway did have a diverse cast in the way of having one trans character (who was kicked out of a fairyland when they discovered he wasn’t a princess), the main character is asexual, and some other characters cross-dress. (And one of them has a girlfriend who is a skeleton ……???) It ends up being like a buddy-buddy team up to uncover the mystery, (and dispose of some bodies), and then at the end (TOTAL SPOILERS), Lydia/sarah/main girl, ends up going back through her doorway (fairyland portal or whatever) to the Halls of the Dead where she will be happy(?).  I even feel kind of guilty ragging on the book, like maybe I should just appreciate it for what it was? But you’re like OMGGG, the potential, the whole time you’re reading it.

So even though it’s like a quick light romp (if you don’t count the brutal murders), there’s obviously some heavy themes as people are coping with being totally unable to return to a place that really resonated with them.Mostly their parents think they are actually insane after their experiences, so that’s pretty rough. But the themes were presented heavy handedly imo so you’re like rolling your eyes.

It reminded me of heavily of The Invisible Library series, with their ordering of different worlds as High Reason/High Chaos, and obviously of the Magicians, and Quinn’s obsession with returning to Fillory. The Invisible Library is of a similar quality (like- just not that good? but still enjoyable?) and The Magicians is much better but not YA. Every Heart a Doorway is like YA quality/text but .. brutal murders, lots of ’em, so I’m not even sure how to classify it.

 

Still interested in  Every Heart a Doorway? Find it on Amazon

Rather delve into the epic world of The Magicians & sequels? —> Click here

Ooo, the Invisible Library sounds good?! —> Find it here

A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne was fun to review. I am a lover of urban fantasy so I’ve been familiar with Kevin Hearne for his super long Iron Druid series. I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of Iron Druid. It felt like a less interesting Dresden Files.  Anyways, given my previous lack of interest for Hearne’s most famous work I was a bit leery of A Plague of Giants but I shouldn’t have worried cuz it was a-maaaaazing.

The basic premise is that a bard is telling a city of refugees after a bloody war the story of how they got there, all the key players who contributed to them overcoming not one, but two invasions by giants from across the sea. The bard tells his story through several people who played key roles in the war, so there are several POV’s. Usually the problem I have with multiple POV’s is that there is always one character who is much more interesting than the rest. Abbi quickly grew to be that character even though he was a very boring pacifist at first. Fortunately all of the characters were interesting in different ways so you weren’t like “UGH, a Cersei chapter”; you wanted to read them all. I also love that the cast was diverse and it wasn’t just all young hot straight warriors. There are scholars, merchants, stoneshapers, warriors, bards, warlords and viceroys among the POV characters. I was most excited to read about Abbi, a boy on the cusp of a huge discovery, and Nel, because she is Nel and she is amazing.

The magic system in A Plague of Giants is basically that there people can receive kennings or blessings which grant magical powers. To get them, seekers go to a place where they believe the god is testing them. There’s a good chance of catching death, but if you don’t die you can get some sweet powers. The first kenning, mastery of fire, can be gained from jumping into lava pools. The second kenning you get by throwing yourself into an underwater tunnel/cave, if you don’t drown, congrats you’re blessed. Throw yourself off a cliff to get air blessed, etc.  Surrender yourself to the roots of a tree which will either eat you or bless you.  Within each  kenning there is specialities, some better suited for war and some better suited for building/healing/transportation/what have you. Within the water kenning for example, you can be a hygienist, who can purify water, detect and cure infections and diseases; a “rapid”, who can manipulate water and swim extremely quickly by becoming part of the water, or a tidal mariner- super strong warriors who can manipulate water and possesses great destructive power.

Each blessing site is in a different country, and their societies have been shaped around these different kennings. This was reflected in the choice of language of the PoV characters and was a nice touch. The writing is great- moves fast, describes enough, each character felt unique. The POV characters all mostly drift together into two groups around two major events which shaped the “victory” of the war, but there are rumblings that a civil war may be happening and that the plague of giants might not be totally eradicated. This sets you up perfectly for another book, which I can’t wait to read because I really want to read more about the way Hearne imagines the magic system operating. Altogether, I give this book the highest possible rating.  This is another book that made my poor cats orphans.

MOMMMM

Check out A Plague of Giants on Amazon.

The Boy on the Bridge, M R Carey

Cece-bookz

The Boy on the Bridge (link goes to Amazon) is an excellent sequel that will answer some questions about the previous book, “The Girl With All the Gifts” (which I have also reviewed on this site) and enlarge the world that M R Carey so brilliantly brought to life in the last novel. There are a few things which really challenged me while reading and kind of distracted me from the experience, but I still enjoyed it.  (Slight spoilers for first book follow- please just read it, it’s amazing!)

One of the most challenging things is that the bulk of this book takes place before the events of The Girl With All the Gifts; the scientists that it centers around are travelling in “Rosie”, which you will remember from the first book. So straight away you’re suspicious and you’re like, I’m totally on guard and I won’t let myself get close to ANY OF YOU because I know you are all dead.  The main character, Samrina, is revealed to be pregnant, so you’re like, I know you’re double dead. Does everybody actually die? Ehhh…. You’ll find out.

There is a surprising amount of action for a book that mostly features driving around in a huge armoured science lab/bus. I always enjoy the brisk pace M R Carey has and again even the moping around chapters advance something.  He says a lot with few words when it comes to description. I wasn’t super interested in the political plot (seems a lot less threatening when you’re having to contact them via radio!) but it did nicely contrast the other major conflict in the story.

Five stars. It was a great book. Both my cats were like Ummm?? We are orphans now because you’re spending too much time reading???

 

maurice- bookz

 

MOM???

A God in the Shed, J. F. Dubeau

When I read the description of God in the Shed by J. F. Dubeau, (see on Amazon || see on Goodreads) – ” The village of Saint-Ferdinand has all the trappings of a quiet life: farmhouses stretching from one main street, a small police precinct, a few diners and cafés, and a grocery store. Though if an out-of-towner stopped in, they would notice one unusual thing―a cemetery far too large and much too full for such a small town, lined with the victims of the Saint-Ferdinand Killer, who has eluded police for nearly two decades. It’s not until after Inspector Stephen Crowley finally catches the killer that the town discovers even darker forces are at play.” –  I was like, HOLY CRAP, this is going to be awesome. Rural Quebec setting? A God trapped in a shed? Decades of crazy serial killings?? Sign me up! The premise seemed amazing but I was just let down after reading this book. I felt like I was reading one of the shitty serials on /r/nosleep that are like “I found a god in my shed… Part 18!” Where they keep obviously making it up as they go and incorporating whatever the highest upvoted idiot in the comments suggests they should do. I don’t really recommend you read this book, so, spoilers ahead.

First thing that turned me off was it was just gory for no reason and people start to be okay with it??? Like the evil “god” at the center of the book is making a big disgusting mural ~made out of people~ which apparently attracts/traps souls which is his ultimate goal. Like he makes it out of birds, part of someone’s cat, the main character’s DAD, and theyre like “It’s so beautiful…” Umm no it’s just made out of intestines and shit. It’s gross. Don’t play with that. The main character is like thiiiiiis close to making deals with the god through most of this and you’re like NO??? I thought you’re supposed to be smart???

The other thing is that EVERYONE dies. Like seriously do not get attached to ANYONE. I’m not even sure how enough people keep populating this town, the death count is so high. So you become a bit blasé to people dying after a bit, because nobody is safe. I got bored of people dying in horrible ways, that’s how bad it was.

One of the main characters is established as like a straight laced hard nosed cop or something but then he just goes nuts for no reason as “it all falls apart around him” (Thanks to some teenagers? Come on…)

All in all it was a pretty disappointing read and I felt could have been a lot better. I did enjoy the writing but didn’t think it was too remarkable. I did want to keep reading and find out what happened but I felt like it went towards an inevitable and obvious conclusion. I don’t even have much to say about the main character, Venus, as she was also pretty unremarkable, an average kid who rebels against her parents and is “destined” to save the town….

Yawwwnnnn.