I should probably have written a review the minute I finished this one, but I felt like I needed time to let things settle, and then life took over. For me, it was a really satisfying read, from the plot and setting to the diversity of characters, and it seemed like the perfect length too. Often I want more from novellas, but to me this told the story it had to tell and stopped — with plenty left to think about and wonder about, but not in an unsatisfying way.
My one issue is that there’s one scene that makes the mystery part absolutely obvious: I don’t know if it’s just the way I think, but that was disappointing, because the characters apparently took no notice and then a little while after, there was the actual reveal.
Still, to me the setting — even just the idea — is the central thing: what happens when the story is over, and fairyland spits you back out? I worried about it when I read Cat Valente’s last Fairyland book: how can you go back to normal after that? Wouldn’t normal life be a huge anticlimax — or even just completely baffling? And Every Heart A Doorway deals with that, and with all the different ways people might leave their fairyland, and how they might feel about it. There’s a gorgeously painful part where one of the returnees was trans, and when that was revealed, their world rejected them. And then there’s the way the various worlds fall somewhere on a spectrum between logic and nonsense; the fact that Nancy is (like me) asexual and how that affects her relationships with people; the different ways everyone relates to each other, despite a common background…
Overall, I found it really satisfying, and it emphasised how very much I need to get round to reading more of Seanan McGuire’s work.