Dave McKean

Wednesday reading — through the wardrobe

What I've been reading

I read Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan Maguire's novella about a boarding school for kids who have returned from portal fantasies, because I liked the idea so much that even though most of the non-spoilery reactions I'd seen were pretty neutral on the execution, I thought it couldn't be all that bad, and anyway, it was short. Oh man.

I think if it had been expanded out to novel length it might have helped. I mean, not if it was just like this but three times longer, but maybe redeveloping the idea to novel length could have included following through with the (multiple) world building, creating a reasonable cast of characters who are actually interesting and giving them something to do besides blandly exposit at each other and solve a terrible, dumb murder mystery. I've seen people ragging on how obvious the solution to the "mystery" is—which it really is, and it's specifically a function of how few characters there are and how poorly developed they are—but I didn't happen to see anyone who also found it incredibly offensive. So everyone cruelly suspects Jack of the killings just because she happens to have apprenticed with a mad scientist in their portal fantasy world and did in fact kill or help kill people with no apparent compunction, but of course the real killer is her girlier twin, Jill, who fell in love with a man there. The horror.

I found the ending incredibly unsatisfying, too. The whole premise is supposedly learning to live in the real world because you aren't getting back to your fantasy world, but then it's like eh nah j/k you can totes go back. I just. What? Way to not follow through.

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