With Every Heart a Doorway, out this April, Seanan McGuire has created a vivid world (well, worlds) of magic, mystery, and occasional mayhem. Artist Rovina Cai illustrated a few select scenes from the book for us, bringing to life the students of Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, where teenage survivors of portal fantasies go when the doors to their lands of wonder close.
Take a look at Cai’s exclusive images below, and read a little more of the story before Every Heart a Doorway comes out next month!
Sumi stopped in front of a plain white door marked only with a small, almost polite sign reading keep out. Grinning, she said, “If he meant that, he wouldn’t say it. He knows that for anyone who’s spent any time at all in Nonsense that, really, he’s issuing an invitation.”
“Why do people around here keep using that word like it’s a place?” asked Nancy. She was starting to feel like she’d missed some essential introductory session about the school, one that would have answered all her questions and left her a little less lost.
“Because it is, and it isn’t, and it doesn’t matter,” said Sumi, and knocked on the attic door before hollering, “We’re coming in!” and shoving it open to reveal what looked like a cross between a used bookstore and a tailor’s shop. Piles of books covered every available surface. The furniture, such as it was—a bed, a desk, a table—appeared to be made from the piles of books, all save for the bookshelves lining the walls. Those, at least, were made of wood, probably for the sake of stability. Bolts of fabric were piled atop the books. They ranged from cotton and muslin to velvet and the finest of thin, shimmering silks. At the center of it all, cross-legged atop a pedestal of paperbacks, sat the most beautiful boy Nancy had ever seen.
“I don’t dye my hair!” Nancy’s protest was heated. Sumi stopped talking and blinked at her. Eleanor turned to look at her. Nancy’s cheeks grew hot as the blood rose in her face, but she stood her ground, somehow keeping herself from reaching up to stroke her hair as she said, “It used to be all black, like my mother’s. When I danced with the Lord of the Dead for the first time, he said it was beautiful, and he ran his fingers through it. All the hair turned white around them, out of jealousy. That’s why I only have five black streaks left. Those are the parts he touched.”
Looking at her with a critical eye, Eleanor could see how those five streaks formed the phantom outline of a hand, a place where the pale young woman in front of her had been touched once and never more. “I see,” she said.
“I don’t dye it,” said Nancy, still heated. “I would never dye it. That would be disrespectful.”
Together, they walked across the property, the girl, the boy, and the dancing skeleton wrapped in rainbows. Neither of those who still possessed tissue and tongue spoke.