Seeking book recommendations similar to Every Heart a Doorway
June 1, 2016 1:24 PM   Subscribe

I recently read Seanan McGuire's amazing Every Heart a Dooryway (so good! why so short!) and I am seeking similar fiction in this same vein.

After reading Every Heart a Doorway, I realized how much I love this particular genre of ... self-aware magical fiction? Not sure the best way to describe it. Other books I would categorize as being in the same genre are:

Lev Grossman's The Magicians (Grossman said in an interview: "Part of the joke of The Magicians is that I’m taking a Narnia-style fantasy world and forcing it to behave consistently. It turns out that you have to bend it and distort it and break it to make it fit.")

Rainbow Rowell's take on Harry Potter in Carry On

Any ideas on more books to scratch this itch?
posted by rainbowbrite to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Cat Valente's Fairyland books are portal fantasy that is very VERY aware about the tropes of portal fantasies. It's finally finished (5 books and a novella on and it's splendid. (Seanan and Cat are friends and clearly have similar thoughts on the subject.)
posted by restless_nomad at 1:43 PM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Jo Walton's stuff might work, primarily Among Others and My Real Children.
posted by pie ninja at 2:33 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: All of Ursula Vernon's adult stuff (as T. Kingfisher). Maybe Charlie Jane Anders' All The Birds In The Sky (note: I thought it was an excellent novelette hiding in a novel). Cat Valente's stuff is also good, but it's middle grade.
posted by jeather at 2:39 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Recently I could not put down Holly Black's The Darkest Part of the Forest.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness is about the kids who aren't part of the monster-fighting clique at school.
posted by not that girl at 3:09 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Gene Wolfe's non-New Sun novels, especially Peace.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:22 PM on June 1, 2016

Best answer: Daryl Gregory's We Are All Completely Fine is similar to Every Heart a Dooryway in several respects: it's a novella in which a plot develops around some folks in group therapy who've all lived through distinctive stories that each nod toward horror sub-genres. I don't recall it being too visceral--just creepy, like several fantasy worlds in McGuire's story--but I think it's also not as poignant.

I'd also suggest reading through to the third book in Seanan McGuire's Velveteen series, which is about a person adapting to fantasy worlds very like those in EHAD but based on holidays/seasons, and also trying the Discworld Witches novels, which get good pretty quickly and often deal with story logic in a self-aware way. Those suggestions aren't as similar in terms of the situation, but the themes and the mood/tone/affective qualities seem similar to me.
posted by Wobbuffet at 6:40 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

You may love the Rivers of London books. They're delightful. A recurring subplot is the main character attempting to experimentally determine the limits of magic and apply the rules of cause and effect, usually quite successfully.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:07 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Would definitely second The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness and Daryl Gregory's We Are All Completely Fine as very good genre-aware genre fiction.

I will add Diana Wynne Jones' Dark Lord of Derkholm. (For best effect, consider reading her Tough Guide to Fantasyland immediately beforehand.)

Seanan McGuire's Indexing and the sequel Indexing: Reflections might also scratch this itch a bit if you haven't read them already.

Not quite along the same lines, but also doing interesting things with genre-awareness: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld is simultaneously the story of a new YA fantasy author and the YA fantasy she is writing; The Interior Life by Katherine Blake is simultaneously the story of a bored housewife and the imaginary(?) fantasy story she tells herself to pass the time, and it's really great.
posted by kyrademon at 6:15 AM on June 2, 2016

Response by poster: So many great answers! I ended up marking at best answers the books I ended up ordering/reading, but I will hopefully work my way through the rest of the list eventually! :) Thanks all.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:22 AM on June 14, 2016

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