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5 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading Seanan McGuire

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Caitlin Hobbs

Staff Writer

Perpetually tired, Caitlin Hobbs somehow manages to avoid being taken by the Fae while simultaneously doing things that would attract their attention. It may be all the cats they keep around. Caitlin can usually be found dismantling ideas about what makes us human as a student in cultural anthropology, indexing archives and rare books, or writing a book of folklore retellings. You can contact them at or on twitter as @caitlinthehob.

I’ll admit it, I’m a little biased on this subject. I’ve been reading Seanan McGuire for years and pretty much include her in every list of recommendations I’ve ever given, for good reason. Seanan has received numerous awards for her writing, like Hugos and Nebulas and Alexes (oh my!). I honestly believe everyone should be reading Seanan McGuire, and it is a little hard to narrow down the reasons why, but I’ve chosen my top five here:

Every Heart a Doorway cover1. Representation

Across numerous books and numerous series, Seanan is sure to include people of different backgrounds. In her Toby Daye series, a couple of the main characters are in a same-sex relationship, and an often reoccurring character within the series is transgender. Same with her Indexing series: the main character’s brother is transgender. And they’re not cookie cutter characters, they’re entirely different from each other. It’s like that with all her diverse characters, as she doesn’t just stick with LGBT representation. She has fat characters (Cora, in Beneath the Sugar Sky), Indian characters (Madhura in her InCryptid series), characters who would be autistic if they were human (Sara in her InCryptid series). She even has an asexual character. I know. Nancy, our protagonist in Every Heart a Doorway from Seanan’s series Wayward Children, is asexual. And actually says the word asexual. Because Seanan understands that people want to see themselves in stories, and that sometimes the Chosen One isn’t always a middle school boy.

2. Her Quotes

Seanan has a mastery over words that makes me insanely jealous. She can make turns of phrase that are absolutely gorgeous. I could go on and on about how she conveys ideas but I’ll just let her do it herself:

  1. “You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.” (Every Heart a Doorway)
  2. “It gets better. It never gets easy, but it does start to hurt a little less.” (Every Heart a Doorway)
  3. “The problem with people who say monsters don’t really exist is that they’re almost never saying it to the monsters.” (Discount Armageddon)
  4. “Blood is thicker than water, but family isn’t just about blood. Family is about faith, and loyalty, and who you love. If you don’t have those things, I don’t care what the blood says. You’re not family.” (Midnight Blue-Light Special)
  • “There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.” (Beneath the Sugar Sky)

    3. Diverse Spread of Genres

    You like urban fantasy dealing with fae in the real world? Seanan’s got a series for that, starting with Rosemary and Rue. Cryptids and fighting fascist hate groups? Seanan’s got a book. Zombies done in a really interesting way with viruses? There’s multiple books, written by Seanan’s alter ego Mira Grant, beginning with Feed. Remember that whole tapeworm diet pill thing? Seanan, as Mira, wrote a book on the concept, called Parasite. Deep sea killer mermaids? You guessed it: there’s a book, a couple actually. She even wrote a YA horror book within the Alien universe called Alien: Echo. She writes for Marvel, currently writing the Ghost Spider series, and she wrote The Amazing Nightcrawler in the past. She’s written horror and sci-fi as Mira Grant, and numerous urban fiction stories as Seanan McGuire. If you’ve got an interest, she probably wrote a book around it.

    4. You Will Never Run Out of Books

    As stated above, Seanan has written a LOT, under the names Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant. I’ve been reading her for years and I still haven’t read everything she’s ever written. Her bibliography is vast, and she keeps adding to it yearly. Honestly, there’s far too many to count, so I will leave you with this, her bibliography from her website.

    5. She’s An Author You Can Trust

    In her Wayward Children series, there is a character called Kade, who is transgender. Seanan is constantly answers the question of “when will we get a book about him?” because there are so few books with transgender main characters telling their stories. Her answer for this question is simple: it’s coming, but it will be one of the last, because I need to build your trust. Kade’s story will hurt, she says, because he didn’t always know he was trans. I’m going to have to deadname him. I’ll use the wrong pronouns. I need your trust as a reader that this isn’t being done to harm him, and harm you, but because this is his story. That’s admirable, and just how Seanan writes. She doesn’t write to hurt the reader. This isn’t to say that what she writes doesn’t hurt; people still die, there’s always trauma, but she doesn’t do it mindlessly. Someone won’t die for shock value, they’ll die because it’s relevant to the plot and helps the story be told.

    And if that doesn’t convince you to go pick up one of Seanan McGuire’s numerous books and start reading them, I’m not too sure what will.