Review | Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Series Details: Wayward Children #2
Author: Seanan McGuire
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Young Adult

Blurb from Goodreads:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.

The second installment to the Wayward Children series is all about Jack and Jill and their journey to the Moors, where blood-suckers rule, werewolves snatch villagers in the dark, and strange scientists bring people back from the dead.

Aside from its interesting cast of characters, and a world that is equal parts creepy and intriguing, this well written novella also tackles a hard topic—bad parenting. It’s a story about two young girls being forced to live their lives strictly according to their parent’s ridiculous standards and preferences. It shows how damaging it is—especially to a child’s emotional and mental state—to be caged within the stifling roles that their parents had thrown upon them, and not being able to discover themselves on their own.

Although this book followed Jack’s character more closely, both sisters have interesting arcs. They may be twins, and both heavily shaped by their parents’ hands, but they’re different in so many ways. Jack grew up following her mother’s stern rules on how a young girl should behave—quiet, polite, and not a speck of dirt on her pretty dresses—while Jill struggles to fit to the role of a perfect son that her father didn’t have. The moment they entered the Moors was the first time they get to be themselves. Somehow, this gives the readers a deeper understanding on the twins’ actions in Every Heart A Doorway.

The world-building in this book is excellent. Seanan McGuire perfectly captured both the beauty and the dangers that lurks in the Moors. It’s really impressive how she managed to paint a world and make it come alive—alluring and bursting with colors but never safe—all while creating fleshed out characters and packing some real tough topics along with magic and menace. It’s a short book but there’s a lot of good things—although dark ones—happening in it.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a bit darker than it’s predecessor. It’s a tale about self-discovery, about realizing one’s wants and desires, and learning to decide your own fate. Jack and Jill were suddenly in full control of their lives the moment they stepped into the Moors. But do they truly understand the importance of the decisions they make especially in a place as dangerous as the Moors?

I really like this book, maybe even more than the first one. While this is the second book in the series, it is a back story of two of the first book’s main characters. You can choose to read this first and not worry about spoilers. There are none.

2 thoughts on “Review | Down Among the Sticks and Bones

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