Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children #2
Genres: Fantasy
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.

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It’s not too long ago that I read the first book in this series, Every Heart a Doorway, and completely fell in love with it. I loved the writing, which completely sucked me in from the start, I loved the world and all of the potential it had, but most of all, I loved the characters and couldn’t wait to see more of them and see more of their stories in the next books.

As you can see, my expectations for Down Among the Sticks and Bones were HIGH. Incredibly high. That’s why I was very hesitant about starting it at first, because I didn’t want to end up feeling disappointed once I finished this, but I can safely say that that didn’t happen. Moreover, I can say that I loved Down Among the Sticks and Bones even more than I loved Every Heart a Doorway, and that obviously says a lot.

This book focuses on the story of Jack and Jill, twin sisters who we’ve already met in the first book. From reading Every Heart a Doorway we already got to know a little bit about their story, but I had no idea how dark and incredibly interesting it actually was.

A lot of the book focuses on parental expectations (and emotional abuse), and how they can mess with your heads. Jack and Jill’s parents have this picture in their mind of what their perfect family should look like, and when their mother gets pregnant with two girls they’re disappointed because they wanted a girl and a boy. They decide they’ll each ‘get one’ of the children, and Jack is raised to be her mother’s perfect daughter (quiet and pretty) and Jill is raised to be her father’s perfect ‘tom-boy’.

Jack and Jill both don’t get a say in this, and they start to resent each other because of it. So when they get to the Moors, it doesn’t take long until they separate.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a short book. An incredibly well-written one which sucks you in from the first page, and will make you finish the book in just one sitting. It’s also incredibly atmospheric, dark and intruiging. And although the book is so short, it does include a lot of things that will keep your mind occupied for days on end.

I loved seeing the relationship between the two sisters, and the effect the parents had on that relationship (well, loved might not be the best word for it, but it was incredibly interesting and I loved reading about it). I loved Jack as a character, and I really feel like she’s going to be my favorite character of this series. And I loved how Jack had a fat, female love interest, because I’m a complete sucker for f/f romances.

Overall, Down Among the Sticks and Bones certainly exceeded my expectations, and I can’t wait for what else this series is going to bring.

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