Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2)
By: Seanan McGuire
Format/Source: eBook; courtesy of Tor.com reading club
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.
I read the first book, Every Heart a Doorway (review) a few years ago, and made a note to check out the rest of the series when I get a chance. So naturally I downloaded this book when it was featured in the Tor.com Book Club a few months ago.
Not gonna lie, I don’t remember much from the first book so I don’t remember if Jack and Jill made an appearance there…I feel like they did briefly but it doesn’t matter, the book works as a standalone. [EDIT: Oh, it’s straight up in the book blurb at the top. Oops. lol]
Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a dark fairy tale. It’s a cautionary tale of what happens when parents enforce certain expectations and stereotypes on their children, not allowing them to develop their personalities and preferences in a natural way. It’s sad to see how that in turn affected the twins and how it contributed in inserting a wedge between the two of them, pushing them far apart. I mean, they had to take their own individual journeys in the end, but the tension and viciousness between them was very sad. There’s a lot of themes in the novella, such as a sense of nature vs. nurture, how we love and develop friendships. Jack and Jill’s experiences were an interesting contrast, certainly.
I read this book a long time ago and wrote my thoughts about the book fairly late but overall I really enjoyed reading the book. Again, I would continue reading the series at some point. Highly recommended, whether you’re looking for a novella to check out or if you enjoyed the first volume 🙂