Down Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among The Sticks And Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones chronicles the lives of two of Every Heart a Doorway's favourite characters before they wind up in the Eleanor West Home for Wayward Children - a place where children who have experienced fantasy adventures can be reintroduced to the 'real' world. In Down Among the Sticks and Bones, twin girls Jack and Jill find themselves thrust into a world of monsters and mad scientists, and something they thought they'd never experience: choice.

Reviewed by sa090 on

5 of 5 stars

Do you know that awesome moment when you have insane expectations for something and it easily meets them? This book did that for me, I had to force myself to stop otherwise I would've finished it in a single sitting but I was too weak the second time, so I picked it up and boom now I'm back to waiting for the next installment ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


The best thing about this series is that either book can be read in any order considering they're standalones sharing the same universe but very different stories, however I strongly recommend going by release order since it'll make discovering the secrets/backgrounds implied by Every Heart A Doorway a much more rewarding experience. For me personally I found Jack and Jill to be very interesting in the first released book and having this one be about their story was more than enough to have me excited, did it deliver? YES!! It's been such a long time for me when I had actual trouble putting down a book because I was so engrossed in it, Seanan McGuire took a very different approach in this book compared to the other one but it works so well.

The approach I'm talking about here btw is the narrative, you can either see things from Jill's POV, Jack's POV or from Seanan herself and it really made me feel like I'm listening to someone telling a legend they knew or something similar while actually giving enough voice for the characters themselves to feel relevant since this is THEIR story after all. I loved this about the book, it might not be that praise worthy if you will but after reading "A Wizard from Earthsea" earlier this year which tried and failed miserably to achieve this mix, it makes me extremely glad to see that it can be done so effortlessly by someone else.

The tackled issues in the book from gender roles, parents, society's view, trying to fit in, growing up and identity amongst others were amazing to see. Usually books suffer from the missing parent syndrome but in this one it gives a very real view on how cruel parents can be to their children, how imposed views + opinions can shape the world a child perceives and how that will affect their choices one way or another. This is obviously the case in any household to some degree, mine included, but in this one (as mentioned earlier) it's just cruel to see and the best part to all of this is that Seanan doesn't sugarcoat anything. If there is an extreme something somewhere, she's seemingly going to reach it and make it a big plot point.

Of course I'm not going to mention spoilers but understanding and experiencing the before mentioned with Jack and Jill will give a very clear idea on the rest of the book's events; especially the consequences of choosing and having things chosen for you in a world such as that one. Choices are so important in this book, it doesn't matter how much it hurts, how unfair or just how good it feels to finally be able to decide things on your own because Seanan McGuire gives this awesome and somewhat sad portrayal of the "Be careful what you wish for" notion.

The book has so many good quotes that are somewhat sarcastic in the beginning concerning the handled events before it shifts to give me a nice idea to how she perceives adventure and more importantly to how endless she made this world of hers because honestly (as I mentioned in my thoughts of Every Heart A Doorway) she can write A LOT of books because of that. My favourite quote to sum up my kind of jumbled thoughts here would be concerning the adventure part of it, such a nice quote:

“Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world. Other adventures must be committed to before they have even properly begun. How else will they know the worthy from the unworthy, if they do not require a certain amount of effort on the part of the ones who would undertake them? Some adventures are cruel, because it is the only way they know to be kind.”

One of the other things I really like about this book and the first one is the lack of sappy romance, this one had a surprising thing to it in that regard but again, she doesn't really focus on that aspect at all. It's just glossed over before we're back to being engaging, dark and bloody while seeing how these worlds affect the children who make their way into them and back. I really want to read more about them but this is kind of a prequel to Every Heart A Doorway and after reading both it's not that difficult to see how their story will progress from here on out. The third installment is going to be released on January 9th and I personally can't wait for it!

Final rating: 5/5

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 21 June, 2017: Finished reading
  • 21 June, 2017: Reviewed