Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children #2
Paperback, 176 pages
Publication: June 13, 2017 by Tor.com
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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 choice.
Although Jack and Jill are identical twins, they couldn’t be more polar opposite of one another. Jill was seen as the prettier one, the girlier one; while Jack was always second best to her sister.Their parents had these quirks and treated the girls differently, which is why for example, Jack was deathly scared of getting dirty. They constantly fussed if Jack got even a tiny speck of dirt on her clothing. Living in the Wolcott’s house was difficult. But then one day they discovered a magical set of stairs in a clothing trunk. They finally discovered a secret that their parents didn’t know about and couldn’t enforce their rules upon the girls. So they decided to leave, to go on an adventure; just the two of them. The girls stumbled into The Moors, where everything is terrifying, dreary and melancholy. If you seen the old movies that featured Dracula or Frankenstein then you’d seen The Moors. Or at least what the Moors and the inhabitants would look like. It had an antiquated otherworldly feel going on. Upon their arrival, the girls were given the choice of either staying with The Master, a Vampire or Dr. Bleak, a reclusive scientist. Without spoiling the story, the girls each made their choice that will forever change their relationship with one another and shape their personality.
Overall, I enjoyed this standalone, sequel much more than Every Heart A Doorway. The first book felt clunky and didn’t have much substance in terms of plot or direction. However, focusing on just the twins this time around and their journey to their door; I thought we had a clearer story. McGuire is a talent writer and having read her October Daye series I know she’s a master when it comes to world building. The world building in Down Among the Stick and Bones was giving me major Victorian Gothic vibes, which I adore. I absolutely loved learning of Jack and Jill’s past and their upbringing. It gave me a better understanding of the girls I read about in Every Heart a Doorway. If you liked the first book in the series, then you will certainly enjoy Down Among the Sticks and Bones!