Minda’s drunk review of Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire
What I drank prior: Red wine with my mom.
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
My Summary: A prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, this book fleshes out the backgrounds of the Wolcott twins, Jack and Jill. After being raised by the worst parents ever to be total opposites, they stumble upon a door that asks them to “Be Sure.” Being, ya know, children, they go anyway and end up in a world full of monsters, known as the Moors. When they meet The Master and the doctor, they have a choice to make that will change their trajectories and that of their new world.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: TBH the Wolcott twins weren’t my #1 choice for the people I wanted to know more about from Every Heart a Doorway, a little too black-and-white for my taste. But here we are. It was worth the read and I was interested to learn more about the concept of the worlds and how children stumble upon the doors. And what types of children are susceptible, Jerez. However, though it was fairly black-and-white in my mind, I did enjoy the backstory.
Characters: Jack, somehow the less murderous twin, is driven and so sure of herself. Trained to be the most perfect little girl, she rebels once she enters the Moors and exceeds the expectations of those around her as she becomes a mad scientist a la Dr. Frankenstein. Jill, is her opposite, as groomed by their terrible parents. She was taught to be “boy-ish” according to the parental standards and embraces her femininity once in the Moors. Unfortunately to the detriment of everyone else that is. The Master (vampire) and Dr. Bleak (Dr. Frankenstein) are the main competitors, both varying levels of bad, in the Moors. There’s also their parents, Chester and Serena, who totally totally suck. Alexis is there too, but mostly not really.
Plot: Good-ish pacing, but we spent a lot of time with Serena and Chester which was kinda a bore. Like, I get that it was important but I would have much preferred spending more time in The Moors and learning more about the monster dynamic there. Not a problem, see below, but worth noting.
World Building: Seriously this series is some of the best so far as world-building. As I said above, not the world I would have picked to build, but to each their own. That said, I love the fact that each world has its own set of rules and norms, in this case high logic, high wicked in the compass. The Moors are further built out down the way, but this was a good first take.
Writing Style: Third person, I think? Don’t totally remember.
Drink Pairing: Dakr purple cocktail — extra strong
Rating: 4/5 shots