Review Blog

Jun 11 2018

Down among the sticks and bones by Seanan McGuire

cover image

Wayward Children book 2. Tor, 2017. ISBN 9780765392039
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books 2018. Themes: Horror, Fantasy, Fairy tales, Diversity, Gender stereotypes. Fans of Seanan Mcguire's books will have encountered twin sisters Jack and Jill in the first book in the Wayward Children series, "Every heart a doorway".  "Down Among the Sticks and Bones" tells the story of what happened to them before they were sent to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children.
This not a story for the faint hearted or for younger teens. It is dark and compelling and the atmosphere is chilling. Jacqueline is the perfect child, who is dressed like a little doll and is always quiet and respectful. Jillian is the opposite - outgoing and risk taking and their father's favourite. The twins don't trust their parents and when they turn twelve they find a staircase that leads them into another land, the mysterious land of the Moors where vampires and werewolves roam and a mad scientist does his experiments.
It is here that Jack finds out what she really wants to be and that she doesn't have to fit into a gender stereotype. She studies with the mad scientist, and falls in love. Jill is left in the castle and becomes increasingly frustrated and angry. To tell more would spoil this beautifully crafted but terrifying story, but it is sufficient to say that there are heart breaking incidents, betrayal, and terrible choices to make.
Pat Pledger

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