• The Fiction Fox

Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire

Genre: (YA) fantasy

Published: Tor, June 2017

My rating: 2.5/5 stars

“Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.”

Despite my disappointment in Every Heart a Doorway, I had already picked up both from the library at the same time and figured I might as well give it a try anyway. The experience was similar, although my mixed feelings were less extreme. In many ways I liked this novella a little better, although it is still plagued by many of the same issues that I had with the first one. My main complaint with both of them boils down to a case of “great intention, mediocre execution”.

In this prequel to we follow the twins Jack and Jill, as we learn how they found their way to their hidden world, called The Moors: a dark and wonderful place inhabited by vampires, werewolves and twisted sciences. The first quarter of the story takes place in the real world and describes the way Jack an Jill were raised into different genderroles by their parents. Many interesting and true points are made here, yet it quickly felt like the author was lecturing the reader about bad parenting-skills. Once the twins enter their world, the plot is interesting enough, although it’s a shame that Every Heart a Doorway has already spoiled most of the ending. Although it is technically possible to read Down Among the Sticks and Bones first, I don’t think that would solve the issue, as it would spoil you for Every Heart a Doorway just as much. You can’t really win in this scenario, which I find an odd choice on the authors part. Other than those points, my critique is identical to that of Every Heart a Doorway, which I won’t repeat in depth. If you are interested, you can find the review here. The cliff-notes are: expositional writing, rushing to fit a lot in a short book, stereotypical characters, and shoehorned and forced diversity.

In the end, this series clearly isn’t for me, and I won’t be picking up book 3 and 4, no matter how quickly I might be able to read them. I’m glad it’s enjoyed by so many others though. Find this book on Goodreads

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