Down Among the Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire
We know how Jack and Jill’s story ends but how did it begin? Who were these girls before they found their doorway? What did coming to The Moors do for them and to them? How does life change when you are given the opportunity to explore a life that you were always denied?
This was a look at how Jack and Jill became the characters we meet in Every Heart a Doorway. I always love seeing the evolution of characters and how they get to the point they are at when we meet them. I was only half interested in both of these characters in the first book. By the end of this story I was much more attached to them.
Jack and Jill were raised as two very specific people. Jack was the princess her mother always wanted while Jill was raised as the boy her father never had. Both of them were never given the chance to explore who they were on their own. They were shoved into specific roles and punished for stepping outside of them. They had parents who only cared about the image they provided and not who they were as people.
I love that the whole concept of this series is that doors appear to people who need them. Jack and Jill needed somewhere to live out their lives and be who they truly wanted to be. They were provided with a chance to walk through a door and see the vast possibilities spread out before them. I love this exploration.
I love watching a character learn who they truly are as a person. I love watching them fight back the damage done by others around them. This had one of my favorite storylines, characters owning who they truly are.
I liked seeing the way both of the girls changed over time. Jill became darker. She became the more girly one but she also had a darker soul. We saw the lengths she is willing to go to keep what she holds dear.
While Jack became more of a tomboy but she also was softer. She had a more caring side to her. You saw it with her relationships with the people around her. I liked how the character types and personalities played against the usual assumptions. Each of these characters was very dynamic which was great to read.
I also really liked the tone of storytelling in this book. There was a sense of fairytale aspect to it. I liked this type of tone in the story and it helped push the message of the book home.
I felt like we concentrated on Jack a bit more than Jill. I felt like I was more connected to her character throughout the story. I would have liked a bit more from Jill. Jill is the one who becomes dark and I would have liked to understand that journey a bit more.
I think this book would have also benefitted from being longer. There was big jumps in time and I think we lost some development of the characters throughout those portions. We could have had a longer look at the change in the beginning. That was the time when things changed the most and I think we only hit the surface of the true story.
I loved these characters and I would love to know what happened when they returned to The Moors after Every Heart is a Doorway. I was hoping for a glimpse at that time in this book but we didn’t get any. I want to know how they change again. There has to be a big shift in their lives now and I would love to know more about that story.
There was nothing in this book that threw me out of the story. It was a great look at the development of the characters. While it would have benefited from being longer that didn’t necessarily hurt the story.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. It was a great tale that could have just been a bit longer.
“It can be easy, when standing on the lofty shores of adulthood, not to remember that every adult was once a child, with ideas and ambitions of their own.” (pg. 13)
“She had tried to make sure they knew that there was a hundred, a thousand, a million different ways to be a girl, and that all of them were valid, and that neither of them was doing anything wrong.” (pg. 34)
“Each of them wanted people to see them, not an idea of them that someone else had come up with.” (pg. 38)
“Every choice feed every choice that comes after, whether we want those choices or no.” (pg. 63)
“Children have preferences. The danger comes when they, as with any human, are denied those preferences for too long.” (pg. 107)