Quick review for a quick read. Man, this is the most twisted version of Jack and Jill that I’ve ever read, but I loved every moment of it. “Down Among the Sticks and Bones” is technically a prequel of “Every Heart a Doorway”. It’s the story of the journey of Jacqueline and Jillian – twins who were brought up by parents who crafted them into their own image. Jacqueline (or Jack) was intended to be in her mother’s image while Jillian was the tomboyish girl whom her father desired, since he’d always wanted a son. They were raised by their grandmother up until the age of 5, but then their parents took over and the twins weren’t given the attention and care they really deserved.
Hence why at the age of 12, they ventured down into a doorway which lead to another realm – exacerbating the wedge driven between them by their upbringing and lending them into precarious circumstances that would change their lives forever. I definitely loved the characterization of the twins and the lore of the realm. It drew me in and didn’t let me go until the final page when the two ended up going home, but greatly changed by the events that transpired through their journey into the otherworld. I’m in awe of how well-developed these stories are even with how quick they are to read through. I love Seanan McGuire’s writing, and how these tales take on a fairy tale quality while at the same time being dark, eerie and resonant. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of the books in this series.
Overall score: 4/5 stars.