Friday, January 20, 2017

Short Fiction Friday: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Jack and Jill's parents had certain expectations about parenthood. Unfortunately, this meant that for much of the girls' early lives their parents enforced their own ideas about who and what they each should be: Jacqueline was to be neat, tidy, and pretty - a perfect daughter for a society driven mother; Jillian (their parents didn't believe in nicknames) was sporty and active - the son her father was disappointed not to have. They were not coddled, they were not loved, they were not even encouraged to find solace and comfort in each other. And so it's no surprise that their door appeared, whisking them away to the Moors. 

The Moors was not a welcoming place. In fact, it was one filled with monsters and evils. Some of them less obvious than others. There, the girls defied their raising. One taking up residence under the roof of a scientist, the other becoming the groomed heir to a Master who reigned with nothing less than terror over the surrounding village. But they were there because they wanted to be. 

Until their door appeared once again. 

So obviously if you've read Every Heart a Doorway, then you know this is a prequel story. Jack and Jill are already in residence at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children when Nancy arrives in the aforementioned story. If you haven't read it, no fear you can start here!

This is the story of Jack and Jill's door. The world they disappeared into before being sent to Eleanor. And what a world it is! It's the stuff of Universal monster movies, literally. Vampires, werewolves, a mad scientist, and sea creatures galore. It's a dark and dreary world, one that only the most miserable children would see as a salvation from the real world.

And miserable is a good way to describe Jack and Jill.

Sure they have a decent life. They're provided for and live in comfort. But they're not allowed to be themselves. They're not allowed to even discover who the real Jack and Jill are or could be. This is what life in the Moors allows them.

In a series with infinite possibilities, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a worthy and wonderful follow up to Every Heart a Doorway!As with the previous installment, McGuire once again wows with rich and detailed world building and characters that are full of depth and emotion.

If you haven't had the chance to start this series, now is the perfect time. You can dive in with either tale and join the crowd of readers now desperately looking forward to the third installment!

Rating: 5/5

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