Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

down among

Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2)

Author: Seanan McGuire

Release date: June 13, 2017

Back in 2012 or 2013, I was going through a reading crisis. A voracious reader, it got to the point that even my wife noticed I wasn’t reading any of the half dozen books I had sitting beside the bed. I just couldn’t find something that stuck and drew me in. Then one day, at the power lifting gym I trained at, my friend John Wesley Cummings aka “Beardo” and I got to talking. He asked what I was reading and I shared my struggles. He told me about a book that was guaranteed to break that issue. He suggested ‘The Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss. I was hooked. Rothfuss’ book was pure bliss. Sublime writing and great storytelling.

Why am I sharing that? Well, I may not be in any sort of reading slump, but not since discovering Patrick Rothfuss have I found a writer who has such an easy storytelling approach, set in a fantastical setting, until now. Seanan McGuire’s “Wayward Children” series has absolutely captivated me over these first two books. I really owe this series suggestion to Jen, aka @BookDen, who insisted I read them.

What I liked: Where Book One ‘Every Heart a Doorway’ introduced us to a group of characters at the School for Wayward Children, Book Two is a prequel, telling the story of how Jacqueline and Jillian became who they are. We discover the basis of their nicknames Jack and Jill and what happened when they found the door to The Moors.

McGuire deftly crafted a stand alone book, that also slots in nicely as the prequel. If you were to pick this one up with no prior knowledge, you’d have absolutely no issues reading the story and understanding the implied connectivity.

I really can’t gush about McGuire’s writing. The words leap off the page and I galloped through this one. 

For me, the most fascinating aspect was learning more about the Master and Dr. Bleak. We get a brief mention of them in Book One, but here we learn so much more and the relationship that we see Jack develop with Alexis was really well done and added an extra layer of emotional depth.

What I didn’t like: Typically, in this section, I try to say why a reader might be turned off of a book. In this case, I’m going to pivot and say that I truly HATED Jack and Jill’s parents in the real world. I see these types each day my son and I go to the park right now and it takes everything in me not to punch them. McGuire really crafted a couple of horrendous humans.

Why you should buy this: ‘Down Among the Sticks and Bones’ is a decidedly darker story than ‘Every Heart a Doorway,’ but don’t think of that as a negative or a detriment. McGuire stays true to the two characters at the center of this story and the reader is better off. This book has really elevated the series for me, personally, and now I’m going to have to beg and plead with my AMAZING wife to let me snag Book Three asap and dive in.

Can’t recommend these first two books enough.


One thought on “Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

  1. I recently read Every Heart and now have them all on my wishlist except for this which I HAD to buy immediately because I loved the parts about Jack and Jill in the first book. I cannot wait to read it 😁


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