Down Among the Sticks and Bones
May 11, 2017
I absolutely loved Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway last year. It was the concept/world that I didn't know I had always been looking for—what happens to children who visit magical lands when they return home? This isn't the brooding Holden Caulfield-goes-to-Narnia of The Magicians; this is a boarding school full of children who no longer know how to relate to their families, each returning from wildly different worlds. Some are desperate to return. Others are haunted and unable to re-adjust to our reality. It feels like an inexhaustible premise, and I am eager to read more.
I was initially disappointed when I read the description for Down Among the Sticks and Bones, the next novella in the series, because it wasn't the story I wanted told. It felt like we had already learned Jack and Jill's backstory in the first book, and I wanted something more mysterious.

But! I was a fool. It may not have been the story line I was looking for, but it was a masterfully crafted tragedy—and a setting so full of beautifully melancholy ambiance—that it was the perfect tale to be told. What made Jack and Jill who they are? How did they wind up in their magical land? And what went horribly wrong?

We already know how their story ends. But Down Among the Sticks and Bones will break your heart anyway.

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