Genre(s): Adult, Gothic Horror, Fairytale Retelling.
Read It If You Like: Vampires, Portal Doors, Magical Closets, Lovecraftian Fiction, Twins, Queer Protagonists.
Content Warnings: Blood, Gore, Child Neglect, (Mild) Bury Your Gays Trope.
Rating: ✩✩✩✩ 1/2
What It’s About
Jacqueline and Jillian are twins who are afraid of their parents. They are afraid of the silence and the spotless floors that permeate their parent’s house; the unkind thoughts their parents do not say but can be clearly seen through their actions and their eyes.
Seeking to escape their mother and father’s rigid neglect, “Jack” and “Jill” venture into the attic. There, they find a suitcase that opens up into a magical door. After Jack and Jill descend into the portal, the door shuts behind them, leaving the children trapped in a world full of fairytale monsters.
I originally found out about this book through Tor’s ebook club. At the length of a novella, Seanan McGuire’s DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES is one of those books where the pacing and characters are technically perfect, but I found I couldn’t quite gel with the internality of those characters for reasons that were entirely personal. It’s a bit frustrating that I can’t give this book a perfect rating, because it came so, so close!
Amalgamating nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and classic movie monsters, DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES combines these elements into an imaginative, memorable ride. I appreciate this book for its eerie, eldritch worldbuilding, and I breezed through the entire novella in an evening.
Would I Recommend This Book To Others?
Yes. There’s a mild bury your gays’ trope towards the latter half of the book, but the context surrounding this trope makes a lot of sense and I’m not terribly bothered by its inclusion. It’s just something you need to be aware of going in.