Twitter Tumblr FlickrFacebookContact me
Now 2018 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio

Recent posts


Month in review

Reviews
Amulet 8: Supernova by Kazu Kibuishi
Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq
The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden
Bluecrowne by Kate Milford
Bluff and Bran and the Snowdrift by Meg Rutherford
Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Echo's Sister by Paul Mosier
Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany
Foe by Iain Reid
Hold The Cream Cheese, Kill The Lox by Sharon Kahn
Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle
How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Lavender Lies by Susan Wittig Albert
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part Two by Michael Dante DiMartino and Irene Koh
Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
Lowriders Blast from the Past by Cathy Camper and Raul III
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen
Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Personal Demons by Nimue Brown
The Reader by Traci Chee
Secret Coders 4: Robots & Repeats by Gene Luen Yang
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn
The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby
24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling

Miscellaneous
Cybils Update (November 06)
Cybils Update (November 13)
Cybils Update (November 20)
Cybils Update (November 27)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 05)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 12)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 19)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (November 26)
October 2018 Sources
October 2018 Summary

Road Essays
FFCC99: FF99CC and FF9999: orphans in the wildlands by maze and labyrinth
FF9933: orphan wildlands blue highway
From 00CC33 to 33CCCC: a road narrative analysis of Haunting of Hill House, book and Netflix television series
A Map to the Road Narrative Spectrum
Road Narrative Update for October 2018
The three faces of Eleanor

Previous month


Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish



Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.


Down Among the Sticks and Bones: 11/16/18

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire is the second of the Wayward Children. It tells the story of what happened to Jack and Jill before they arrived at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. In their time line at home it's the years between twelve and seventeen but for them it's a lifetime.

For anyone who has read Every Heart a Doorway will have a very fixed picture of both twins. Here we are presented with the exact opposite for their pre-Wayward lives. Seanan McGuire sets up a Gothic horror around nature vs nurture gone horribly, horribly wrong.

When a couple long past worrying about children, comfortable in their aloneness are suddenly hit with the fact that there will be twins in their near future, decide to divide the work evenly. It seems like a good idea but essentially they each claim a child and decide to make her in their image.

The mother takes charge of Jacqueline, making her the perfect girl child (as if such a person exists). She is clothed in the best, most beautiful, most impractical dresses. Her hair is kept long. Her manners are molded to be refined and dainty. She doesn't go outside lest she or her dress get dirty.

The father takes Jillian and reimagines her as the son he really wants. Her hair is cut short. She is given jeans, shorts, sporty clothes, and is encouraged to be a rough and tumble sort of kid. Twins, identical at brith, are cleaved through such stubborn, narrowly focused parenting.

It is the forced separation of identical twins and the resulting double dose of discontent that welcomes the "impossible staircase." In McGuire's universe, pathways to other lands are not by roads but by doors. In this case it is a staircase that is in a place that should not be and is longer than possible given the architecture of the house.

The remainder of the novella is their time in their fairyland — a world built around Gothic monsters: vampires, mad scientists, and the like. The girls take their sides and grow into the personas we know from the first book.

In terms of the road narrative (because doors can be metaphorical roads), this book is a siblings traveling to utopia via a labyrinth. Siblings are the second most powerful type of traveler. Or I should say, with the most agency in terms of the road and barriers faced on a given journey. Readers familiar with Every Heart a Doorway will know how frightening a pair Jack and Jill are at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. It is their status as twins that gives them so much power in utopia. Were they closer as siblings, they would have become an even more fearsome power.

Their journey to utopia (again used in this project to mean a no-place) through an impossible architecture in their house through a long but straightforward nonetheless staircase counts as a labyrinth. As it is a journey downwards, there is also a symbolic linking to the Labyrinth of Minos. That when their time in utopia ends and they are immediately thrust back into their old home and their old lives, further makes this a labyrinth. The way out is the same as the way in, just in reverse.

The next book in the series is Beneath the Sugar Sky which released January 8th, 2018.

Four stars

Comments (0)


Name:
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:
Comment: