Content/Trigger Warnings: Brief talk of infertility, mysophobia, germaphobia, fat shaming, death, murder, grief, narcissistic personality disorder, blood/gore
Friends, this might be my most favorite book of this whole series so far! How does one express how deeply a book can touch your soul? There are no words. This book touched my soul, found the softest bits of my core, and now lives there. Truly, this book is a gift and I don’t know why I put off reading this book for so long.
While I loved Every Heart A Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones just resonated with me on so many levels and I truly enjoyed this one more than the first. I have read this book in less than four hours and then went back and relistened to the whole book over again. Never wake up at the crack of dawn to tackle your ‘to-do’ list and listen to a book that will leave you on the ground, in a puddle of your own tears.
“Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.”
Before I start this review, let me say that you need to read the first book to know who these characters are. While I believe this book could be a standalone, it is better to read this series as a whole. And the experience is one you truly won’t forget. However, if you have read the first book, then you know this follows the story of Jack and Jill. To fill you in, Jack is probably my favorite character through this whole series so far. So you can understand the pterodactyl screeches that escaped my mouth once I had that knowledge.
In the first book, we learned that Nancy’s door led her somewhere cold and still, but the twin sisters’ door is different. The twins find themselves in the Moors, a place of neutral territory filled with werewolves, vampires, gargoyles, the sirens or the Drowned God worshippers, and even other monstrous creatures that lurk in the shadows of this place. All under the watchful eye of a crimson red moon! And naturally, there are many who reside in this world that are thrilled when children through their portal into this world of nightly terrors.
“The Moors were beautiful in their own way, and if their beauty was the quiet sort that required time and introspection to be seen, well, there was nothing wrong with that. The best beauty was the sort that took some seeking.”
When their twelve-years-old, Jack and Jill find themselves stumbling down the path to the door that leads them to the other world. The twins will stay for five years, though they desperately wish to stay forever. In this world, they’ll discover themselves, who they want to be, and even find the love they crave. In this world of frights and darkness, these twins will thrive because the most power thing a person can be is themselves, not what is forced upon them.
The atmosphere of this book is richly eerie, dark, but also something beautiful as McQuire’s writing threads together the world building. Reading this book, I had constant chills and various emotions running through me as I imagine the world coming to life on these pages. Just for the atmosphere alone, I loved it!
“Give ten children a toy box, and watch them select ten different toys, regardless of gender or religion or parental expectations. Children have preferences. The danger comes when they, as with any human, are denied those preferences for too long.”
There’s also a heavy theme of gender roles through out this book. We see how forcing these roles onto children can cause a lot of turmoil and stress on them as they try to fit into these molds. It’s okay to be a tom-boy, it’s okay to be a girly-girl, and more importantly, it’s okay to fall somewhere in between and be both. We should never feel like we’re defined by the world’s stereotype of genders. Growing up, when I was discovering myself, I was non-binary for a couple years of my teens. Not only that, by I struggled with realizing that I could be girly and tom-boyish. I could write on this topic for an eternity and just barely scratch the surface, but Seanan McGuire does such an excellent way of tackling this topic and approaching it with care, love, and a deep understanding.
While I have seen this in movies or on t.v. series, this is the first book I’ve read to have representation for Mysophobia/Germaphobia. This hits very close to home as one of my good friends does suffer from these phobias and from my experience with them, I can say that this is accurate to what I have witnessed and experienced with my interactions with my friend. I will also admit that there was a time in my life where I went through five and a half months of Mysophobia/Germaphobia. All I fully remember from that time was scrubbing myself raw until my skin would split open or I would wear gloves and hoodies because I didn’t like being touched or touched by anyone. So, I think if you want a book that shows good representation for these phobias, this is a good book to start off with.
And of course, there’s a lesbian romance in this book. What I didn’t expect was how much I would fall in love with that romance. The way Jack and Alexis loved one another. It was so wholesome, so pure , and despite their differences, they loved one another and their guardians loved them being together. It filled my heart with so much warmth and I want every book to have a wholesome romance like this one!
“The Moors exist in eternal twilight, in the pause between the lightning strike and the resurrection. They are a place of endless scientific experimentation, of monstrous beauty, and of terrible consequences.”
I truly, deeply, loved this book and the contents within these pages. The Moors is a piece of my own spooky heart and reading this book felt like a piece of home. And reading about two interesting characters, one of them being after my own heart, how could I not be enthralled with their story. I an’t wait to read the next book in the series and I have so many hopes, so many expectations, but I have no doubt that I will fall madly in love with it just as I have done with the first two.