This is book two of the Wayward Children series, and I may even have enjoyed it more than the first. The series follows a group of children and their experiences entering these fantastical worlds much like the wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia. Doors appear to children in need and take them to a world that best suits them. This is important because they are not all a realm of happy ever after. There are world that bend the human psyche and worlds that are more dangerous than we know.
If you read the first book (if you haven’t, you should!), you will be familiar with our main characters, Jack (Jacqueline ) and Jill (Jillian). In the first book, they are just minor characters, and in Sticks and Bones, we get to see their story. In Every Heart, I loved it for the concept and the “world” more than the story itself. It played with the idea of how children are to cope in the real world once they’ve left the worlds of magic. Here, I love the story because of the world we are in.
I’ve never read Jekyll & Hyde, but I can’t help but think of it. Our two central other-world characters aren’t the same person (spoilers), but they represent two distinctly different mindsets in the world. For the rest of this paragraph, I am going to do a slight overview of the world with only as much detail as we got from the first book. We have a “good” doctor and a much darker “Master.” The master is, very obviously to us, a vampire, and he has control over the town.
This wasn’t a horror story, but it was deliciously dark. I love the idea of dark worlds existing alongside the good. I had this terrible idea of the Hellraiser Cenobite dimension existing in this world. Of course, that doesn’t belong in a child’s world, but the whole concept behind Hellraiser is about an underlying desire that may get you more than you really wanted. There is just so much freedom in this world McGuire has made, and I can’t help but love it.
The story itself follows the two twins, Jack and Jill. From the start, we get a great picture of the type of parents they have, and that is a great way to introduce us to what this story really is. It isn’t just a fantastical tale. It is a story about how life shapes a young child, and it is how life can warp an innocent mind and turn it so very dark. Hinting at this, isn’t a spoiler because it’s discussed in the first novel. We know the broad strokes just not the finer details.
I loved the book for all of it. This was a story set in one of my new favorite fictional “worlds.” It is unique and dark, and it explores the nature of people. I can’t wait to read the next one! 5/5 stars.