Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire

Another novella for the Hugo ballot, which I probably wouldn't have read otherwise since I liked the previous book in this series (Every Heart a Doorway) in which the main characters in this book played a minor role, but wasn't completely blown away by it.

 

The basic premise of the universe in which these stories are set is the idea of a Door which people can travel through, in this case one which takes twin sisters Jacqueline and Jillian from their constricted life in our world through to one where they can be more themselves. Here, their lives are dictated by the idea held by their parents of who they ought to be, independent of who they actually are as individuals (and helped/not hindered by some extremely poor parenting choices all around). 

 

The particular Door used by the twins leads to a world where a vampire and a mad scientist take turns to raise whoever comes through it, at least until they are given a choice to return to their own world (or not). The appearance of twins messes with this arrangement and instead the girls are given the choice of who they will live with, both going against the roles their parents had proscribed for them, eventually with tragic results.

 

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a well-written novella with lots of attention paid to details, however it left me a little cold and I can't quite put my finger on why. Maybe it's that it has a certain number of points it wants to hit and does so in clinical succession, with no room for any other possible direction the plot could go. This novella will probably be just the ticket for plenty of readers but, alas, I am not one of them and will equally probably not be reading anything else in this universe.