(it's important to mention that this rating is for the audio book. If I read the physical copy I'd have probably given this 3.75 stars)
Seanan McGuire and me don't go well together, apparently. I was perfectly content in giving up this series after book one (which I gave 2.25 stars to), but then I saw an audio book of it on Libby and thought "why not?". Big mistake.
I was ready to DNF the audio book of this after about 30 seconds in. After the marvelous narrations of McLeod Andrews and Rebecca Soler (of the two previous books that I audio'd) this felt like nails on a chalkboard.
Now, I know it's probably unbelievably rude to say this, as the book is narrated by the author herself, but that is just how it felt. For starters, she reads way too fast. I could only listen to small chunks of it before getting a huge headache from concentrating so hard (and yes, rewinding sometimes). And I thought I was a fast talker! Then, she inhales audibly before reading a particularly large chunk of a paragraph in that one breath. Cringe! Lastly, the volume - some things are read so low that I had to turn up my volume, and then immediately followed by the loudest screeching in my ear causing me to lower it down immediately. And then repeat the whole process.
However, after about an hour or so it seemed that she found her perfect speed and slowed down a bit - so at least I was able to listen to it without giving myself a giant headache.
So that was my experience with the audio of this book. Would I have liked it better if I read it instead of listening? Yes. But the whole point of me giving this series another chance was because audio book didn't require anything of me and I could listen to it without taking away from my actual reading time.
I also should mention the main reason of why I'm not a good audience for these books - the "telling not showing" style does not work for me. At all. If I'm reading a fantasy book (be it a novel, or a novella in this case) I don't want to be told of an adventure - I want to experience it. I don't want to be pointedly reminded of reasons why things are happening, or how am I as a reader should be reacting to these things.
For a book that short Down Among the Sticks and Bones felt extremely repetitive. I cannot even begin to count how many times something about "sisters drifting further apart because of their parents" was mentioned. Over and over again. Yes, their parents are dicks. Yes I get it, I can make these connections all on my own, now move on with the plot, please.
All of that negativity aside, I did enjoy the story itself. I liked the atmosphere, and I liked the bleakness of it all. I liked Jack, a lot. I did not like Jill. At all. I liked Dr. Bleak, of course. I hated their parents, who wouldn't?
As with Every Heart a Doorway, I found something to really dislike - Jack's complete inability to physically interact. Now, don't get me wrong - I absolutely get why she was like that, and for the most part I was really on board with it. But what I couldn't condone is Jack thinking that her "condition" was absolutely justified and that Alexis had to just live with it. She didn't think of Alexis's feelings, or how Alexis needed pure uncovered physical contact just as much as Jack couldn't give it to her. And I mean "bath, tooth brushing, flossing and medical exam" (WTF??) before she would even touch her girlfriend? If that is not messed up, I don't know what is.
I'm not sure if I'll continue further along with the series, I might. I am truly curious about the characters and the plot intertwining throughout all of the books, it's just the execution of it all is what I'm not so keen on. But we will see.