At long last, I have read this book. Chantel kept shouting at me to read it and here I am. She told me that it was better than the first book, the best in the series thus far, and just overall stronger in plot, characters, etc. Which I totally agree on. This book is the strongest so far. But I still can’t give it more than 4.5 stars.
With a book so short, it’s difficult to get everything on the page that needs to be. You have to pick and choose the most important parts. And, I thought that this book spent a lot of time on set-up. As in, a whole huge chunk of the book was just getting to them going to the world. I felt like that could have been narrowed down by a whole lot. It was largely unneeded, to me. From the first chapter, I understood what kind of parents Jack and Jill had. While the writing and quotes from that part were great, it didn’t add anything to the story.
Another thing I wish had happened was that things that became important by the end were actually in the story.
For example, it was mentioned that a minor character helped Jack realize that her sister was still human. She humanized Jill. Yet, it wasn’t really on the page. It was mentioned and I couldn’t remember reading it. While it was a gut punch and you could feel Jack’s struggle to keep her sister human in her mind, it still should have been on the page. It made the ending somewhat unreal since I didn’t see this humanization that made Jack do what she did.
My last complaint was that I would have loved to see more of Jill’s life and times. Sure, it was probably much of the same stuff. It was probably the same things day in and day out, but I still wanted to see her slowly become desensitized to what she was seeing. Again, that would have humanized her since my only experience of her from the two books is that she is distinctly inhuman.
All of that being said, it’s still a 4.5 book. I loved how it took place in the actual world the kids go to. I think it works best that way because you can show the character development and the character through their world since the world is there for the person. So, I can only hope that some of the next books actually take place in the world.
Jack and Jill were also the most developed characters from the first book. When I read the first book, it felt like the main characters weren’t developed enough but that Jack and Jill were. Just by reading them, you could tell that there was a whole backstory with them. And I’m so glad this book came out to show that.
Lastly, I think this really captures familial relationships. Sometimes, you hate the people you love the most. And it really captured the fraught struggle of twins. I’m not one but I can only imagine how difficult it is. Trying to separate yourself from them, especially if you’re identical. I really loved how McGuire didn’t shy away from showing that.
I know I mainly complained about the ways that could have made the book better, but it’s a very solid book. There are so many glowing reviews of it (which is why you should totally read Chantel’s) that I wanted to say what might have made it even better and bumped it up to a five star book.