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Friday, January 10, 2020

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Book 9/75

Come Tumbling Down
Wayward Children, Book 5
Published by Tor.Com Publishing
January 7, 2020
208 Pages • Hardcover
ISBN 978-0765399311 • $19.99

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Book description:
The fifth installment in New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire's award-winning Wayward Children series, Come Tumbling Down picks up the threads left dangling by Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones.

When Jack left Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister―whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice―back to their home on the Moors.

But death in their adopted world isn't always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.

Eleanor West's "No Quests" rule is about to be broken.


The Wayward Children Series
Book 1:
Every Heart a Doorway
Book 2:
Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Book 3:
Beneath the Sugar Sky
Book 4:
In an Absent Dream
Book 5:
Come Tumbling Down

Holy shit, Seanan McGuire doesn't disappoint in the fifth volume of her Wayward Children series. Picking up Jack and Jill's story from their introduction in Every Heart a Doorway and their backstory in Down Among the Sticks and Bones, we are returned to the Moors this time, and we are given a much wider view of this dark, terrifying, and beautiful world. This time out, there is another quest, even though Eleanor West continually forbids them, as Kade, Christopher, Cora, and Sumi help Jack take back something dear that Jill has stolen from her.

The continuing beauty of McGuire's Wayward Children, apart from her always fantastic narrative, is her inclusiveness with her characters. She makes such an important part of what makes these characters themselves, yet it doesn't feel forced. Sometimes I feel like authors have a checklist that they use to make sure they tick off all the important or proper points to show representation, and while this is needed in so many ways, it still comes off clumsy. McGuire writes her characters with such ease and understanding, it simply feels natural.

There is so much under the surface of Come Tumbling Down: what makes a person uniquely that person, and how devastating it can be when something happens to make that person not feel like themselves, however insignificant it may appear to others; how important it is to have people understand that every single person is unique, and surrounding yourself with people that understand you for who you are can make you so much stronger. It's OK to need help and to ask for it.

These characters are so near and dear to my heart. Sumi is becoming a favorite; her no bullshit view on life hides such a powerful caring for those around her, I think she's become one of the strongest characters in the series. And of course, Jack and Jill... I adore these girls and their crazy duality. I want to always see more of Kade, he's just so interesting to me.

As with all the books in this series, there is an overwhelming sense of hope throughout, but there is always a sense of sadness and loss that underlines this hope. We lose people in our lives, things are taken from us, life takes unexpected turns, but we can still find our way out of that loss.

This will always be the series that I push on my friends. I have reread the entire series before the release of each book next year, so some of the earlier are like dear friends I'm catching up with after a while. Another part of the magic of McGuire's writing: even after multiple readings, these books have not lost any of their magic.

I dearly hope that McGuire can continue writing these stories for years to come. There is so much potential, so many stories, so many characters that I want to learn more about: Kade & Christopher, Sumi's continuing story, more worlds to explore, Eleanor's finally going home. It will be a sad day when these stories come to their close, but it will also have been one hell of an adventure getting there.

Here is a handy outline of some of the portal worlds discovered so far in the series.

The books follow an every other pattern, one book set in the "now" at the school, the next telling a portal world story about one of the students, then back to the school.
  1. Every Heart a Doorway (2016): At the school
  2. Down Among the Sticks and Bones (2017): Jack and Jill's portal story
  3. Beneath the Sugar Sky (2018): Back at the school
  4. In an Absent Dream (2019): Lundy's portal story
  5. Come Tumbling Down (2020): Back at the school and dealing with Jack & Jill's current development

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