Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
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