Come Tumbling Down

- Seanan McGuire


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 was fond of saying—inasmuch as she was fond of saying anything predictable, sensible, or more than once—that her school had no graduates, only students who found somewhere else to do their learning for a time. Once a wayward child, always a wayward child. The school’s doors would always be open; the lost and the lonely would always be welcome, whenever they wanted to come home.


solid, good read:
Back in the dark and dangerous, Come Tumbling Down was so good.

Hope is a vicious beast. It sinks in its claws and it doesn’t let go.

When we opened on Christopher, I was very hopeful he was finally going to be returned to his Skeleton Girl, but I’m happy to settle for a return to the Moors. I felt that Jack and Jill’s story was very unfinished, so it’s nice to be able to draw it to a satisfying conclusion. And it is very satisfying, this quest for balance and death.

Sometimes Christopher thought any chance he’d had of falling for a girl with ordinary things like “skin” and “muscle tissue” and “a pulse” had ended with the soft, moist sound of Jack driving a pair of scissors through her sister’s horrible heart. He could have loved her in that moment, had loved her when she’d pulled the scissors free and used them to cut a hole in the wall of the world. She’d called her door out of nothingness, out of sororicide and hope, and she’d carried her sister’s body through it, into the bleeding light of a crimson moon.

He’d seen the Moors spreading out around her like a mother’s arms, welcoming their wayward daughter home. Sometimes he still saw them when he closed his eyes at night. And then the door had slammed, and the Wolcott sisters had been gone, and he’d been left behind. He’d hated her for having the chance to go home, and he’d loved her for taking it without looking back or hesitating, and his fate, such as it was, had been sealed. If Jack could go home, so could he. All he had to do was figure out how.

Come Tumbling Down does feel a little rushed, mostly because a lot happens in very little time, and sometimes I wish we could sit in the horrifying details a little longer.

There’s something about Sumi. If you asked me who my least favourite character is, she would be my go-to answer. And yet, the story wouldn’t exist, wouldn’t flow, wouldn’t feel right without her presence. Her insistence and her moral compass are so dependable, despite the deep Nonsense of her character, that everyone else seems heartless and cruel in comparison. But in no way is she gentle or sweet. Often her kindness comes with a sharp edge that makes it difficult to appreciate. I grapple with my opinion of Sumi more with each book, but Come Tumbling Down is the first where I’ve truly appreciated the value she provides.

Christopher had survived quite a few things in his seventeen years, from public school to cancer to a stint in a world peopled entirely by sentient, animate skeletons. He rolled to the side before the echoes of the crack had faded, pressing himself against the wall and hopefully out of the path of any further impossible lightning strikes. Not that “impossible” meant much around here. One of his closest friends was a temporarily bipedal mermaid; another was the crown prince of a goblin kingdom, and yet another was technically a candy construct brought back to life by a sort of demigoddess with a really large oven. Judging things based on their possibility wasn’t a good way to stay alive.

I love the Moors, and while I’m keen to read more about different worlds, I am sad that this seems to be the end of the road for this one.




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