In Mercy, Rain

- Seanan McGuire


Jack Wolcott was only twelve years old when she and her twin sister Jill, descended the impossible staircase and found herself in the Moors, a world of drowned gods and repugnant royals.

After abandoning her sister to a vampire lord, and under the tutelage of a mad scientist who can do impossible things with flesh and living lightning, Jack quickly learns that in the Moors, death is merely a suggestion.

This short story can be found here.



Jack Wolcott was twelve years old when she descended an impossible staircase tucked away inside her grandmother’s old costume chest and found herself in the sort of wild, magical land that people who had never once been to wild, magical lands enjoyed writing stories about.


absolute favourite:

It’s surprising how much vitriol there is about a free short story. I will never understand how anyone could get tired of reading about the Moors or Jack. While I may wish for adventures involving some of the more neglected characters (one day I will get more about Christopher and living skeletons… one day), I will take any extra moments with Jack I can get.

It could be easy, when sunk in the dance of herbs and simples, scalpels and stitches, to forget that they were both fated to be monsters if they remained here.

McGuire took a brief period of time we already know about and zoomed in, adding more detail and refocusing the lens. We get to see Jack and Jill from Dr Bleak’s perspective, and while we’ve met Alexis before, here we get the meeting that started their relationship. Only McGuire could write a meet-cute involving death and resurrection and have it be so incredibly sweet and perfect.

"I’m not going back, either. The door we found said to be sure, and I’ve never been as sure of anything as I am that I belong here. I’m going to stay here for the rest of my life, and someday this is going to be my protectorate, my windmill, and I’m going to dance with the lightning and laugh with the thunder, and no one will ever tell me I look like my sister again."

There’s so much packed into In Mercy, Rain. We get to explore more of Jack’s feelings about the world and her family left behind, and we’re introduced more to Dr Bleak’s belief in balance and the Moon (for a pseudo-religion, it’s as beautiful as it is harsh).

"Did you forget where you come from, little girl? Did you forget that the Moon gives you everything you have and will one day take everything away from you? Did you forget that we—all of us—serve at Her whim, and have nothing more than She allows us? You are here due to love and science in equal measure, for I don’t love you enough to summon a storm on your behalf, and your parents lack the patience and training needed to summon lightning to your veins. Be grateful for what you have, and leave the dead to their own devices."

I always end up gushing over McGuire's writing, and In Mercy, Rain is no exception. For all those reviewers out there speaking for others saying that we don’t want any more stories about Jack and Jill and the Moors, don’t include me; I’ll take every story I can get.




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