Skip to main content

Come Tumbling Down


Come Tumbling Down

Twin sisters Jack and Jill Wolcott most recently left Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children after an act of sororicide. But leaving this world for their home in the Moors meant that Jill’s death was anything but permanent. And now, after lightning strikes in Christopher’s room, some of West’s students learn that things have gotten even stranger, more complicated and more dangerous for Jack and Jill in the Moors. Jack, along with her partner Alexis, returns to her old bedroom, the one that Christopher now sleeps in, to ask for help defeating Jill, who has stolen Jack’s body and is hoping to become a vampire, once and for all.

If this all sounds a bit over the top, don’t worry. COME TUMBLING DOWN is the latest installment in Seanan McGuire’s fantastic Wayward Children series, and the magic, marvels and murder are all handled with poetry, grace and humor.

"[T]he magic, marvels and murder are all handled with poetry, grace and humor.... The writing is as strong as ever, even when the story is a bit less compelling."

There can only ever be two monsters in the Moors, the dark and dangerous land that Jack and Jill know to be their true home. Jill has aligned herself with her vampiric master, becoming his bloodthirsty daughter and devotee, whereas Jack is the student of Dr. Michael Bleak, a scientist whose work is focused on healing and restoration as well as resurrection. As Jack knows all too well, death is not necessarily the end in the Moors. But she is learning that switching bodies with her sister may not be something she can survive.

So, with Christopher and three other Wayward Children --- Sumi, Kade and Cora --- in tow, Jack and Alexis head back to the Moors to confront Jill and try to defeat her before she becomes a monster in Jack’s body. Alexis, a woman who already has been brought back from death more than once, must stay at the windmill home she shares with Jack and Dr. Bleak. When Jack discovers the grisly demise Dr. Bleak recently met, she is all the more determined to defeat Jill and her vampiric master.

When Christopher, Kade, Sumi and Cora come through the door Jack opens from the school to the Moors, they are immediately struck by the dark and bleak landscape. But as teens who all crossed otherworldly thresholds as children, they understand the appeal and importance of this world for Jack, even if it seems gloomy and terrible to them. Cora learns that the sea that laps the shores here calls to her almost as strongly as in her own home world. But Jack has little time or patience to keep Cora safe. With or without any of her school companions, she will march toward the battle that awaits her.

COME TUMBLING DOWN is a lovely addition to this fantasy series. The writing is as strong as ever, even when the story is a bit less compelling. Readers who have been with Jack and Jill since the impressive DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES will not be disappointed in the resolutions McGuire offers --- though admittedly the confrontation between the body-switched sisters is less dramatic than one might expect. Other Wayward characters get moments in the spotlight, too.

At first blush, this short novel (with four nice black-and-white illustrations by Rovina Cai) is all about a quick and daring adventure to right some wrongs and address long-simmering sibling rivalries. But McGuire also asks readers to ponder some complex questions and unpack themes, such as loyalty, bravery, identity and the meaning of home. COME TUMBLING DOWN is a real pleasure to read.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on January 17, 2020

Come Tumbling Down
by Seanan McGuire

  • Publication Date: January 7, 2020
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher:
  • ISBN-10: 0765399318
  • ISBN-13: 9780765399311