Book Review: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Posted February 28, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
Genres: Fantasy
Published by Tor Books on January 7, 2020
Pages: 206
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Chimes at Midnight, Indexing, The Winter Long, The InCryptid Prequels, Pocket Apocalypse, A Red Rose Chain, Reflections, Once Broken Faith, "Dreams and Slumbers", Chaos Choreography, Magic For Nothing, Indigo, Every Heart a Doorway, The Brightest Fell, "Of Things Unknown", Beneath the Sugar Sky, Night and Silence, "Suffer a Sea-change", The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork", Tricks for Free, That Ain't Witchcraft, "The Measure of a Monster", The Unkindest Tide, "Hope is Swift", Imaginary Numbers, "Follow the Lady", "The Fixed Stars", "Forbid the Sea", "No Sooner Met", Across the Green Grass Fields

Fifth in The Wayward Children fantasy series and revolving around misfit children who fell into other worlds…and came back. The focus is on Jack Wolcott.

My Take

It’s mysterious and ooky, and all together spooky… I know, I know, Come Tumbling Down is a bit like the Munsters, and McGuire dives right in to creeping you out with Jack’s matter-of-fact creepiness.

The brash Sumi is a fascinating — in a horrifying sort of way — character who finds the “joy” in EVERYthing and is very practical in her outlook. I think it explains why she did so well in Confection, a Nonsense world with rules.

“Doing something you know could get you hurt because it’s how things are done isn’t smart.”

I can’t object to Jack’s point about the mind exchange — putting a person’s mind into the body that would make them happier. Only, I can also see where it could go wrong. I can also understand why Jack doesn’t want to be in Jill’s body after Kade explains it. Yeah…ick…

Of course, Kade also makes a very creepy point about how Jack would enjoy being a vampire…more ick… Dang, but McGuire does have fun with the clichés of horror!

“Whoever said heroism was fair?”

McGuire uses third person global subjective point-of-view, so we hear from various characters, but the primary perspectives are with Christopher at the start and then Jack when we get to the Moors.

I’m with most of the characters — I’d want to leave the Moors too! It’s a ghastly place where body-snatching is one of those traditional rules and death occurs much too easily.

I’m surprised that McGuire raised (and ignored) that point about Alexis being trapped with Jack. Maybe she’ll address it in a future installment??

While there’s a tension in Come Tumbling Down, it’s not as intense as the previous stories. Some of the events in this are too easy. I also felt rather lost, as if I should have re-read the previous stories. Of course, then I discovered that I had missed In an Absent Dream, 4, which may account for it.

Oh, there’s action and it’s all driven by the characters’ personalities. Sumi is very much her own person, giggly and logical, while Christopher is more of a gentle boy who dreams of bones, and Jack, who is so coldly matter-of-fact in that mad-scientist way.

In some ways the prose is slow only because I got lost in events…and it’s so creepy!

“What’s the point of knowing how to pervert science to your own ends if you can’t use it selfishly every once in a while?”

The Story

It’s a rescue! Jack is desperate to get her body back before the next full Moon, and she needs her friends from Miss West’s Home for Wayward Children to help.

The Characters

Jacqueline “Jack” Wolcott (who prefers male clothing) is an OCD apprentice mad scientist to Dr Bleak. Her very creepy, murdering, too-too selfish twin is Jillian “Jill”, the “beloved” of her Master (Down Among the Sticks and Bones, 2). Alexis Chopper is Jack’s resurrected fiancée (Down Among the Sticks and Bones) who’d been murdered by Jill.

Home for Wayward Children…
…is a boarding school set up by the very old Eleanor West, a.k.a., Ely West, for children who have been lost. Who are waiting. Hoping to find their door and go back. A hero, Kade Bronson is now Kade West, Eleanor’s second-in-command, her nephew, and her heir — and the Goblin Prince in Waiting after visiting Prism, also in Every Heart a Doorway. Lundy had been a therapist in Every Heart a Doorway, 1.

Christopher Flores carries his bone flute, an ulna, he brought back (Every Heart a Doorway, 1) from the Country of the Bones, Mariposa, where his Skeleton Girl lives. Her parents dead, Sumi Onishi, who can read sign, had gone to a high Nonsense world, Confection, in Beneath the Sugar Sky, 3. Rini will be Sumi’s daughter. One day. Cora is, temporarily, not a mermaid since her return from the Trenches in Beneath the Sugar Sky.

Nancy Whitman, who had introduced us to the series in Every Heart a Doorway, has gone back to the Halls of the Dead. Nadya, a Drowned Girl, had been Cora’s best friend.

The Moors are…
…an alternate plane of existence reached through a door. A land of eternal twilight of endless scientific experimentation and terrible consequences, surrounded by werewolves, gargoyles, and the Drowned Gods, and ruled in a teetering balance between Dr. Michel Bleak, a mad scientist, and the Master, a vampire. Mary is the Master’s housekeeper. Pony and Bones are the horses Jack created.

Gideon is the High Priest of the Drowned Gods and is based in the Drowned Abbey. Drs Ghast and Frost were the scientists before Bleak.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a bit confusing with its cheery looking green moor, the blue sky, and the distant mountains in a deep purple gray. The rest makes sense, though, with an old hand-hewn door in the center of the cover, the purple and white lightnings flashing around it — it us the inciting incident in the book that starts it all. I’m not sure about the white blurry dots scattered all over the cover. All the text is in white from the title at the very top of the cover with a tiny testimonial to the right of the first word. The author’s name is at the bottom with an info blurb below that.

The title may be referring to what happens to Kade, Cora, and Jill, as they Come Tumbling Down.

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2 responses to “Book Review: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

    • Well, Bea, yes and no. It’s an intriguing idea, and I am curious as to where McGuire is going to take the series. And it does drive me nuts. It is unlikely to ever be one that I buy.

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