ARC provided by Tor
“Hope is a vicious beast. It sinks in its claws and it doesn’t let go.”
I’ll be honest, I am still so extremely surprised to be giving a Wayward Children book less than five stars. I had the highest of hopes for this installment, because Jack and Jill’s story in Down Among the Sticks and Bones meant so very much to me. Sadly, this just left like a very unnecessary addition to their story, that lacked the depth, empathy, and happiness from before.
This book does pick up with Jack and Jill and their new life in the Moors, but this time Jill has managed to switch bodies with Jack and I’ll be honest, this was not a plot twist I expected nor wanted. But basically, Jill wants to become a vampire more than anything, and she needed a body that would be capable of becoming one. And Jack and Alexis think they need the help of their old friends to switch back their bodies before it is too late! (Even though, Jack very much takes care of everything in hindsight.)
I think what I love about this series is seeing these kids find their portal worlds, miss their portal worlds, return to their portal worlds, while discovering everything alongside them. I also really like being blown away by a discussion that is beautifully woven into the story seamlessly. Like the importance of surrounding yourself with people who love and accept you, gender roles and societies expectations of those roles, loving your body and the journey it can take to get there, and the value of fair trade! But this installment just felt like the message was just about friendship and how you can help each other and be there for people, and it truly felt very surface level for me.
This novella, like the whole series, is diverse. This story has characters of color, trans rep, fat rep, ocd rep, anxiety rep, disability rep, and a queer main relationship. Jack and Alexis really are great, but again, the body changing with her sister stuff had me a little uncomfortable, I won’t lie. The writing is also very beautiful, and what I’ve come to expect every time I pick up a Seanan McGuire story. But sadly, these two aspects were the only things I really loved from Come Tumbling Down.
I also feel like maybe another thing that hurt this story was that we focused on so many characters, leading up to a quest that was very messily done because this is a novella and it felt rushed in finishing it. Also, if you’re going to make the main plot point be about one of the main characters being willing to do unthinkable things to become a vampire, I’d really like to see some vampires before the very end of the story. I truly just felt so very let down by the Moors setting in this story, it’s actually unreal. And I truly believe this added nothing new to the series.
Overall, I’m just disappointed. This is truly one of my favorite series of all time, and now I’m going to go into Across the Green Grass Fields very cautiously with a lot less high hopes. Also, please for the love of god, I just want Kade’s story so badly. Please don’t give me another revisit that feels like a lesser version of the original in every single way.