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A crimson curtain call

A crimson curtain call


As a child, I remember my cousins and other kids astounding me by running their fingers quickly through an open flame and coming out unscathed. Once I’d come around to the idea that it wouldn’t scald your fingerprints straight off, I still couldn’t grasp that I could do it and be fine. I trusted these chubby-cheeked kids that I wouldn’t get hurt, but once my index finger was millimeters away and swiping toward the burning orange, I immediately withdrew.

In my mind, Pippa Fitz-Amobi is one of the chubby-cheeked kids. I am positive she’s been toying with fire since her youth, curious and opinionated. The thing that isn’t debatable is that she’s doing more than playing with fire now. In the past two books, she’s sprinted over burning coals and handled flamethrowers with only some slightly singed eyebrows to show for it. She’s put herself in danger by association and has catapulted herself out into a world of malicious people in her desperate attempts to uncover the truth and do good. In this story, she’s running down a narrowing hallway and praying that she doesn’t become the next true crime for some other woman to unravel years later. She is the hunted.

Now she must keep her wits about her amidst the repeated message of the person she realizes is not only antagonizing her online but in real life too: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?

As I mentioned previously, the second book of the series is undoubtedly my favorite. However, this book is emotionally wrought in ways that none of the two previous books were able to achieve. The immersion of reading becomes even more terrifying as the layer of protection between Pip and her cases disappears…it’s a sort of jarring fourth wall break in which the audience also must come to terms with being seen not as an obstacle to the killer, but as their objective.

This book takes on what should be more than it can chew, but, by the first 100 pages, is asking for seconds. Holly Jackson’s food for thought through Pip is remarkable: at what point must morals dissolve in order to survive?

From what I’ve seen, some readers were disappointed in how this book took apart Pip’s character and reassembled it in the new circumstances, saying she was “out of character” in the choices she made throughout this story. To that, I say: isn’t a character even more realistic and well-rounded if there are moments in which they break the mold we’ve cast them into?

What an astounding finale to this series. The entire trilogy took my breath away.

Content warnings can reveal major spoilers in this story, so I’d recommend checking if you have any concerns. Stay safe.

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About the Contributor
Jules Kado '24
Jules Kado '24, Web Editor
For Jules Kado ’24, writing for The Tower has been a long time coming. Ever since she was a child, Kado has had a passion for writing. “I would carry around a little notebook with me when I was a kid and write down little stories,” Kado said. “So when I got to South, I knew journalism was definitely for me.” Kado has enjoyed writing for The Tower so much that she now plans to explore a future in journalism. She also hopes to one day become a published writer. Now in her second year on staff, Kado is taking on the role of web editor, a position she is very excited to try out. Kado is extremely confident that there are more doors than wheels in the world.

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