Book review · novella

Book review: Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3), by Seanan McGuire

03 beneath the sugar skyDescription: (from Macmillan)

Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children in a standalone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts.

Expected publication: January 9th 2018.
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher. Some things might change in the final copy.

I think this might be my favourite of the series so far!? It’s so hard to know because this series has everything I want. This one contains a diverse cast of characters, a quest, a candy kingdom, friendship, creepy and nonsense vibes…

The official description of the novella makes it seem like Rini is going to be the main character this time but she isn’t really. The story focuses on a group, with an emphasis on Cora, a fat girl with blue and green hair, who was a mermaid in the world her door lead her in. I think her voice, her worries, struggle, and pride with her weight was a big part of why I loved Beneath the Sugar Sky. She’s so believable and relatable, with thoughts that many will recognize themselves in. I even showed some of the quotes to a friend in class because I was too excited about it and needed to gush about the series.

“She didn’t like the idea that people who already has socially acceptable bodies would get the adventures, too. She knew it was a small and petty thought, one she shouldn’t have had in the first place, much less indulged, but she couldn’t stop herself.”

I went into this third instalment without  reading the description, and I was really happy to see that this wasn’t a backstory (though I would ALSO have been happy with a backstory: win-win) but picked up months after the events of Every Heart a Doorway. It actually deals with the actual events of this first book because <spoiler from first book> getting Sumi back from the dead is the central plot of the novella. For the reminder, Sumi died in Every Heart in a gruesome manner <end spoiler>. Cora wasn’t there when it happened so it is also a good way, when the characters quickly explained things to her, to let new readers starting with this one not to be lost. Though I would still recommend to read in order.

“Quests were like dogs, Cora thought. They were much more attractive when seen from a distance, and not barking in the middle of the night or pooping all over the house.”

(I found this quote very funny, knowing from her twitter account how much of a cat person the author is!)

The quest is a race against time, since because of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, sort of in a Back to the future way, parts of Rini’s body are disappearing slowly. It’s a quest going from logical to nonsense worlds, through door and doors, each teen’s story and special thing being featured the exact right amount of time.

I also loved how this novella enlighten us a bit more about the way those worlds and doors work, bringing us more knowledge and world building without seeming to. It hints at more from the past, and more and more things that are yet to be understood and comprehended. I’m really excited for more stories in the Wayward Children series!

“Do you really want to be a skeleton?” she blurted. Christopher shrugged. “Everybody’s a skeleton someday.”

Don’t get fooled by the sweet colourful cover of this instalment, this is still Seanan McGuire writing and she instills a bit of weird in her writing, a bit of macabre and dark elements.
Most of my favourite quotes could be seen as spoilery, and most should be called “passages” since they’re so long: basically I wish I could quote the whole novella. I loved it and totally recommend it to anyone who think this could be their thing, or to anyone who maybe was disappointed that the second book was set in the past, or again to someone who was hoping to see more of the worlds behind the doors.

I hope this series of magical novellas will continue with many more beautifully long titles and gorgeously doory covers.

I didn’t have the illustrations in my eARC and remembered about them afterward so here, take a look and be amazed at the amazing art that will grace the pages of this book: Illustrated Scenes from Seanan McGuire’s Beneath the Sugar Sky

Content warnings: mentions of suicide, suicide attempt, drowning, death

2 thoughts on “Book review: Beneath the Sugar Sky

    1. Haha I understand! I tried to not write any spoilers but there are also some books for which I don’t want to see any review and get my own feelings!
      I can’t wait to know how you liked (or no!) this one!!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s