Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Review | Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third book in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series.

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.
"There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door."

I enjoyed Beneath the Sugar Sky much more on my second read. Beneath the Sugar Sky is set in a nonsense world, and I think I struggled a bit the first time to really connect to the characters and the plot in a world filled with sugar and nonsense.. This time around, however, I was really invested in the characters and their mission to save Sumi.

Going back and rereading this series from the beginning, I'm struck by how connected the first three installments of the Wayward Children series is. I'm so glad to be making my way through these books again.

Beneath the Sugar Sky is the first sequel installment where we meet a brand-new character and head into a brand-new world, but we start our adventure at the school for Wayward Children with characters we already know and a problem we are sort of already familiar with. This is such a brilliant springboard for the rest of the series since the next few books throw us into new worlds with new characters and it will feel so familiar.

While there is still darkness in this volume, Beneath the Sugar Sky shows us how different these worlds can be. There are candy corn fields and grounds of graham crackers and oceans of soda, but the world is still dangerous and the stakes are still high. This story is about Rini who is in danger of disappearing and ceasing to exist, but I'm struck most by the story of Cora who used to be a mermaid in a world of reason. I feel like most readers can relate and see themselves in the characters of the Wayward Children books, and for me, I feel like I would belong to a world of reason and I would absolutely be at home as a mermaid. I just love Cora and I love the ending to Beneath the Sugar Sky.  

4/5 stars


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  1. I'd be tempted to do a re-read of this series, especially the standalones after spending time with the characters after they left their worlds. Down Among the Stick and Bones is my favourite and I think that's because of the order of introducing them, the backstory had more impact.

  2. I've only read a couple of this authors books but I liked the ones I've read so far. This sounds really good too.

  3. Maybe I should reread this too. It's my least favorite of the series so far, but I love hearing that it worked much better the second time.

  4. I really like that kindness quote!


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