Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world. Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic....

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Title:Beneath the Sugar Sky
Author:Seanan McGuire
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Beneath the Sugar Sky Reviews

  • Bradley

    Modern fairy tales. Gotta love them, especially when they take twelve core hearts and totally run with them, allowing an almost meta world-building full of magical doors taking the young at heart (or obsessional) directly to their best dreamland. :)

    This third book in the Wayward Children novellas doesn't disappoint. It's Candy Crush land and Mermaids, with a little mix of the skeletal dead and some time travel. Everything a fantasy lover needs, right? Right!

    And I think I liked this one a bit mor

    Modern fairy tales. Gotta love them, especially when they take twelve core hearts and totally run with them, allowing an almost meta world-building full of magical doors taking the young at heart (or obsessional) directly to their best dreamland. :)

    This third book in the Wayward Children novellas doesn't disappoint. It's Candy Crush land and Mermaids, with a little mix of the skeletal dead and some time travel. Everything a fantasy lover needs, right? Right!

    And I think I liked this one a bit more than book 2. :) It had more of the characters I loved and better emphasis on what I loved the most in the first book: the doors and the obsession and the quirk. :)

    As I said, it's a fully modern fairy tale with the essence of fairies spiriting away little children, adults losing the magic, and the whole idea that wanting something hard enough or just BELIEVING hard enough will bring you right where you need to be. :) It's quite pretty, but don't start assuming this is totally light. It's not. It's quite dark at times. :)

    In other words, fantastic! Seanan always satisfies. :)

  • Melanie

    1.)

    ★★★★★

    2.)

    ★★★★★

    This is my 100th review of 2017! And I couldn’t have picked a better book!

    is another amazing installment in the

    series and it starts out right back at Eleanor West's magical boarding school. And this book heavily centers around one of my favorite characters from

    , Sumi!

    1.)

    ★★★★★

    2.)

    ★★★★★

    This is my 100th review of 2017! And I couldn’t have picked a better book!

    is another amazing installment in the

    series and it starts out right back at Eleanor West's magical boarding school. And this book heavily centers around one of my favorite characters from

    , Sumi!

    This series is a portal fantasy, that surrounds kids that have traveled to magical lands, but somehow found their way back to our world. For the most part, the kids want to go back to their magical lands, so they reside at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, while waiting and hoping for their door to reappear for them. In this story, we get to see a lot of different portal worlds. And we get to see many beloved and familiar faces, while also learning about some new characters and their different magical worlds.

    (Breathtaking art by the amazing

    !)

    – plus sized, has anxiety, from the Land Beneath the Lake, which is a Mermaid land!

    – missing an arm, from Belyyreka, a Drowned World.

    – Mexican-American, had cancer, from Mariposa, a skeleton Underworld.

    – Japanese, from Confection.

    – Trans, from a warring Fairyland! (Full disclosure, Kade has been my favorite character since the very first book in this series. His story speaks to the very essence of my heart, and I love everything about him. Kade is one of the best characters in all of literature, and I wish everyone could read about him and his journey, and I just had to emphasize how very important he is to me.)

    And even though we dabble in many portal worlds, this story mostly takes place in Confection, which is pretty much a real-life version of

    . It’s sugar, it’s sweet, and it’s downright dangerous.

    And as you can probably tell from my breakdown above, every book is this series has amazing diversity and representation, and this book is no different. From race, to sexuality, to mental illnesses, to body representation, to physical disabilities, to religious representation, this series has it all. And it’s seamlessly woven and never feels exploitative. And this particular book has the best overweight representation I’ve ever read, or even seen, in my entire life.

    This book is a masterpiece that I feel so very privileged and blessed to be able to read. This book is the perfect mixture of whimsical and important. This book is about acceptance and love, and how we all are always on a search for it. And I hope you all pick this book up come January of 2018.

    This series means so much to me that I feel like I’m at a loss for words. I’ve never read anything like this before, and I can’t sing this series’ praises enough! I love this world, and I recommend these books with my whole heart. Thank you, Seanan McGuire, for writing a once in a lifetime series that means so much to so many! I will cherish this series for my entire life.

    And I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    *4.5/5

    I love this series so much. I want a hundred books.

  • Emily May

    It's not often I give books in a series three five stars in a row, but these stories just speak to an inner part of me - the curious, feminist adventurer who longed for nothing more than to follow Lucy through

    It's not often I give books in a series three five stars in a row, but these stories just speak to an inner part of me - the curious, feminist adventurer who longed for nothing more than to follow Lucy through that wardrobe into Narnia, or Harry through the barrier leading to Platform 9 3/4.

    If you enjoyed the first two books -

    and

    - I see no reason not to like this. McGuire is back with a new story, featuring some familiar faces and some newbies too. This latest adventure in the portal world sees the characters heading into the land of Confection (Candy Land, in other words), a place described in almost sickening sweetness, from its Strawberry Sea to spun sugar ropes.

    Given that this is only a novella, I won't give away too much about the story. I will say, though, that it is compelling, made ever more so by the gorgeous writing. And more than this, the diverse cast of characters come bounding off the pages. McGuire writes teens with diverse skin colours, ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities and disabilities. In this book, she also focuses on issues of weight and its accompanying anxiety, through Cora, who has always felt pressure from others to diet and assumptions that her size is due to lack of restraint or laziness.

    Lots of authors are trying to break into the feminist fairy tale trend these days, but so far I don't think any of them have been as successful as McGuire. These stories are enchanting and hopeful, but underneath they are extremely important, too.

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  • karen

    i love this series so dingdang much. it’s true that i gave this one four stars instead of the five stars i gave to the other two, but it’s a really high four stars. there’s been no decline in writing quality, character development, or worldbuilding, not even a little bit. the

    thing i liked

    less here than the first two books is that it’s a slightly less dark tone on top of a quest storyline, and quest

    i love this series so dingdang much. it’s true that i gave this one four stars instead of the five stars i gave to the other two, but it’s a really high four stars. there’s been no decline in writing quality, character development, or worldbuilding, not even a little bit. the

    thing i liked

    less here than the first two books is that it’s a slightly less dark tone on top of a quest storyline, and quest storylines can be a little predictable: go here, get this, locate this other thing, go here, add this. it’s like a recipe, which is very fitting, considering that this time, we are (mostly) in the nonsense/reason world of Confection, where everything is made of cake and candy and soda and cookies. i’m not usually into quests, but i am VERY into candy, so i love this world, with its butterscotch insects and candy corn fields. and by “slightly less dark,” i mean

    less dark. bad things can happen even in a world with chocolate quarries. and they will.

    but wonderful things also happen here, like the return of some characters from

    , plus new characters and new worlds to look forward to visiting in future books (RIGHT?), and the perfectly balanced blend of humor and melancholy so much a part of this series, along with some dialogue you’re not gonna find elsewhere:

    as always, the concept of many doorways/many worlds is an ancillary approach to the diversity theme, where characters who are all drawn to worlds with different magical attributes themselves have different real-world attributes: race, ethnicity, sexual or gender identity, body type, number of limbs, and in this one - basic corporeality; one character fading out of existence, one being built back into existence layer by layer.

    rini is wonderfully fierce, and full of reasonable nonsense:

    and overall, it's another bizarre, surreal, fun, unexpected book in a series i love more than any other.

    may it go on and on and on and on and on

    ****************************************

    tor just posted excerpts and interior illustrations here:

    here is one:

    ****************************************

    i just want to capture this for posterity, because while i know this is just a teasing, placeholder synopsis:

    i kind of love it.

    GIVE TO ME THIS NONSENSE!!

  • Trina (Between Chapters)

    I was sent an advance copy of this book from the publisher and it was the first time I had read the print format of this series. I listened to the first two books on audio. Both formats are delightful and well suited to McGuire's storytelling.

    The series is absolutely wonderful and darkly whimsical. This installment goes back to Eleanor West's school and we spend a lot of time with characters we knew from the first book, as well as some new characters as they all embark on a quest. I really enjo

    I was sent an advance copy of this book from the publisher and it was the first time I had read the print format of this series. I listened to the first two books on audio. Both formats are delightful and well suited to McGuire's storytelling.

    The series is absolutely wonderful and darkly whimsical. This installment goes back to Eleanor West's school and we spend a lot of time with characters we knew from the first book, as well as some new characters as they all embark on a quest. I really enjoyed the new world we got to explore and the story was compelling - I kept wanting to know how they would pull off their goal.

    I'm docking a star because I *personally* did not enjoy the representation of a fat main character. It wasn't anything malicious or harmful, in fact it felt very genuine, relateable, and actively defies stereotypes. My issue was just that it was much too heavy handed. 80%+ of this character's page time is spent reminding us that she's fat. In a book this short, it made it seem like there wasn't much else to her character. There are other minority characters (trans, Latinx, asexual, disabled, Japanese) whose identities are not harped on this heavily so Cora's weight just felt unfairly emphasized, like she was being reduced to just this one thing, even though it was portrayed positively. I just wanted to know more about her because OMG she's a mermaid and I NEED a future book about her world! Anyway, this is just how it struck me and like I said I think many people will find it relateable, and I do *definitely* appreciate getting fat rep in amazing characters and series.

    Overall, I wouldn't hesitate one second to recommend this book/series! This book may be 4 stars, but it's a 5 star series overall to me.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    This series just keeps getting better.

    - ★★★

    - ★★★★.75 stars

    - ★★★★.5 stars

    This is seriously

    I've ever come across in YA and I want 10,000 more of these novellas. But wow, let me just gush about this series for a little while.

    Maybe my favorite thing is how expansive the worldbuilding has gotten. We've explored so many worlds and so many different people, and I just keep getting more interested. I am

    This series just keeps getting better.

    - ★★★

    - ★★★★.75 stars

    - ★★★★.5 stars

    This is seriously

    I've ever come across in YA and I want 10,000 more of these novellas. But wow, let me just gush about this series for a little while.

    Maybe my favorite thing is how expansive the worldbuilding has gotten. We've explored so many worlds and so many different people, and I just keep getting more interested. I am rarely this invested in a certain world, but

    .

    For example, now we know it's not just nonsense and logic. There's also confection, which is nonsense with rules. I don't even want to know what nonsense will be like. And of course, there's the loose underworld / higher world binary. It's all just really interesting.

    I'm also really loving the

    presented here. Book one talks about women in society, being trans, and being ace. Book two talks about gender roles with the added addition of a lesbian character. Now we're in book three and we're talking about disabilities and how society treats fat people. Early on I wished this series could be a more racially diverse, but this novella improved a lot on that aspect.

    I think we might get a few more of these novellas, actually, considering how open that ending was. So, quick recap of everything in this book and all the last for the next time I read one of these.

    .

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  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    On sale now! the sequel to

    and

    . Final review, first posted on

    :

    In

    , the third book in Seanan McGuire’s WAYWARD CHILDREN series, we return to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, that haven for children and teens who once found their way through portals to other, magical worlds but have been involuntarily returned to ours. At Eleanor West’s boarding school, at least they find others who believe them

    On sale now! the sequel to

    and

    . Final review, first posted on

    :

    In

    , the third book in Seanan McGuire’s WAYWARD CHILDREN series, we return to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, that haven for children and teens who once found their way through portals to other, magical worlds but have been involuntarily returned to ours. At Eleanor West’s boarding school, at least they find others who believe them and empathize, and desperately hope with them for a way to return to a magic world where they truly felt they belonged.

    At Eleanor’s there’s a new girl, Cora, cautiously making her way through the halls and through daily life. Cora’s been teased and abused as overweight all her days, except for that glorious time she slipped through a portal to a world called the Trenches, where she was a particularly excellent mermaid and her fat was wonderfully functional. The only thing now remaining from her mermaid world is that Cora’s hair is still a dozen shades of green and blue (though Eleanor knows if these colors ever fade, Cora will never be able to find her way back).

    A new adventure for Cora and her friend Nadya, another returnee from a watery world, begins with a splash:

    (I

    this illustration!)

    A girl falls from the sky into the pond behind Eleanor’s school, startling Cora, Nadya and the turtles. The falling girl is Rini, daughter to Sumi, a character from

    who died as a teenager while she was at Eleanor West’s school. Rini informs them that in her own timeline, Sumi was able to return through the portal to the magical Candyland-type world called Confection and defeat the evil Queen of Cakes, after which she married and had her daughter Rini. But now the malicious Queen is alive again and back in charge of Confection, and Rini is slowly disappearing, à la Marty McFly in Back to the Future, albeit far slower. Clearly Rini, Cora, Nadya and other friends (who will be familiar to readers of the first book) need to find a way to change the current reality! And so their quest to bring Sumi back begins.

    Readers who enjoyed the first two books in the WAYWARD CHILDREN series will likely be equally charmed by

    . This novella throws open more portals, and readers are lucky enough to visit some magical worlds that we had only heard about before. McGuire balances imaginative whimsy with her insightful and thoughtful writing and engagement with meaningful issues of diversity and belonging.

    As always, McGuire has an understanding and sympathetic eye for those youth who feel like outsiders in our society. In

    we engage not just with characters of alternative sexuality but also those who are overweight, disabled, of minority religion and races, and more. Cora struggles with self-acceptance because of her weight; Nadya is missing one arm, which she refuses to let hold her back; and there’s a delightful cameo by a girl wearing a hijab. It’s a pleasure to meet up again with several characters from

    , some of whom I hadn’t expected to see again.

    I found

    much lighter in tone than the prior two novellas in this series, which makes it a more pleasant read, though it does deprive it of some of the heft and impact of the other two books. The multiverse/different timelines aspect of this story didn’t really hold water logically, but I suppose that can be excused at least to some extent where the world of Confection is, quite explicitly, a Nonsense world. The last paragraph of

    gave me goosebumps, along with a heartfelt wish to visit these characters and their worlds again.

    Content notes: scattered F-bombs and some mature language.

    The ARC just landed on my doorstep! YAY!! It was accompanied by two other Tor ARCs I hadn't even requested (

    and

    ). Just when I felt like I was making a dent in my ARC pile, lol. #firstworldproblems

  • Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

    I know, I know. 2 stars?

    Well friends, my expectations for this book were sky high & 2 stars is actually being generous. Considering it took me

    of slogging through 10 pages at a time of this 176 page book, I think 2 stars is being very generous indeed.

    McGuire largely missed the mark with her third installment of the

    series. In fact, the only part of this I thoroughly enjoyed was her writing style. She is whimsical & straightforward in the same bre

    I know, I know. 2 stars?

    Well friends, my expectations for this book were sky high & 2 stars is actually being generous. Considering it took me

    of slogging through 10 pages at a time of this 176 page book, I think 2 stars is being very generous indeed.

    McGuire largely missed the mark with her third installment of the

    series. In fact, the only part of this I thoroughly enjoyed was her writing style. She is whimsical & straightforward in the same breath,

    Otherwise, this book is a bit of a

    for me.

    It begins with the introduction of a new main character, Cora. The thing I know about Cora is that she is very fixated on how other people think of her as fat. Now, I don't want to be misunderstood here, so please pause with the pitchforks at least until I finish my point.

    This series has thus far used a very small amount page space to tackle some

    with grace & clarity. Obesity & the abuse that can be experienced because of it absolutely fall under that umbrella of importance. However, Cora's allusions & inner monologue about being only seen as "the fat girl" came up so often that I began to feel beaten over the head with the message.

    Most of us know what it's like to get stuck in a mental loop about our imperfections, and so in that singular way Cora is relatable. But as a main character being introduced two books after the group has been established, it felt as though

    Her personality is sort of

    and I found her quips & interactions with other characters

    She's nowhere near as compelling as the characters we've been introduced to in the previous books, so the overall lack of connection was a bit of a let down.

    By the end of the book there's not any real unique & hard hitting conclusion about Cora overcoming how others view her in favor of realizing her personal worth, which is what I was expecting after all the page space that was dedicated to acknowledging the problem.

    To continue on the subject of characters, the familiar faces from the past two books may as well have not even shown up for this adventure. Kade's southern charm & happy go lucky sense of justice are reduced to a lackluster minimum, Christopher's clever sarcasm is all but gone, and Sumi's abundant & nonsensical energy is completely absent.

    For a series with such consistently strong & diverse characters,

    Now we come to the plot.

    I won't tell you that the plots from the first two books are most distinctive stories I've ever read, because they aren't. But I was captivated by them, and I was engaged with the other aspects of the series enough that

    Unfortunately the plot of

    felt like a

    for much of the time. It's worth noting that much of the story centralizes around adhering to a world that employs "Nonsense" rules, and so to a degree it makes sense that nothing makes sense. However, I spent a lot of time thinking

    Needless to say, it didn't. I'm distressed over posting a negative review for this book,

    But it isn't.

    The nature of this series is to tell smaller stories that are mostly encompassed within each book. The characters overlap & books should be read in order, but the stories aren't necessarily told sequentially. Because of this, I will likely read the next book & pray that it's on par with

    and

    .

    As for this one... truly the best part about it is the gorgeous cover.

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