Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Author: Seanan McGuire
Publication Date: January 8, 2018
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Portal Fantasy
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POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR EVERY HEART A DOORWAY
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.
“That’s why people shouldn’t get too hung up on labels. Sometimes I think that’s part of what we do wrong. We try to make things make sense, even when they’re never going to.”
Unlike Down Among the Sticks and Bones, this book was a direct sequel to Every Heart a Doorway and that was super fun.
I loved the first book and I’m so happy we got to revisit the Home for Wayward Children and the characters. I also really enjoyed the new characters introduced in this book.
Kade and Christopher get some more page time and we learn a bit more about Christopher’s heritage (Mexican-American), backstory, and world (Mariposa, a skeleton Underworld).
Cora, our plus-sized main character from the Land Beneath the Lake (a mermaid land!) was pretty interesting to read about. She mentions her weight and how that relates to people’s opinions of her and criticized other’s appearance quite a bit, though her views get to be a bit much, they are all authentic to being plus sized (especially when talking about assumptions others make). Cora also has anxiety.
Nadya was another fun new, side character. She was from Belyyreka, a Drowned World, and is missing an arm. I didn’t realize this until the end, but that could have just been me. She was super sassy and fun to read about too!
Probably the most fun and hilarious addition thought was Rini, from Sumi’s world Confection (a nonsense world all about sweets!). Rini has some of the funniest lines in this book, especially when she arrives at the Home for Wayward Children .
“For others, the lure of a world where they fit is too great to escape, and they will spend the rest of their lives rattling at windows and peering at locks, trying to find the way home.”
As for the plot, it’s pretty straightforward: fix something that happens in book one before a butterfly effect happens. But to do this, they actually have to travel to different worlds and it was SO fun to see more of them! I’ve mentioned this before, but going to these worlds are some of my favorite parts of these books!
The did solve the main conflict pretty quickly, but when the climax happens in a nonsense world, it’s easily forgiven.
I think the first two are still my favorite, but this was such a fun continuation. Getting to explore the various worlds was such a blast, and I hope we get to do that more in the future books.
I can see why some people don’t like this one (usually citing Cora and her constant berating as the cause), and honestly I totally get it. Some of Cora’s character traits get to be a bit much, but I also totally get her frustrations.
If you like the first two books, you’ll probably like this one too!