Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

February 2, 2018 Book Reviews 8

Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
on January 9, 2018
Pages: 174
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Chimes at Midnight, Indexing, The Winter Long, The InCryptid Prequels, Pocket Apocalypse, A Red Rose Chain, Reflections, Once Broken Faith, "Dreams and Slumbers", Chaos Choreography, Magic For Nothing, Indigo, Every Heart a Doorway, The Brightest Fell, "Of Things Unknown", Night and Silence, "Suffer a Sea-change"

Third in the Wayward Children paranormal fantasy series for Young Adult readers and revolving around a boarding school for lost children. The focus is on a new girl and keeping yet another girl alive.

My Take

It’s almost Wizard of Oz-ish in this quest to find all of Sumi, picking up plot coupons to keep Rini whole.

Beneath the Sugar Sky uses a frame with the story as the object, as it pulls the kids’ travels to alternate planes through the magic doors. It’s there and back again with an unreal reality to this, a paradise for most of the children. When they’re returned, it’s all disillusionment and dreams with the desire to escape right back there. A tragedy of life, of being in the wrong place. Worse, of returning to parents who don’t want your reality. They want the one they dreamed of for you, the one where you disappoint your parents when you’re not who they want you to be.

While Nadya, Kade, Rini, Christopher, and a skeleton are part of the team, it’s really a story about Cora, as McGuire focuses on her issues. How she’s been treated affects her perception of herself and the world. McGuire really understands her problem. And McGuire/the narrator notes how all that struggle to get rid of it doesn’t create their ideal world.

Yet the truth will out and fate will step in to right the wrongs in this tale of the Wayward Children with McGuire using third person omniscient narrator to show us what everyone is thinking and feeling and expounds her opinions on social topics with a lesson in individuality, for each child is called to the world that is perfectly suited to them.

An ocean of soda, a beach of graham crackers and shortbread, a tree of ripe cake pops…a sweet eater’s dreamland, lol. Can you imagine mining fudge for a living!?

”Dead people probably didn’t worry too much about drowning.”

I cannot even begin to imagine how much thought McGuire put into her various worlds. Just trying to imagine the worldbuilding for each single type…and then the combinations of Logic and Fairyland and the rest. Oy. My head hurts.

I don’t know about Rini. It’s a yummy world she comes from, but talk about intolerant! And the Queen of Cakes makes her look really, really good! Can you imagine? The Queen loves Confection because she can torture herself about not eating all that yummy fudge, cake, frosting, gummy drops, cake pops, gingerbread houses, and more?

”The best way to become strong is to surround yourself with the things you can never have. The daily denial reminds you what you’re suffering for.”

I mean, who wants to suffer??

I’m very confused about Kade’s world. He got thrown out because he had tried to end the fighting, but they made him a prince, which sounds like they wanted him to stay..?

I got quite confused about the to and from worlds. I was also very confused about the last two lines. I do appreciate their reasoning, but I don’t know how kindness works into it.

And you’ll find out why you should always have parchment paper around…*grin*…

The Story

Onishi Rini is alive but her mother died before she was born…and Rini is determined to get her mother back, so she doesn’t disappear. At least, not anymore than she already has.

The Characters

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is…
…a boarding school for children lost from their own worlds. Eleanor West is ninety-seven and still lost from her own world. Kade West is her young second-in-command these days, and her nephew who likes to sew and is interested in history and mapmaking. His parents had thought he was a girl. He thought he was a girl, and so did Prism, a Logical fairyland where he became the Goblin Prince in Waiting.

Cora, of the blue and green hair, is a big girl and lost from her water world, the Trenches, where she was a mermaid in this world of beautiful Reason. Nadya is her best friend even if she is missing her right arm at the elbow; she’s trying to get back to Belyyreka, the Drowned World and the Land Beneath the Lake, a world of impeccable Logic. Burian, a huge turtle, had been her steed and dearest companion.

Christopher is dying to go back to Mariposa, clutching his bone flute so carefully to him, so he can marry the Skeleton Girl, the Princess of the Skeletons. Angela is another student.

Confection is…
… a Nonsense world with rules (where even the Logical can survive). Onishi Rini of the candy corn eyes drops into Earth. Her murdered mother was Onishi Sumi who had gone to Confection and ticked off the Countess of Candy Floss. Ponder is Rini’s loving father. The Wizard of Fondant gave Rini her magic beads. Its ruler is the tyrannical Queen of Cakes. Its founder is revered, the First Baker, a breadmaker who baked and baked to build this world. One added onto by the Cookie-maker, the Brownie-maker, and on. Layla is the current Baker and from a Muslim family in Brooklyn.

The Halls of the Dead is…
…ruled by the Lord and Lady of the Dead where Nancy is happily still.

The Moors is…
…the horror of a world to which Jack had cut her own door home and taken Jill (Down Among the Sticks and Bones, 2).

The alternate worlds may be strictly one or a combination of Nonsense, Logic, Virtue, and Wickedness.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a roiling sea of strawberry rhubarb soda beneath a sky of bright, bright blue with a a storm cloud of purples rising up on the right. In the middle, a door is opening in the sky. All the text on the cover is white with the title scattered and centered across the sky. The author’s name is centered at the bottom with info blurbs at top and bottom.

The title is Beneath the Sugar Sky of a sweet, sweet world.

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