Series: Wayard Children #3
Narrator: Michelle Dockrey
Edition: Audiobook, 4 Hours 11 Minutes
Genre: Portal Fantasy Novella
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
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.
Spoiler Warning for all previous books! This review may have spoilers for the first two books in the Wayward Children series, if you are interested in starting the series I recommend checking out my review of Every Heart a Doorway of that book instead.
Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third book in the Wayward Children series and picks up a little while after the ending of the first book. (The second book focuses on two characters in the first book, but technically kind of happens before and during book one). The school is moving on somewhat from the tragedy of Sumi’s death in book one when a girl falls out of the sky saying that Sumi is her mother. Sugar Sky takes us on an adventure to a land filled with nonsense, sugar, and a little political upheaval.
I will say this one is probably my least favorite of the series so far, because it does have that theme of nonsense and a tone that matches the weird sugary world that is Confection. That being said I think it’s still pretty enjoyable and still has the darker edge to it, I just think that some of the writing felt a bit cumbersome and obvious at times. We have a new character to follow named Cora, who is heavier set and very self conscious about it. In the world she went to it where she became a mermaid it was a boon, but here she finds herself sliding back into being defensive and scared when it comes to others opinions. I appreciated the rep here, but at times it felt a bit heavy-handed and too exposition-y. Instead of feeling her discomfort at the idea of someone looking at her different, we are told all the ways in which she is used to it and how this or that relate to how she’s been bullied in the past. It just didn’t come off as a natural way to present the information. I did like Cora despite the odd way some of her inner monologues were written, and I love the friendship that she starts to forge with Christopher. We also get to know more about Cade, whose story is rather unique in that he doesn’t want his door to open.
The plot itself is suitably weird as it deals with Sumi, who in the first book was kind of a delightful mess of energy. We get to see the world that she was pulled into and it’s kind of wonderful. The world just comes across as exceedingly vibrant and while the idea of it makes my teeth ache, I just the adore the concept of a world filled with cake and soda. We also get to spend some time in Nancy’s world, which seems more my speed. The best part of this was the fact that it actively broadens the scope of what we the readers get to see, and seeing the characters in their element (and in a larger case way out of their element) is just so much fun.
I am looking forward to diving into In an Absent Dream! The world needs more portal fantasy and McGuire is providing.