Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky

Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Series: Book 3, Wayward Children
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: Young Adult, Teen, Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Well I loved this. But that is not really a surprise. Seanan McGuire and I seem to have some sort of shared soul most days (lol). I love that she is such an amazing writer that under her pseudonym for horror/thriller books (Mira Grant) she is just as successful. So fair warning, I'm a bit of a fan girl. :)

Wayward Children #1 was one of those books (well, novellas as these are short books in this series) that felt like it had been pulled from my own subconscious/imagination. And so the continuation of this series in Beneath the Sugar Sky (BtSS) was highly anticipated for me; and I'm glad to say it didn't disappoint. What was nice about BtSS in comparison book 2 in this series is that we went back to the Wayward House and met up with some characters we had met in book 1. All the while we got to meet new characters and visit some new dimensions very different from our own.

Characters
Our lead gal is a "fat girl" (as she calls herself), Cora (who was in a mermaid world) has a real self esteem problem. This is a leading theme in the book as she struggles to deal with people's immediate thoughts about her, or the irony of a "fat girl" being in a candy filled land, for example. This is a sad little story and yet I know so many people will connect with it. I like that McGuire's lead gal is a runner and talks about her love of it, as well as the stigma people have about larger women running. It's completely unfair and I loved her resolve to keep up her running. The whole time I just wanted to yell "you go girl!" to her. McGuire portrays Cora as having an anxiety problem... but I gotta say (as someone with anxiety) her attempt to portray anxiety here is a bit cliche and weak but it didn't bug me enough to be annoyed and certainly not offended by the portrayal. 

There is a slew of characters (new and known) that end up together in this story and a few other interesting points of view that we see besides our lead gal. In all of these Nancy is my favourite. I just love how her world is still and quiet and seems like death without being death. I was very, very happy to see her appearance in BtSS.

We are also shown more into the world/life of Kade, the resident 'doesn't want to go back to his world' kid. This may seem like a normal thing but he is the ONLY child at Wayward that doesn't want to return to his world. He also happens to be trans and came from what appears to be a terrifying fairy world. I really hope we see a lot more of him in the future!!

Plot
The overall story in BtSS takes us through a number of the worlds/dimensions that our children have been to, or are similar to the ones they have visited. I really enjoyed experiencing more of the dimensions that McGuire has thought up. And I really, really hope this series goes on forever; as I feel like the number of doors into interesting worlds we could go into is unlimited.
That said the overall plot is actually the part I cared about the least (ironically). I didn't much care about Rini and her mother. But was more than happy to be taken on the adventure with them. It may seem weird to give 5 stars to a book and not really care about the main plot; but this series is one of those special ones where I'm just glad to be in the world McGuire has created no matter what we are doing or following in it.

Forever and ever
Some series go on forever and ever when we don't want them to. Just in a quick thought I can name a dozen that I wish had ended long before they did (or that are still going on). However Wayward Children is a series I feel is so unique and has such diversity of worlds via doors, with so many interesting children that can be products of them, that I think it could go on infinitely. So while this may be book 3 I'm really just hoping to another one, or maybe thirty.
There is also something to be said for these snippets of stories that are short. A lovely way to take a 1-3 day break to visit these worlds and find some doors to get lost in. Perfect books for a quick break in the middle of a 1000 page tome or that horror book that is scaring you (check out Mira Grant, she's really good! lol).
Really all I can say is that while I can find flaws with this I just don't care. For no other reason than this world is brilliant and McGuire always knows how to keep my attention. As has been with this entire series, a hard copy of this book will go to my print bookshelf. The absolute highest honour I can give any book is to buy it in print after having already read it.

I'll leave you with this quote (that everyone seems to have put in their reviews) that really struck me as an honest way of looking at life and it's often cruel reality:
“Just keep getting through until you don’t have to do it anymore,
however much time that takes, however difficult it is.”


Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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