Welcome to part two of the third buddy read of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series! For this read, I am teaming up once again with Marzie’s Reads and guest commenter and friend of the blog, Janelle.
Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third in the Wayward Children series of novellas if you read the books in publication order, and the third book chronologically (for now). We’re reading the books in publication order for this discussion.
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.
I think this might be the fluffiest thing Seanan has ever written. It’s a delightful story, with lots of disturbing little details that are signature Seanan, but it’s significantly lighter than most of what she writes, and I struggled with that. I particularly loved Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones, the previous two Wayward Children novellas, because they were heavy with emotional weight. Even beneath the sugary surface of Beneath the Sugar Sky I found a fluffy cotton candy core, a bit too light for me.
That’s not to say that Beneath the Sugar Sky is without emotional weight or an important story – Seanan carries on her tradition of making the Wayward Children series inclusive and the characters, both familiar and new, are diverse in myriad ways. This book might resonate more strongly for others than it did with me. In the first two stories, I saw a lot of myself in Nancy and in Jack. In Beneath the Sugar Sky, I just didn’t have that same emotional connection with any of the characters (though it only made my desire for Christopher’s story that much stronger!).
The Wayward Children series is for all of us who felt like the world didn’t quite fit us, in one way or another.
Beneath the Sugar Sky is a sneaky book – a lot like Confection, it has a fluffy, sugary exterior, but when you think about it a bit more, you find a solid core hidden in the center of the story.
If you haven’t read part one of our discussion at Marzie’s Reads, click over and be sure to come back and read part two below!