Beneath the Sugar Sky

- Seanan McGuire


When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.) If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do. Warning: May contain nuts.



Children have always tumbled down rabbit holes, fallen through mirrors, been swept away by unseasonal floods or carried off by tornadoes. Children have always traveled, and because they are young and bright and full of contradictions, they haven’t always restricted their travel to the possible. Adulthood brings limitations like gravity and linear space and the idea that bedtime is a real thing, and not an artificially imposed curfew. Adults can still tumble down rabbit holes and into enchanted wardrobes, but it happens less and less with every year they live. Maybe this is a natural consequence of living in a world where being careful is a necessary survival trait, where logic wears away the potential for something bigger and better than the obvious. Childhood melts, and flights of fancy are replaced by rules. Tornados kill people: they don’t carry them off to magical worlds. Talking foxes are a sign of fever, not guides sent to start some grand adventure.


solid, good read:
I don’t think I realised I missed Kade and Christopher before Beneath the Sugar Sky. They were such compelling characters in Every Heart a Doorway despite only playing minor roles. Their roles aren’t much more prominent here, but they continue to carry a lot of weight.

Time in this world seems to move the same way time travels throughout this series. I love that it jumps back and forth, checking in on familiar characters while adding new ones. Each instalment adds more complexity to this incredible world while adding more depth to the characters and their motivation. Knowing they all want to return to their worlds is one thing; seeing what being back on earth has done to them, what they’re missing, who they could’ve been – that is entirely different.

My fears of a Nonsense world were thankfully unnecessary. I still prefer Nancy’s and Jack and Jill’s worlds in their darkness and barely suppressed horror, but Sumi’s world was not as bad as I feared. I’m hoping we go to Christopher’s world eventually – it sounds terrifyingly wonderful, and I would love to read about him and his Skeleton Girl.

Full of wonder and McGuire’s writing, which never fails to impress and delight, this quest was everything you could want it to be. I hope this series never ends.




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