Trip into Confectionery…
Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBT
No. of pages: 174
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’m not a huge reader of the fantasy genre, but I like to indulge every now and then. And ‘Beneath the Sugar Sky’ is a great addition to the Wayward Children family. But maybe I was getting a little tired of the genre after the previous two novels? Or maybe it’s that we jump about with the timeline, new and old characters? Introducing new worlds… or maybe it was because Confection is a nonsense world, and I love order and logic? I enjoyed ‘Beneath the Sugar Sky’ a touch less than its predecessors. It’s the first book in this collection I had to pressure myself to read at some points – but not to fault of the writing or the story, but more my personal preference of genre.
Seanan’s whimsical writing style is a delight. I am completely entranced by her turn of phrase. I loved her continuing representation of diversity: body shape, ethnicity, gender identity, amputees… But these aspects are a part of a character – something that is a part of the whole – not something that makes them ‘other,’ or a point of difference. I have to commend in how these characters are written and how their outlook is crafted. True genius.
A notable mention to the character of Cora who was a determined and strong protagonist with a heavy burden of insecurity due to her body shape. It was so juxtaposing and created inner conflict that made her feel real, complex, and interesting. It was like a lesson on how to write great characters. The same goes for the world building; so imaginative and unique. I can’t fault this book in any way.
I had been hoping we would return to the Home for Wayward Children, pick up some of the story of the school and other characters, ‘Down Among the Stick and Bones’ felt like a solitary tale mostly disconnected to the continuing storyline of the School, and was thankful to get that connection and glimpses of the characters futures that I had already met in the first two novellas.
‘Beneath the Sugar Sky’ was mostly predictable – it’s a hero’s journey. A quest. So for the story to be any part satisfying, the objective needs to be obtained. But the happenings along the way are truly extravagant.
Clearly this is YA, the cast are all teens and the subject matter is in the demographic wheelhouse; though with Seanan’s writing style, the intelligent wording, I sometimes think she had high-brow lexicon that many readers would need a dictionary to understand. I actually love reading books like this – exploring the English language and expression. Educating me in adjectives. But can see how some readers in the YA demographic might glaze over with a bit of a ‘huh?’
Definitely recommend this – it’s deliciously fantastical. Looking forward to ‘In an Absent Dream’ due out next year and what characters it is going to deal with, and what new additions it is going to show in the Wayward Children universe.
Overall feeling: such a sugar rush.
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