I wasn’t too fond of Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Stones, so when I got the notification that Beneath the Sugar Sky had been released and was on my kindle I wasn’t quite as excited as I normally am for one of her books. I mean, obviously I still preordered it, but I wasn’t happy about it. However, I have some downtime right now and I wasn’t feeling any of the other four books I’m currently reading so I picked it up. It was better than I was expecting and a fun little novella. It’s enough to keep me interested in this world, if she keeps writing in it.
So in the very first book, Every Heart a Doorway, Sumi was murdered. She had gone to a nonsense world of sugar and confection and was prophesized to go back, so her daughter, who is slowly disappearing, showing up to look for her isn’t THAT ridiculous. And actually, considering time travel and Back to the Future, it makes PERFECT sense if you allow for a little insanity in your logic. Anyway Rini shows up and recruits some of the other children at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children to help fix her world. She comes equipped with magic candy that lets her open doors to any world and so they set out to fix things.
I liked this book considerably more than Down Among the Sticks and Bones, partly because there was more of a plot and the book didn’t require McGuire to tell me the characters’ motivations for their actions, instead she just told me what the actions were and let me figure out motivations for myself.
I do think McGuire is a bit too logical to write a nonsense world well. She manages, and the Sumi’s sugar world comes across, but the nonsense is more icing on a very logical core. See: Rini disappearing because her mother was murdered unexpectedly. This implies a strong timeline at the very least. But that is a minor complaint, and as I prefer my fairylands with a bit of logic, it makes sense. And is addressed a little bit in the book.
Minor complaints aside, I was happy with this book. It’s frothy and fun. If you liked either of the other two books in this series, you’ll probably like it as well. However, as this book builds upon the first one I wouldn’t start with this book. Start with Every Heart a Doorway, though you do not have to read Down Among the Sticks and Bones to understand what’s going on in this book.