Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Series: Wayward Children #3
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genres: Fantasy
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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.

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The Wayward Children series is  one of my favorite series at the moment, and I felt like the series got better with every book. Because of this, and because of the synopsis and absolutely beautiful cover of the book, I was convinced that this was going to become my new favorite. Sadly, this didn’t happen.

I wasn’t even planning on picking this one up right now. I comes out in January and I have so many other ARCs that I have to finish beforehand, but I couldn’t stop myself. The cover was calling my name, and I was so sure I was going to love it, which just makes it super disappointing when you don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think the book was good and I enjoyed it very much. I loved seeing a lot of characters from book one again and exploring more of the world. Or rather, worlds, plural. I also loved Seanan McGuire’s writing which was very atmospheric and read like a fairytale, like always.

Speaking of the worlds, I absolutely loved them. I loved how every single world had their own, very distinct atmosphere. I loved the way Seanan McGuire described them, and how I could picture every single detail so clearly in my mind. It was like I could almost smell the candy corn, which is a bit strange since I’ve never even seen candy corn in real life.

I think what went wrong for me with this book were my expectations. Even though I loved the first two books in the series, which were both pretty dark, I just don’t tend to like very dark books. And when I saw how cute and colorful the cover of this one was I automatically thought we were getting a bit of a lighter read, which was my mistake. Because it wasn’t light at all.

Another thing that I didn’t love was that there were quite a few attempts at explaining how the whole Wayward Children world(s) work, and this might just be me, but it ended up leaving me even more confused. Which is never a good feeling.

A thing that I really loved about the book was the fat representation. One of the characters in the book is fat, and the way she thinks is so incredibly relatable. And what I really appreciated was that the author didn’t try to sugar-coat it, but kept it realistic, which was difficult to read at times, but also meant a lot.

I honestly loved the characters in general. Like I mentioned before, we got to see a few characters from book one again, which was absolutely wonderful. But we also got to meet a few new characters, who were absolutely amazing in itself. The author really has a way of crafting characters who are very special, without making them feel too quirky. They just seem normal. But in a very special way.

Overall, I think that Beneath the Sugar Sky was a good book, and if you liked the previous books I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one too. I just wish I’d gone into it with different expectations.

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Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children #2
Genres: Fantasy
Goodreads

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

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It’s not too long ago that I read the first book in this series, Every Heart a Doorway, and completely fell in love with it. I loved the writing, which completely sucked me in from the start, I loved the world and all of the potential it had, but most of all, I loved the characters and couldn’t wait to see more of them and see more of their stories in the next books.

As you can see, my expectations for Down Among the Sticks and Bones were HIGH. Incredibly high. That’s why I was very hesitant about starting it at first, because I didn’t want to end up feeling disappointed once I finished this, but I can safely say that that didn’t happen. Moreover, I can say that I loved Down Among the Sticks and Bones even more than I loved Every Heart a Doorway, and that obviously says a lot.

This book focuses on the story of Jack and Jill, twin sisters who we’ve already met in the first book. From reading Every Heart a Doorway we already got to know a little bit about their story, but I had no idea how dark and incredibly interesting it actually was.

A lot of the book focuses on parental expectations (and emotional abuse), and how they can mess with your heads. Jack and Jill’s parents have this picture in their mind of what their perfect family should look like, and when their mother gets pregnant with two girls they’re disappointed because they wanted a girl and a boy. They decide they’ll each ‘get one’ of the children, and Jack is raised to be her mother’s perfect daughter (quiet and pretty) and Jill is raised to be her father’s perfect ‘tom-boy’.

Jack and Jill both don’t get a say in this, and they start to resent each other because of it. So when they get to the Moors, it doesn’t take long until they separate.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a short book. An incredibly well-written one which sucks you in from the first page, and will make you finish the book in just one sitting. It’s also incredibly atmospheric, dark and intruiging. And although the book is so short, it does include a lot of things that will keep your mind occupied for days on end.

I loved seeing the relationship between the two sisters, and the effect the parents had on that relationship (well, loved might not be the best word for it, but it was incredibly interesting and I loved reading about it). I loved Jack as a character, and I really feel like she’s going to be my favorite character of this series. And I loved how Jack had a fat, female love interest, because I’m a complete sucker for f/f romances.

Overall, Down Among the Sticks and Bones certainly exceeded my expectations, and I can’t wait for what else this series is going to bring.

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