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Beneath the Sugar Sky

Narrated by: Michelle Dockrey
Series: Wayward Children, Book 3
Length: 4 hrs and 11 mins
4 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2019 Hugo Award Nominee

Another fantasy audiobook from Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series, which began with the Alex, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning, World Fantasy Award finalist Every Heart a Doorway. 

Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third audiobook in McGuire's Wayward Children series, returns listeners to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children in a contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world. 

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. 

©2018 Seanan McGuire (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

2019 World Fantasy Award Finalist

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Profile Image for Neubauje
  • Neubauje
  • 11-01-2018

What a tear-jerker!

I sometimes wish these books were longer, they have such wonderful world(s)-building... but I suppose the characters wish for that too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Elisabeth Carey
  • Elisabeth Carey
  • 19-01-2019

Another excellent story from the Wayward Children

Life at Miss Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children continues, even after one student murdered another, her sister took her away back through their door to the Moors, and new students have arrived. Two of the new students are Cora, whose door went to a water world where she was a mermaid, and Nadya, who went to a different water world, where she was a Drowned Girl. They were both in their different worlds, heroes.

One day, while they're out on the grounds together, a young woman named Rini drops from the sky into the school's pond, and demands to be taken to her mother, Sumi.

Sumi is the student who was murdered, years before she would have given birth to her prophesied child.

Awkwardly, Rini is gradually melting out of existence, as the time since her mother's failure to return to the world of Confection grows. Also, it's not just her own existence that's at stake. Sumi had defeated the Queen of Cakes and freed the world of Confection from her tyranny. With no Sumi, the tyrant queen has returned and resumed her tyranny.

Rini absolutely rejects the idea that mere causality can be allowed to interfere with her mother returning and saving both her, and their world. One student, Christopher, comes up with an idea, and soon Christopher, Kade, Nadya, Cora, and Rini are off on a mission, along with Sumi's bones. What follows is fascinating, bizarrely logical, moving, and surprising. Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Emily
  • Emily
  • 14-06-2018

Meh

Ehhhhh I don’t think this book is as good as the previous two in the series. I liked that it was a sequel to Every Heart A Doorway, rather than a prequel, and I loved that we saw Nancy again, but the book itself didn’t fully hold my attention.

I can’t remember if we were told an age for Rini, but I thought she was around the same age as the other characters so 16-17, but the narrator made her sound like a whiny child half the time, which made taking her seriously and actually listening to the audiobook a bit of a frustration.

The plot itself also felt like nonsense. Considering that they spent half of the time in a nonsense world, that’s probably the point, but it just felt lacking in general.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Meredith
  • Meredith
  • 10-01-2018

Short

And a bit preachy. But it's a decent story when it doesn't get bogged down in telling you what to think. Several of the students of the Home for Wayward Children go on a quest to save Sumi, who died in book one. And that's about it. There's some nice world-building - they get to visit Nancy's world and learn a little about that, plus they learn more about Christopher's world of bone people. We get two new characters from water worlds, but don't ever really learn much about them, despite one being a main character.

Character development is weak overall - the author falls into the habit of telling rather than showing, and that's especially true for the mc, Cora. We're told ad nauseam that she's fat and has been harassed for it, but really nothing else about her, which is basically the opposite of how the character, or any fat person, wants to be seen. So kind of a well meaning fail in that regard, and readers with body image issues should know to brace yourself.

But the story did move right along and the world-building is really wonderful. It's a bit overpriced for the length, a bit flat on the characters, and preachy, but enjoyable, so a solid three stars.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Joella Berkner
  • Joella Berkner
  • 07-07-2019

A worthy sequel

In my opinion this was even better than the original story. I loved how this expanded the stories of the original characters and introduced new and interesting ones. Mermaids, and drowned girls, and Nonsense. Oh My

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Profile Image for T. Maurer
  • T. Maurer
  • 11-06-2019

a sweet short story that made me feel childlike

with a diverse cast of characters and charming ideas i enjoyed every word of this story

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Profile Image for NorCalSS
  • NorCalSS
  • 08-03-2019

What a disappointment

The first book in the series Every Heart a Doorway was exceptional. The story was magical and engaging. The reader, Cynthia Hopkins, had the perfect voice for this story. The second book Down Among the Sticks and Bones was another fantastic story, but unfortunately the reader was the author, Seanan McGuire, and that took away some of the loveliness of the story. I did not like her voice at all. The third book Beneath the Sugar Sky was a boring heap of teen drama. It almost seemed like another person wrote this book entirely. The words and language were so dull compared to the first story. This reader, Michelle Dockery, was at most "meh". Book number 4, In an Absent Dream, was outstanding and was read by Cynthia Hopkins.

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  • Melia
  • 21-02-2019

Another Thrilling Tale Held Back By Narrator

Seanan McGuire does it again! She builds worlds that we all want to fall into, even as adults we long to find a door into a world that is perfectly created and suited for us. I can’t ask for more in a story.

Dockrey’s narration is good for most parts but she makes Cora and Rini’s voices too whiny and that subconsciously downplays their character development, which is unfortunate. Cora’s supposed to be this book’s hero’s insecurities many girls have growing up, but the way she speaks is whiny bordering on complaining constantly. Rini’s supposed to be older than everyone else in the traveling group, but she sounds like a 7-year-old. If you can get past that, this was a great listen and a fun ride!

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  • Erickson
  • 14-11-2018

Sugar and everything nice

I liked this book a lot less than I liked the previous two, but I ate up all three in a day, so it was still very easy and pleasant to read - I just left there was less intrigue and mystery. The author of this book is very inclusive (trans character, disabled character, Mexican-american character, fat girl), and careful and loving towards her representation of those issues, which I appreciate. I would have loved this series when I was younger and I still appreciate it now. The reader is awesome.

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Profile Image for Laura Smith
  • Laura Smith
  • 09-08-2018

A Wonderful Delight

Seanan McGuire has a knack for making me cry and smile at the same time. This book is no exception. Michelle Dockrey does an amazing job reading, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has heard Michelle read before.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-01-2018

Wonderful

Wonderful as usual. The only negative thing I have to say about this series is that it is so short! I have never wanted more from a series than I have this!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • I. Hunt
  • 03-05-2019

Wonderful story in the Wayward Children series

Great to see more of these characters and worlds would have been nice to have Every Heart a Doorway narrator back as she did Kade’s voice very well but a good performance still