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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

What listeners say about Beneath the Sugar Sky

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Bruce
  • 23-05-2021

Hard for me to place

I'm a newby to McGuire and I started here - probably the wrong place. I could not figure out who I as a reader should be.

The fairy tale premise might have suggested the under 11 audience, but the genital jokes and f--- vocabulary argues for middle school. The actual plot line is subtle enough to imply an older audience, old enough to not be embarrassed about reading about fairy tales.

As for me, it did not grab me as much as the Miss Peregrine series. I will read the previous books to be fair. But if this is truly adult literature, then it is way over-priced.

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  • Sam Badger
  • 13-01-2021

Best Yet

There have been mixed reviews of this one from some of my favorite reviewers on Goodreads, so I was nervous to start Beneath the Sugar Sky, but overall this has been my favorite one, and I read the fourth book out of order. Maybe I was meant for a nonsense world?

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  • Erynne L. Mitchell-Waltman
  • 04-01-2021

Another excellent Wayward Children book

This is the third book in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series, and it's just as wonderfully engrossing as the first two. This time, we get to visit Confection, the nonsense world that Sumi so loved in the first Wayward Children story. As always, the book pulls you in and drags you along through a wonderful, interesting story.

Michelle Dockrey does a fairly good job as narrator, although sometimes it's impossible to tell which character is speaking, due to similar vocal patterns that she gives to multiple characters. Still, it doesn't detract from the enjoyable listening experience too much.

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  • Benjamin
  • 02-01-2021

Just Keeps Being Good!

The world building keeps getting deeper and the message stronger. You won't be disappointed with book three!

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  • Savanna Whited
  • 09-01-2020

Good Book.

i liked this story. I will be finishing out the entire series. Great performance as well!

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  • 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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  • 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!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-09-2020

fabulous

Everything about this book was excellent, magical vivid world full of characters with all sorts of representations and the best fat character representation I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-02-2020

not my cup of tea

I loved the 2 first books in the series, but this wasnt for me. I like the eerie atmosphere more than the whimsical one (which proves I'd be in a logical world lol) and I didnt like the characters at all (expect my wonderful wonderful boys). the narrator did a good job - she really captured the very nonsense, high energy, weird personality in the girls. at first I thought I didnt like her, but it was because I didnt like the book as much. if the two first narrators wouldve narrated this book I'm sure it wouldnt suit. still reccomend tho! it was fun.

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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

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