Adult · Book review · Short fiction

Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

27366528Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third book in the Wayward Children series.

For me, it was better than the second book but still not as good as Every Heart A Doorway.

It was gloriously nonsensical (it’s set in a world made of food where you can bake dead people back to life!), and the humor was lovely. It reminded me of what I loved about the first book – the cast of characters, the feeling of being lost, the differences between the many worlds and why every single one of them is perfect for the person who found it but not for the others.
It was more like Every Heart A Doorway than Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and I appreciated that.

I love this cast of characters; Kade will always be my favorite. I don’t know, there’s just something about him that makes him feel more real than anyone in the book.
I also really liked seeing Nancy again, and, for once, Jack and Jill weren’t there.
I want this series to be longer that a trilogy. I want more of this. I want more casually diverse fantasy series in which the diversity is relevant to the plot but isn’t the plot.

I loved most of this book. Why only four stars, then?
The writing. I think Seanan McGuire’s writing has some really good aspects (the descriptions!), but I also find it very manipulative and monotonous.
A novella shouldn’t feel repetitive, but that’s what happens when you beat the reader over their head with your message. You do not need to spoon-feed me everything multiple times; you do not need to tell me every few pages that while Cora’s fatphobic classmates thought she would have wanted to live in a world like Confection, she doesn’t actually like/think about food more often than any thin person. I get it, but this book thinks I don’t.
This is the same problem I had with Down Among the Sticks and Bones: great message, irritating, almost preachy delivery. Subtlety? This series has never heard of it.

I liked how this book pointed out that metabolism and genetics influence weight more than diet ever will. It’s true, but many people still ignore it. But some other things this book said really bothered me: not having an eating disorder despite being bullied for your body size doesn’t make you a better person. I didn’t like that “she was not like ~those girls who starved themselves~” attitude at all – eating disorders are illnesses, not a moral failing (and, despite popular belief, not all of them are tied to body image).

My rating: ★★★★

2 thoughts on “Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

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