“There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.”
― Seanan McGuire,
The series was darker than I imagined since all I’d read about it was Home for children who went to magical worlds and then had to came back, but all of them want to return. Turns out there are murders and stuff.
The three books are completely different from each other, I’ll get into more detail for each one but the thing is that they explore different characters and experiences. They can be classified in: The going home, the coming back, and the return.
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.
BtSS is, by far, my favourite in the series so far. We got the disturbingly realistic setting we are used to but we also travel through more than one world (something I’ve been waiting for since the beginning). We also see a non-sense world and get to meet most of the previous characters in a natural way.
In this instalment we have a lovable group of lost children who embark on a quest to save their dead friend with the help of her paradoxical daughter. The premise itself was enough for me.
We not only see the return of Sumi to existence, who the whole quest was for, but we also get to see Nancy after she got to her world, she is happy and still as she wanted. On the very end we see the return of Nadya to hers, cheerful and with a little friend by her side.
This review is mostly about the characters because the plot itself was more about who they reacted to things than the happenings themselves.
In this story we get a brand new main character that is just beginning her stay on Eleanor’s Home, Cora. She comes from an underwater world, where her fatness was admired by everyone since it allowed her to resist lower temperatures and to swim for longer (as fat does, protecting our body is the main point of body fat), before traveling she already loved to swim though. At the beginning Cora talks how different everyone treated her in her world compared to the cruelty of ours. The bullying and violence she was subject to because of her weight drove her to suicide but thankfully she found a door instead. She has blue-green hair and loves to spend as much time as possible by the water.
“You were a mermaid, weren’t you? That’s what Nadya said.”
“I still am,” said Cora. “I just have my scales under my skin for now.”
Nadya is Cora’s
only best friend. She also comes from a water world, but sweet water instead of the sea. Nadya is a russian kid adopted by a couple from the US who felt like they were saving her. She is curt but kind in her own way. I felt like it suited her to wait in the underworld for her door, much more than the Home since she was from a darker world.
Rini falls from the sky and demands to be helped. She doesn’t understand the first thing about manners since she came from a non-sense world but I feel like she acted more as a scared child looking for her mom.
We get to know Kade a lot better. He becomes the reluctant leader of this saving party. I feel like this books really did well with him and deepened his character. We see him as he should have been, had he stayed in Prism with the Goblins. The rightful prince and a good ruler.
He liked the excuse to talk to people about their shared differences, which became their shared similarities when held up to the right light. They had all survived something. The fact that they had survived different somethings didn’t change the fact that they would always be, in certain ways, the same.
Sadly, Prism didn’t know what a treasure they had and he can’t go back. Every time he spoke of his world it was heartbreaking, to think that the perfect place for him rejected him… But he is strong and he’d do anything to help the other kids go back through their own doors
“Sometimes that’s all you can do. Just keep getting through until you don’t have to do it anymore, however much time that takes, however difficult it is.”
I loved how we got to see different world and more children than in the past. We learn so much about the doors and what it is that they have.
This book was everything I wanted to read.