Grave robbing was still viewed as socially inappropriate, and doing it when the sun was up was generally viewed as unwise.
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire is a sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, the 2017 Hugo and Nebula award-winner for best novella (shorter book). This book series is portal fantasy: those stories where a kid finds a doorway to another world, goes through it, and saves that world while figuring out something important about herself. Every Heart criticized, expanded upon, commented upon, and examined the tropes of the portal fantasy genre, all while telling a fun, entertaining story. Beneath the Sugar Sky picks up where Every Heart left off.
Beneath the Sugar Sky is in the same style as its predecessor, so there are more teenagers that don’t feel at home here on Earth, more discussions about portal worlds, and another charming quest.
You really should read Every Heart before reading this book. While it’s probably possible to follow Beneath the Sugar Sky without having read Every Heart, you’re going to miss out on a lot of world-building and character introductions if you skip Every Heart. Down Among the Sticks and Bones, a prequel to Every Heart, was released last year. It provides some additional details and backstory for two of the characters featured in Every Heart. It’s not important to the understanding of Beneath the Sugar Sky, so you can skip that one if you want to.
I liked Beneath the Sugar Sky pretty much exactly as much as I liked Every Heart. The characters are interesting, the world-building is fine, it says Good Things about feeling/being different, and the adventure is tense and adventure-y. But the things that I disliked about Every Heart are also present in Beneath the Sugar Sky. It’s a bit on-the-nose, telly-vs-showy, and heavy-handed. I wish it were more subtle, with mysteries for the reader to tease out. And holy smokes, I’m so tired of all the characters discussing the different portal worlds using the Nonsense/Logic/whatever taxonomy classification. It slows down the story A LOT for no discernible reason. Moreover, it bores the tar out of me.
My rating: 4 stars