By now you’ve probably got a sweet tooth for Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, which begins with the Nebula and Locus Award-winning Every Heart a Doorway and continues with the dark origin story of Jack and Jill in Down Among the Sticks and Bones (out now in ebook and print worldwide). This January, the series returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children with Beneath the Sugar Sky, an irresistibly fun tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do that sees the return of fan favorites and the introduction of Rini, Sumi’s daughter. We’re excited to share the new illustrations by Rovina Cai that will be included in the book!
Take a look at the images below, and read selections from the story!
Beneath the Sugar Sky is available January 2018 from Tor.com Publishing. From the catalog copy:
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…
The girl in the pond rose up sputtering, with algae in her hair and a very confused turtle snagged in the complicated draperies of her dress, which seemed to be the result of someone deciding to hybridize a ball gown with a wedding cake, after dyeing both of them electric pink. It also seemed to be dissolving, running down her arms in streaks, coming apart at the seams. She was going to be naked soon.
The girl in the pond didn’t seem to notice, or maybe she just didn’t care. She wiped water and dissolving dress out of her eyes, flicking them to the side, and cast wildly about until she spotted Cora and Nadya standing on the shore, mouths open, gaping at her.
“You!” she yelled, pointing in their direction. “Take me to your leader!”
Rini shuddered, stepping a little closer to Kade, like she thought he could protect her. “How can they hold so still?” she whispered, voice horrified and awed. “I’d twitch myself into pieces.”
“That’s why this was never your door,” he said. “We don’t go where we’re not meant to be, even if we sometimes get born the wrong place.”
“There was a boy,” said Rini. “When I was small. His parents mined fudge from the northern ridge. He didn’t like the smell of chocolate, or the way it melted on his tongue. He wanted to be clean, and to follow rules, and to understand. He disappeared the year we all started school, and his parents were sad, but they said he’d found his door, and if he was lucky, he’d never come back, not ever, not once.”
Kade nodded. “Exactly. Your mother and I were born in the same world, and it wasn’t right for either of us, so we went somewhere else.” He didn’t ask what sort of lessons would be taught at school in a Nonsense world. His own world had been Logical, and what made perfect sense to Rini wouldn’t make any sense at all to him.
She was in her element: she knew exactly what she was doing, and was content to continue doing it until the job was done.