The Cerulean by Amy Ewing (DRC): Magical Girls Falling from the Sky

3 stars

Sera has always felt as if she didn’t belong among her people, the Cerulean. She questions everything and longs for the day when the tether that connects her City Above the Sky to the earthly world below finally severs and sends the Cerulean to a new planet.

But when Sera is chosen as the sacrifice to break the tether and throws herself from its edge, something goes wrong and she survives the fall, landing in a place called Kaolin and leaving the tether unbroken. Sera soon learns that the dangers her mothers warned her of are real and will have to find the magic within herself to survive, complete her duty, and maybe return home.

🌸 I would recommend this to honestly anyone who finds the concept intriguing. I think the helplessness some of the kids on the planets feel is something I personally related to? So I feel like others might enjoy (or feel seen) by that.

add to goodreads here

Honestly I’m really conflicted about this book. Which means 3 stars for general confusion + confliction about my thoughts on this book. (Not that the story itself was confusing to read.)

On one hand, I stayed up really really late in the night reading because I was so entertained and addicted. (Seriously–this was a book I devoured.)

But also, I feel like it’s semi-problematic in a way (depending on how you read it), and I feel the need to address that? I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t enjoy it and sort of gloss over some of the more questionable aspects, but I also think that even though this might not be the *most* questionable book out there, there were some things that after reading, didn’t sit perfectly well with me.

First off–the queerbaiting. Personally, I wasn’t really queer-baited because I didn’t know it was queer. Silly reason–I know, right? But like, I didn’t really expect much from Ewing? And I wasn’t reading that closely to the summary when I requested it? So I wasn’t queer-baited because I didn’t think it was going to be queer?

Let’s get this straight: this is not the queer book of the century. I’ll get more into this, but if you think this is going to be the queer book of the century, or even the queer book of the year, get rid of that notion right now.

Because it’s not *as* queer as you might expect it to be. I honestly don’t know what your expectations are, which is why I’m talking about this. Expect some queerness, but not as much as you might think after hearing about a polyamorous lesbian city in the sky.

I have no idea what the marketing for this book was–if they marketed it queer or not, I don’t know. But I do know that it’s definitely a little queer, but it’s not *as* queer as the summary might suggest.

I feel like it’s a little bit of a spoiler, and to prevent anyone from stumbling upon this, I’m putting the descriptions of who’s queer and who’s not in the box below. Highlight the pink box below to see the really minor spoilers. (Honestly, it’s not a big deal if you read the spoilers imo.)

So, queer characters.
– There’s the polyamorous lesbian city above the sky where three women make up the parents of each family. Cool, right?
– And one of the daughters of the three women falls from the sky as the sacrifice, but the daughter is actually straight which she finds out later in the book. (I was a little disappointed about this, honestly.)
– Yet, one of the main characters that the daughter meets on the planet is actually a lesbian, but her society is super heterosexual-no-one-can-be-gay so she’s been in the closet for a while.
The thing is you don’t get to meet the main character from the planet until like a third of the book is done, which I’ll talk more about later.

Yeah. So that’s what happened, and you don’t really know the full story of all the queer characters from the country below unless you read like, idk, 70% of the book?

My advice is honestly to just prepare yourself for some main characters to be queer and some to not be. I say read the spoiler block. It can’t hurt.

And if this doesn’t sound like your jam, that’s okay! You do what’s best for you.

Moving on, I have to admit that I found the story to be really entertaining. Like, I don’t know–there was some type of cadence to it that kept me up and awake when I should have been sleeping and just made me devour it.

There were so many points I could have stopped? But I didn’t? And I don’t really know why, but I just read all of this in 3 hours when I should have been sleeping and I don’t know if it was the story or something else, but I was definitely hooked while I was reading. So there’s that.

But, I did think the structure was kind of awkward. Like, the first section is exclusively in the sky city, and the second section is with the kids on the planet but not with Sera, the girl who fell from the city, and then after it alternates between what’s happening on the ground (in large chunks, too) and what’s happening on the sky with Sera’s best friend.

It felt a little jerky, and I wish the parts were just integrated more smoothly. Whether that means just giving each part a section, or alternating more frequently, I don’t know. But I do know that in these moments, I considered putting the book down to sleep a lot more because it was a bit awkward.

Overall, this book had a lot of potential, but I just felt like it kind of let down. It was a really good read in the moment and I was so entertained, but after I just felt like it was not as great as I thought (even before I read other reviews about queerbaiting).

Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Have you read The Cerulean or other books by Ewing? What did you think?

4 thoughts on “The Cerulean by Amy Ewing (DRC): Magical Girls Falling from the Sky

  1. this has been on my most-anticipated TBR for a while, but I’ve been seeing a lot of people pointing out problematic aspects – not just (potential) queerbaiting, but also some racist undertones. while I didn’t get approved for an ARC so I’m waiting for release day to pass my own judgment, I’m definitely wary of this book now 😕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah, I think part of the conversation about the queer stuff was led by a lack of info about the [spoiler] (i.e. if you didn’t keep reading you wouldn’t know) but either way, I hope it turns out okay for you! let me know what you think when you do read!

      Liked by 1 person

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