The Other Side of the Sky – Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner – HarperTeen – Published 8 September 2020
Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.
Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.
The Other Side of the Sky is the start of a new epic fantasy by Kaufman and Spooner. Readers will be swept away in this intriguing story of doing what it takes to survive and having to choose between faith and knowledge, love and a future.
The Other Side of the Sky is a YA fantasy that feels like a mix between fantasy, science fiction and dystopian fiction. The world that has been crafted feels like a reflection of our world gone bad – mists of toxic pollution, a population that have found sanctuary in the skies leaving below a world they believe ruined. From the history has sprung up legends of gods who escaped to a world above.
Nimh is the Goddess Divine, one in a long line of divine, chosen to bring hope to her people. The only problem is that her powers have never materialised and her divinity is challenged by those who seek to overthrow her. A prophecy speaks of a falling star that could help her bring peace and prosperity to the land. Prince North lives on Alciel, a land that floats above the clouds. But their safety is challenged by the failings of the engines that keep their islands flying. North suggests returning to the land below their ancestors ascended from. When North’s glider fails and he finds himself falling.
Nimh’s world is governed by magic, worship of the divine, outrunning the toxic mists and prophecy. North’s world runs on science. They use gliders to move from one floating island to another, rely on science and medicine, but they do not understand or know how to control the machines that keep their world aloft. Yet both their worlds have completely fantastical elements, including the magic that Nimh and others control and two moons (unless getting a new moon after the destruction of the world is a thing. Is it a thing?).
The mix of science fiction and fantasy work really well for the story. It also highlights the difference between North and Nimh. They come from different worlds, have different beliefs and yet also have similarities in how they were raised, their isolation from others. North’s naivety about the world he has crash-landed onto helps the reader become familiar with the layout and structure of Nimh’s world.
The romance in The Other Side of the Sky is … open, shall we say. North starts the book by stating his future as part of a three – his two best friends. But as soon as he crashes into Nimh’s world he seems to all but forget his best friends. He and Nimh have strong sexual chemistry – hindered slightly by the fact that Nimh cannot touch anyone. It makes it a little difficult for Nimh and North to make a move, but it certainly keeps the sexual tension high. There are also many LGBT characters and relationships that are just part of the culture of both worlds.
The conclusion promised more adventure to come, as well as greater exploration of North’s world.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Magic, gods, royalty, divinity, faith, romance, family, friendship.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references. Violence – death, murder. Occasional coarse language, sh**(1).
Published: 8 September 2020 by HarperTeen.
Representation: Characters with “dark”, “olive” “golden” and “lighter” skin. Hetrosexial, homosexual relationship, monogamous and polygamous relationships. Characters who believe in gods and divinity and characters who do not believe in gods.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 480 pages.