Title: The Other Side of the Sky
Series: The Other Side of the Sky #1
Author: Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: September 8th, 2020 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: 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.
Magnetic and gorgeously thematic, New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have crafted a gripping tale of magic and logic, fate and choice, and an impossible decision between an empty future and a deadly love. Perfect for fans of Claudia Gray and Laini Taylor.
Thank you to the publisher, Harper Collins Canada, and HCC Frenzy for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
North is the Prince of Alciel, a city high above the clouds, floating through the use of engines that are a technological marvel. On the surface, Nimhara is a living goddess to her people who look to her for guidance and hope. Alciel has been held aloft for a long time, but they are slowly beginning to sink with no solution in sight, since no one knows how the engines work in the first place. North is convinced he has found a way to not only get to the surface and look for information but also return safely. But when his experimental glider malfunctions, he goes off the edge of the floating islands and crashes on the surface below. When Nimh’s magic guides her to him, his arrival feels predestined to her as she believes they are bound to fulfill an ancient prophecy that seems to predict doom for both their worlds.
The world is richly described, of floating cities on a largely flooded surface, to a technologically advanced city above the clouds and the imagery is truly vivid. The same goes for the culture and practices of Nimh’s people – we only get a few glimpses at what life is like on the surface but it’s clear that quite a lot of thought went into the world-building for this story. I hope to get to see more of the more modern cities of Alciel, or the cloudlands in the sequel. The idea of two such contrasting worlds – one with belief in science and logic and the other in magic was quite fascinating. Magic vs tech is always interesting, but in this instance, neither was explained very well, and we don’t get a good idea of the scope of either.
On the other hand, I wasn’t very happy with the pacing of the story – not that it was bad, but after an interesting opening, all the major stuff happened towards the end and there was a significant lag in the middle that tempted me to start skimming pages. The characters felt pretty generic to me as well, and I didn’t feel connected to them at all. I was more interested in how this prophecy bit was going to come together.
Objectively this is actually a pretty well thought out book, but something about it just didn’t work for me. Perhaps I’ve just been reading too much fantasy in a row lately, so everything is starting to look the same. Of course, the insta romance did not help – this book takes place over a matter of days and it was so unrealistic in this aspect, especially considering the contrast between the sheltered Nimh and the rather more worldly North. I also thought it was quite odd that North would just abandon his glider and not go back to see if anything was salvageable at some point. Then there is North’s belief throughout that Nimh’s so called magic is just a form of science, yet towards the end, he somehow starts believing in it for no logical reason at all.
Overall, this was a enjoyable read, and the fact that this ended on a slight cliffhanger has me curious about what happens next, even if this wasn’t a book I completely liked. I’m really looking forward to seeing North’s city too, so I will probably end up reading the sequel. The Other Side of the Sky is a book that would appeal to any fantasy fan, and it could also be a great choice for those new to the genre.
The Other Side of the Sky released on September 8th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!