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  • What a marvellous adventure!

    The Other Side OF The Sky is the first book in the series of the same name by Australian author, Amie Kaufman and American author, Meagan Spooner. Fifteen-year-old Nimhara has had a vision. Since she was five years old, she has been the forty-second vessel of the Divine, the sole descendant of the gods in the land, heavily guarded, and never touched, except by her bindle cat. Her people have been troubled, waiting ten years for the aspect that has not manifested in her: there is the danger of the mist-storms, there is dissent, and there is denial of her divinity; the Graycloaks want to remove her power; the Cult of the Deathless want to kill her. But now, she is sure her pilgrimage to Intisuyu will lead her to the Lightbringer: the prophecy will be fulfilled, her world will be renewed. Young prince North, in line for the throne, is an enthusiastic glider pilot, and he feels certain he can discover the answer to the loss of altitude affecting the sky-cities of Alciel, even if many of the council deny it is a problem. To prove his point, he slips from the meeting to fly his glider to the palace; he hasn’t counted on mechanical failure, though, and is soon plunging Below, from where none have returned and he will likely meet an awful fate. Nimh alone witnesses his crash-landing in the forest-sea; their initial encounter is wary, and neither reveals quite who, or what, they are. But, since she has saved his life, and she looks to be his only chance to repair the glider, North accompanies Nimh and the cat back to camp. If what they find there is shocking, it’s only a prelude to what is in store on their cautious return to the city’s temple. What a marvellous adventure! Kaufman and Spooner craft their story so well, with subtle world-building, interesting characters, riveting action and an enticing cliff-hanger ending, that it is easy for the reader to immerse themselves therein. And who would expect a cat that occasionally (helpfully) bites an ankle to become a favourite? Their protagonists spend time talking at crossed purposes and it is interesting to watch as two cultures with common ancestors, separated by centuries, meet: Nimh puts her faith in magic, North relies on science. Fans can only hope that the second instalment won’t be too long in coming. It may be billed as young adult, but that doesn’t mean that older fantasy fans won’t be equally enthralled.

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