The Other Side of the Sky

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Other Side of the Sky Book Poster Image
Couple grapples with magic and tech in talky sci-fi tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Other Side of the Sky mixes magic and science and offers the chance to discuss destiny and free will.

Positive Messages

It's possible to respect both science and religion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nimh and North are multifaceted characters, she convinced of her own divinity, he a believer in science and technology. Both are brave, inventive, and passionate about their homelands. They feel a physical attraction, but believe that they must never touch. (North previously wanted to establish a three-way polyamorous relationship with another male and female.)

Violence

In general, the novel does not overemphasize violence. The leader of a cult attacks Nimh and her allies, killing someone close to her. A cultist commits suicide by stabbing himself. There is a climactic battle, in which someone is impaled.

Sex

North and Nimh are told that she will lose her magic if they even touch. They think about romance and intimacy, but they make no contact. North previously wanted to explore a polyamorous relationship with two other friends.

Language

Very little swearing: "hell" and "damn" two or three times.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Other Side of the Sky is a science fiction/fantasy novel by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner, authors of Unearthed. North and Nimh seek a way for him to return to his home in the sky and fulfill a prophesy about the end of the world. The pair is forbidden to even touch. (North was previously interested in pursuing a three-way relationship with another couple.) There's little swearing ("hell" and "damn") and no substance use.

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What's the story?

As THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY opens, Nimh rescues North from his crash-landed aircraft. He has come from the world above Nimh's, and the girl bellieves that he is the Lightbringer foretold in a sacred text. A prince in Alciel, the world above, North isn't interested in bringing about the end of the world, but he wants to support Nimh when people she cares about are killed by cultists. As they survive a number of reversals and betrayals, Nimh and North unearth secrets that threaten them both.

Is it any good?

Science and religion sometimes seem in opposition to each other, and this talky sci-fi fantasy raises interesting questions of free will. In The Other Side of the Sky, the main characters, Nimh and North grapple with the consequences of their belief in technology and magic. Co-authors Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner do some fascinating world-building and character work, but their collaboration could be better paced. The first volume of a duology, The Other Side of the Sky ends just as the plot really starts to roll. Most readers will want to continue, but some may drop away. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Other Side of the Sky addresses the concept of destiny. Do human beings have free will or is it only an illusion?

  • Nimh believes she is "The Divine One." How do religions treat the concept of "The Chosen One"? Why is that concept so prevalent in mythology?

  • Nimh believes that she must never touch another human being, or she'll lose her magic. Do some religions here on Earth segregate by gender?

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