The Other Side: You don’t know what they are, do you?” “No idea,” Tom said honestly. “They’re flying beasts that slice your head off with their tails before they reach in and pull your heart out,” Saafir said cheerfully. Thomas just wanted to fit in. So he agreed to go with the strange woman with red eyes. Now he lives in a tree house and learns magic at the School of Merlin. Everything should be great… But he still doesn’t fit in… and half, or most of the people there want to kill him… When he sleeps, he dreams of blood and murder… except, they’re more than just dreams… And the wolves… what do the wolves want with him? – Goodreads
The Other Side Review
The Other Side did not make a good first impression on me. It was quoted as being similar to Harry Potter, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s okay if something is ‘similar’ to something else, but this is what I noticed in the first quarter of the book:
- Boy Wizard is rejected by those around him for x reason.
- Boy Wizard is shipped off to magical school run by an old white weird wizard. Family doesn’t care it won’t be able to see him. (Albeit for a different reason than hating him.)
- School of Merlin has an extremely large caretaker. (This one made me go goggle-eyed.) At least said caretaker didn’t seem to be the super friendly sort.
- The first class, which he’s late to, is taught by a stern female teacher (the bushy brown hair made me grin).
- The bully he encounters early on, with white hair, has two large-ish cohorts and is a complete stuck up snob son of one of the ‘Lords’ of the Wizarding World.
I sort of groaned and slid down in my seat at this point, praying that it was really going to take a step in a new direction soon. But I was committed. I would read it. Even if it made me want to throw something. Luckily, once The Other Side gets away from pretty much everything related to the school, it becomes its own book. It’s surprisingly dark, some characters dealing with causing someone to die, some talk of infant death, etc.
The world that Thomas is in, The Other Side, is not a nice one. He’s confronted with hatred on almost all sides as soon as he enters the world. He sucks at magic. He manages to have virtually no good times with the few friends he does manage to make. He’s tormented by dreams pretty much as soon as he gets to the School of Merlin. Soon he’s caught up in a quest that he’s really not all gung-ho to go on. Still, he does what he needs to do, because it’s the right thing to do.
Overall, The Other Side isn’t a bad read. Its simply written enough to appeal to the 10+ crowd. It’s got plenty of action in it. The main character is one that any little kid that feels ‘different’ or ‘invisible’ can relate to. The idea that the author has is a good one, but it needs to come into its own more before it really stands out in any way.
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