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On the Other Side of the Sky


Loved it! 😍

Lovers of history, mysticism, and fantasy alike won't be able to get enough!

 The Other Side of the Sky is action-packed from page one and, like a faerie bargain, the reader loses themselves in the reimagined 18th century Enlightenment era. As early as the introduction, the author, Hugh Ashton, puts the reader at ease and mesmerizes his audience as skillfully as his own characters in the salons of Zurich. Ashton has an undeniable way with words, balancing the succinct and the poetic with ease.

     Ashton’s mastery of word-craft permeates each sentence-at first. The beginning of the novel  is written with great care, but in its last 75 pages there is a sense that Ashton was rushing to finish. The small touches like 18th century phrases used in the first few chapters disappear, replaced by a more perceptible 21st century voice and the heretofore error-free pages show small mistakes in grammar and spelling. As the novel progresses, the pacing of events ratchets up at an uncomfortable rate. Transitions become jarring, taking sharp left turns. It feels as though the reader is going from a scenic drive through the country to drag-racing down back roads with no in-between to steel readers for the increase in speed. The rushed clip at the climax is unrecognizable as having developed from the hypnotic cadence of the first few chapters.

     Regardless of pace, The Other Side of the Sky was riveting from beginning to end, with many assets to its credit, my favorite of these being the complex yet relatable character of Jane, our heroine. She is truly a marvel. We watch her go from infant to young woman and all the changes that come with it. Jane is stone-cold awesome, but human enough that we can relate to her and not so stone-cold that she is without emotions, doubts, and grief. Not only is Jane a wonderfully complex character, the dynamics between her and each of her mentors from philosopher Erasmus Darwin, to spiritual soldier Thomas FitzAlan, are diverse and multi-faceted as well.

     While part of me yearned for Tolkien-esque detours into the inner workings of people, places and lore, the more sensible half understands that a 365-page novel makes The Other Side of the Sky more attractive to a wide range of readers than a dense and weighty tome would do. Perhaps a happy medium is what’s needed to retain the book’s accessible nature but resolve the issue of its rushed third and fourth acts. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and believe that many readers will find themselves just as enchanted by The Other Side of the Sky.

Reviewed by

First and foremost, I am a reader. I am a Jack of all genres and master of none. I can't resist an interesting narrative or an intriguing topic, so I've read widely and regretted nothing.

The Faerie Child – The Beginning

About the author

Hugh Ashton is best known for his Sherlock Holmes stories, hailed as some of the most authentic pastiches on the market. He has also published other work in a number of genres, including alternative history, historical science fiction, and thrillers, based in Japan, the USA, and the UK. view profile

Published on December 01, 2021

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical Fiction

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