The City on the Other Side by Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson, 224 pp, RL 4

The City on the Other Side, written by Mairghread Scott and marvelously illustrated by Robin Robinson is a uncommon story set in San Francisco, a few years after the great earthquake of 1906, featuring Latinx and Filipino main characters. Crossing the Veil between the world of the humans and the world of the fairies where the Seelie and Unseelie Courts are at war.

Isabel is being raised by the help while also trying to live up to the standards of a "woman of breeding," as dictated by her mother. When her mother leaves for Europe, Isabel is sent to spend the summer with her father, a sculptor with a studio in seaside woods of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Distracted by his work and not used to having her around, Isabel's father doesn't seem to notice when she wanders into the woods and does not return.
There Isabel crosses the Veil and finds a dying fairy from the Seelie Court, tasked with delivering a powerful amulet to the Seelie warrior tasked with finding the disappeared princess, Id'naress. Finding Id'naress and reuniting her with the amulet is the only hope the Seelie have for winning the war with the Unseelie, keeping them from ending the existence of all humans. Somehow, the amulet responds to Isabel, gifting her with magical powers. Along with Button, a mushroom-shaped Seelie, and Benjie, a human boy who lost his parents in the earthquake but gained the ability to pass through the Veil freely, they search for the missing princess in both worlds, trying to evade the minions of Prince Coascar, the ruthless Unseelie ruler.

They way that Scott's story flows between worlds is incredible and easy to follow. Isabel and Benjie's back stories, while touched on briefly, are compelling, and I hope that they team up for more stories. Scott brings together the world of the fairies and humans, war and sculpture, wonderfully, and the way she connects the natural disaster to the plight of the fairies is intriguing. Robinson's illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and her palette of deep pinks, purples and greens for the fairy world is a treat. Her Seelie fairies are benevolent and occasionally adorable, while her Unseelie fairies are menacing, with hard edges, red eyes and sharp teeth. I am so excited to have discovered Scott and Robinson and hope that they have more stories to share!

Source: Review Copy

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