The City on the Other Side

Mairghread Scott, illus. by Robin Robinson. First Second, $23.99 , $16.99 ISBN 978-1-62672-457-0
Isabel, the cosseted daughter of a San Francisco socialite, comes into possession of a magical necklace with a jewel-like heart that shields her from harm. It belongs to Seelie fairy princess Id’naress, and Isabel agrees to help return it before it falls into the hands of the evil Coscar, an Unseelie prince. As she and her sidekick, Benjie, evade one capture attempt after another, Isabel breaks free of her sheltered upbringing. Turn-of-the-20th-century San Francisco is reimagined as a city with a double existence—human civilization and fairy realm—while the 1906 earthquake functions as fallout from the fairy war. Swirling, Art Deco–flavored artwork by Robinson (The Civil War Handbook) offers a wealth of fairy splendor. Scott (Science Comics: Robots and Drones: Past, Present, and Future) crafts a story that operates smoothly and stays taut, though fairy characters lean to the archetypal, from the sneering Coscar (“Give it to me or be destroyed”) to the noble Id’naress (“This war was not my desire”). There’s freshness in the nonwhite main roles—Isabel is Latina and Benjie is Filipino—though the focus stays on the book’s fantasy rather than on culture. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 04/24/2018
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-250-15255-8
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