I’ve been a fan of Carrie’s for a while, having watched her YouTube channel for over three years and even seeing her in concert, playing the role of Beth in Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. Despite my having followed her for quite sometime, I only got round to buying her first fiction novel, released earlier this year, today at Glasgow Airport before boarding a flight back to London. At the time I’m writing this blog post, I only bought On The Other Side around seven hours ago, and I’ve already practically finished it, with less than 100 pages to go.
By the fact I have literally been unable to put it down in that time, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Fletcher’s debut fiction novel. The story is engaging, I really enjoy the fact that there was no specified time period the book was set in, allowing the reader to imagine the characters in whatever world they would prefer to see them in. The descriptions of the characters were so detailed and in depth that it was almost as if each and everyone of them was stood before my eyes. I really enjoyed reading the characters stories and finding out more about them, and especially enjoyed seeing how their plots developed with the turn of each page.
Although I’m not usually one for fantasy stories (aside from the Harry Potter series, of course), I really enjoyed the magical side of this story with regards to the apparent magical powers the novel’s protagonist, Evie Snow, seemed to possess. It added something quite special to this unique story, and gave the book overall an almost fairytale feel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was like a fairytale for young adults, a continuation of the fairytales so many of us read as young children.
The love story between Evie and Vincent Winters is personally one of my favourites that I’ve ever read in a book. I really connected with both their story and emotions. The moment when Evie decided to go ahead with her parents planned marriage between her and her best friend, Jim, truly broke my heart, even more so when she woke to find Vincent gone, knowing that she would never see him again. I felt their emotions as much as the actual characters did, and for me it was a really emotive and raw experience.
Overall, I thought On The Other Side was a great read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good romance or something with a bit of fantasy added into the mix. The only things I would say about the book, not so much negative things, as they in no way affected my enjoyment in reading the book, would firstly be that you could tell this was Carrie’s first novel. The first few of the chapters, although good, were at times a bit clunky and the plot was a little bit jumpy. I liked the fact that it went straight into the story, and that the characters backgrounds were introduced as the story unfolded, but there were a few times where I had to go back to remind myself of where I was and what was happening. This didn’t happen so much as I got further into On The Other Side, clearly showing that Carrie’s writing skills developed as the novel went on.
Although I liked the fact that she included pansexual, bisexual and gay characters, I felt that they didn’t come naturally and were added in simply for inclusivity reasons. Personally for me as a reader, Evie’s brother, Eddie, coming out as gay was the only one that added something to the story, and it fitted in well with his story of meeting his partner Oliver and moving in to his parent’s former home after they pass away. With regards to Vincent’s bisexuality and the former house maid Isla’s pansexuality, I didn’t really feel these facts added anything to the story, and were simply there to be inclusive more than anything else.
On The Other Side has been a truly wonderful read, and after failing to get round to buying it for the last few months, I’m so glad I finally got round to doing so. Better late than never as they say! It’s a solid first effort for Carrie’s debut fiction novel, and I would give it a firm and well deserved 9/10. I really look forward to reading other novels that Fletcher writes in future, and I definitely won’t wait so long to read them next time if they’re as good as On The Other Side.