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Tristan Hui's The Other Realm is a story of family and adventure sure to enthrall even the most hesitant reader. After falling into a dimension parallel to her world, Azalea Morroe sets off on a quest to save the job of her eccentric father. Along the way, she befriends Sunny, a 15-year-old native in search of her older brother, and Sam, a 10-year-old ghost desperate to flee the unrelenting Prileidian Desert. Together, they make their way towards the city of Cambelt, facing numerous challenges guaranteed to capture the reader's attention.

The Other Realm is a quick but enticing five-star read. The prose is beautiful, rich, and vivid. From the "graying aspens" to the "glaring sun," I felt as if I were trekking through the sweltering desert myself. Tristan writes, "Azalea was crouched on the hard, dry ground of an expansive desert, the air hazy and landscape painted in muted hues." Tristan seems to have carefully chosen each word, making the landscape spring to life. Additionally, the plot is fresh and easy to follow, but complex enough that the reader constantly wants more. The characters are well-rounded, dynamic, and relatable.

While this book is action-packed, much internal conflict occurs, and we see the characters evolve from start to finish. I also love how Tristan explores family bonds. I've had many moments these past few years where I've taken a comment or critique from my family too personally and ended up hurt or ignored. Through characters like Sunny, Tristan shows that no matter what blows are exchanged, the love of family trumps all. Not only that, the protagonist, Azalea, demonstrates how far she is willing to go to help her family as she continues to persevere to save her father's job, despite all the challenges thrown her way. I would have liked to see more growth in the main character, but overall Tristan Hui's The Other Realm is a must-read for lovers of fantasy, adventure, and magical realism.

The Other Realm by Tristan Hui, winner of the Stone Soup Book Contest 2020. Children's Art Foundation, Incorporated, 2021. Buy the book at our store, Amazon, or Bookshop.com


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