Rating: 4.75 stars
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Garrett Evergard is hiking the woods in Washington State looking for evidence that will help save the forest. The logging lobby wants to cut down the woods and Garrett’s job is to find something that will get the public’s attention and persuade government officials to turn the forest into protected federal land. When Garrett sees a rare white spirit bear, he thinks he has found just the thing to rally people behind the woods. But just as he attempts to photograph the bear, he takes a fall and gets seriously injured.
Bryson Summers is both a witch and the protector of the gate between Earth and Terra. When he hears about Garrett’s injuries, Bryson’s first instinct is to help him, even if it means letting Garrett find out about Terra. At first Garrett is completely shocked to learn about this alternate world, complete with witches, unicorns, dragons, and elves. But once he gets past his disbelief, Garrett is incredibly drawn to this world where people live much simpler lives connected to the land and to nature. And he finds himself drawn to Bryson as well, the two men kindred spirits in their love of the forest and the deep connection to the natural world.
As Garrett recovers from his injuries, the men realize that they want more together than a few days. But in order to save the forest and the gate to Terra, Garrett must return to Earth and fight the lobbyists who want to destroy the woods. And Bryson faces his own battles in Terra, as the local duke wants to seize the immortality that comes from being partner to a gatekeeper like Bryson. He is using a warlock to help him catch Bryson and forcibly take control of his partner ring. The men have realized that they want to be together, but both Garrett’s responsibilities and dangers to Bryson may stand in their way.
To the Other Side is such a lovely fantasy story and I found myself totally engrossed in the world of Terra and in Bryson and Garrett’s growing relationship. Frost manages to create a rich and detailed world in Terra that feels so fully developed and lush, with a host of magical creatures and wonderful characters. It is to her credit that we are introduced to so many new things and yet everything integrates so beautifully in the story. I loved the little tiny hummingbird-like dragons, the majestic unicorns, and the other creatures we meet. Each feels so real and well imagined that I could picture every detail as the story unfolded. Frost does an equally good job helping us understand the politics of Terra, both the structure of society and the political developments that threaten Bryson and his gate. For me world building and how it unfolds can make or break a fantasy story and I think Frost really does a fabulous job of it here.
The story is told in a very gentle and quiet way. Both Bryson and Garrett are lovers of nature and the simple ways of life and the tone of the book really reflects that. Some may find the pace slow, but I really enjoyed the quiet rhythm of the story as the men get to know one another and Bryson introduces Garrett to the wonders of Terra. We can see immediately both why Garrett feels so at home there, as well as what draws these two men to each other. They are so sweetly romantic, but also so sexy together, and make a wonderful match. At the same time, when Bryson is threatened, both Garrett and Bryson have a strong and fierce side. They are willing to fight to defend Terra, the causes they believe in, and the people they love, giving us an exciting climax to the story.
So I really loved this one and can’t wait to see where the series goes from here. We meet several of Bryson’s friends throughout this story and I hope to see them in future installments. Just wonderfully done and very enjoyable. I highly recommend it.