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The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún - Book Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published June 12th 2018
How did a little girl come to live with a demon?
The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún

The Girl from The Other Side: Siúil A Rún
is a fantasy manga written and illustrated by Japanese writer and manga artist Nagabe. The Japanese version was published by McGarden Publishing House in 2010. The English version was published by Seven Seas Entertainment in 2015.

The Girl from the Other Side is a story about two friends who couldn't be more different from each other: a little girl named Shiva and her demonic guardian named Teacher.

In this first volume, we learn that in Shiva and Teacher's world there are two kingdoms, the Outside and the Inside. The Outside is where demons like Teacher come from and the Inside is where humans like Shiva live.

The Outsiders were once human, but fell victim to a terrifying curse which turned them into demons. If a human touches an Outsider the curse will be transmitted to them and they will become infected and transform into a demon.

In Shiva's world, people are so afraid of contracting the curse bands of soldiers roam the woods looking for Outsiders to kill. It is not explained to the reader how Shiva and Teacher came to live with each other at the start of the comic.

Shiva and Teacher live alone in a cabin in the woods. Shiva is not afraid of Teacher and believes that she is only living him with temporarily while she waits for her Aunt to return and fetch her. Teacher believes that her Aunt is not returning and that she has abandoned the child, but he doesn't know how to break the bad news to Shiva.

The relationship between Shiva and Teacher is a lot like the relationship between a parent and a child. Shiva is grateful for his care, but also misses her Auntie. In one scene she asks Teacher about the curse:

"Are you sure I cannot touch you…even a little?" she asks him.

"Quite sure," he replies.

Shiva is crestfallen, but doesn't press the subject more. It is obvious that Shiva misses physical touch and wants nothing more than to take Teacher's hand and give it a loving squeeze. There is a gentleness between Shiva and Teacher that is quite endearing. Teacher is protective of her, for reasons unknown, and Shiva returns his kindness with trust and friendship.

The Girl from the Other Side has sold over 100,000 copies. In an interview posted on the website, Nagabe talks in great detail about the book. He explains that he uses felt tip pens to illustrate the comic and that he wants it to feel more like a picture book than a traditional manga. He came up with the idea of "no touching" because he wanted to explore how two people could communicate with each other if they were prevented from physical contact.

He also talks about how he came up with Shiva and Teacher's characters. He thought it would be fun to have a character who was pure white and another who was pure black and identifiable only through his creepy, otherworldly silhouette.

The Girl from the Other Side is part of an ongoing comic book series. There are four volumes currently available with a fifth due to be released in September 2018.
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Why? The Girl From The Other Side is a story about a little girl called Shiva who lives with a demon called Teacher. Shiva and Teacher must never touch because if they do Shiva will fall victim to the same curse that turned Teacher into a demon.
When: This book is small and would fit neatly in a backpack. Perfect for reading on the train on the way to work!
Where: Available from your local bookstore or online retailer
Cost: $12.99 - $16.99
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