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Literature / Over The Hills Of Green

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Over The Hills Of Green is a Speculative Fiction novel by EV Svetova. It is the second book in The Green Hills trilogy.

Anna Reilly, a young cognitive psychology intern at a New York City hospital, is assigned a charismatic patient who may be delusional, or may quite literally come from the Otherworld of her suppressed childhood nightmares.

Driven to solve the intriguing case, Anna tries to unwind the thread of John Doe’s story, but instead becomes entangled in an uncertain relationship that challenges her sexuality, sanity, and her very sense of reality. Anna’s professional and personal life comes undone, leaving her unsure whether she is expanding her mind or losing it, and whether the androgynous John is a mystical guide or a psychopathic con artist. Finding the truth will either provide her with the keys to the mysteries of the universe or complete her break from reality.

The novel exists at the intersection of several genres, including literary fiction, fantasy, romance and mystery, alternatively utilizing and deconstructing recognizable tropes specific to each of the genres; may demonstrate Genre-Busting.


Over The Hills Of Green provides examples of:

  • The Ageless: Yaret Fairfax is over thirteen hundred years old but appears as a man in his late twenties. Subverted, when he promises Anna that they will grow old together, albeit “very slowly.”
  • Akashic Records: Yaret claims to have access to his spaceship through his dreaming, which allows him to process and retain new information with extreme efficiency.
  • Alien Abduction: Implied that the historic cases of fairy ravishings are in reality abductions by an advanced humanoid race of Alva.
  • All Myths Are True: Subverted, when Yaret suggests that human myths are not to be trusted. Further zigzagged, when Yaret arbitrarily confirms or denies the existence of certain mythological characters in real life.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Played straight with the Alva being the original elves of the human legend. Also, * Alien Fair Folk.
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  • Aura Vision: True sight that Anna sporadically gets access to and that Yaret uses naturally allows them to perceive others as being of energy.
  • All Just a Dream: Subverted, when Anna’s belief that the Otherworld was a dream is proven otherwise; also, the monsters Anna thinks believes to be imaginary turn out to be real. Further zigzagged in the end when Scout Semille suggests that, as one of the several possible scenarios, Anna might be hallucinating the events of the novel while in reality she is being institutionalized.
  • Book Within a Book: On advice of her therapist, Anna writes the account of her Otherworld adventure in the form of a children’s book Print In The Snow: Anna’s Adventure In The Wyssun World.
  • The Bechdel Test: Anna and Genie nearly break the Fourth Wall while explicitly discussing the Bechdel Test, lampshading the fact that they may be failing it.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Played for laughs when Yaret’s erogenous zone turns out to be not where Anna expects.
  • Can't Live Without You: Yaret’s nuptial gift to Anna is a self-imposed geis in effect dooming him to die if spending an extended time away from her.
  • City of Adventure: New York City — the city's landmarks serve as key locations for the more fantastical aspects of the story.
  • Civilization Destroyer: Yaret, when he — unsuccessfully — tries to blackmail Anna into a relationship with the threat of culling humanity.
  • Culture Clash: Yaret has a Fish out of Water experience in the modern day New York City, to a somewhat comedic effect.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All primary characters cope with past trauma, most secondary characters are mental patients.
    • Anna struggles with abandonment issues due to her father’s death and mother’s remarriage; with debilitating anxiety attacks as a result of her brush with the Otherworld; her inability to dream; her own feelings of professional and personal inadequacy and shame.
    • Anna’s mother survived postpartum depression after the birth of Anna’s half-brother.
    • Anna’s stepfather, James, is a recovering alcoholic, struggling with the death of his police partner.
    • John Doe has amnesia presumably due to physical and sexual abuse.
    • Yaret Fairfax has a predictably troubled and violent past, consistent with growing up in the Dark Ages society.
    • Emily is an orphan, presumably an abuse survivor.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Played straight with Yaret, who idealizes his dead parents, but subverted with Anna, when one of the main sources for her neurosis is the loss of her father as a young teen.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Yaret promised Anna the key to the mysteries of the universe if she marries him and has his children.
  • Dream Land: The Otherworld. Yaret insists the dream is a memory.
  • Dysfunction Junction: A major part of the action takes place in the Psychiatric Ward of a hospital; most characters are either involved in the mental health profession or are/have been therapy recipients; everybody casually engages in psychobabble any chance they get.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Yaret is described as strikingly handsome, possessing almost feminine beauty. Played straight when Yaret is mocked by thugs for wearing pink socks, but subverted when his beauty is implied to be, literally, in the eye of the beholder when a nurse at the ward sees him as a "sad scrawny kid," and another inmate sees him as "pretty like a girl, but also nasty like an insect".
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Anna has to follow a traditional folk tale quest to find true love. Also, Yaret’s quest for his love involves major sacrifices, not the least of them including getting a humiliating job.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Anna’s arc involved her becoming less stoic and more emotionally vulnerable.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Well, both Anna and Yaret are, but also Anna’s best friend (with benefits) Genie.
  • The Fair Folk: The Elves of legend — the Alva — are referred to as a technologically advanced extraterrestrial humanoid race with a penchant for genetic experimentation, who are not beyond wiping out a whole civilization as a form of "culling."
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Played straight, when Anna gets a menial job at a homeless shelter after losing the prestigious hospital internship; subverted, when in order to survive in the modern world Yaret turns to fashion modeling.
  • First Love: Subverted, when neither of the characters happen to be each other’s first love.
  • Identity Amnesia: Deconstructed, as Anna struggles to diagnose John Doe as amnesiac only to completely misunderstand the nature of his condition.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Yaret claims to be half-human and half-alva, a result of a deliberate hybridization effort.
  • Here There Be Dragons: Emily, whose otherkin self is a dragon.
  • Freudian Excuse: Anna doubts her ability to feel love because she is not sure she had ever loved her father.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad: Played straight with both Yaret’s progenitors (tragic version), and Yaret and Anna themselves (happy version).
  • Humans Are Special: According to Yaret, humans are the only race capable of “making love,” as in, literally, produce the energy of love out of nothing. Deconstructed, when Anna mercilessly mocks the idea, only to wish for the ability later.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: Played straight with Yaret, who looks like a man in his twenties while being over thirteen hundred years old.
  • Life Energy: The energy that becomes visible to those with true sight.
  • Leaving You to Find Myself: Anna breaking it off with Ted, giving him the "it's me, not you" line.
  • Little Bit Beastly: John Doe is described as somewhat feral in appearance.
  • Living Ship: Ylféte, Yaret’s living armor, enabling him to travel in outer space and interdimentionally; connects to the pilot via organic integration.
  • Magic from Technology: All alvan technology; Clark’s law is specifically invoked.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Anna and Yaret, Anna being not only "tall and athletic," but also as having all the agency in the relationship and Yaret being described as somewhat effeminate.
  • No Antagonist: The primary conflict is presented by the characters psychological issues.
  • No Medication for Me: Despite her experience with recreational mind-altering substances, Anna is terrified of being medicated. Subverted, when she ends up in therapy and on medication, which does help her gain clarity.
  • One True Love: Subverted, when Yaret claims to have a series of true loves, each as true as the other, with Anna being its logical culmination.
  • Old Beggar Test: Mystical messengers tend to appear as street people; on one occasion Anna fails to recognize her magical helper, on the other – succeeds.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: Yaret, who implies to have had homoromantic, if not homosexual, relationships in the past.
  • Parental Abandonment: Between Anna’s uninvolved father, who died when she was a young teen, and her self-involved mother, who placed her in the position of caretaker, Anna doesn’t have much of a positive family model. Subverted with Anna’s stepfather James, who steps up as a parent.
  • The Power of Love: Subverted, when Yaret fails to make Anna respond to his energy.
  • Purple Prose: Yaret’s speech is decidedly flowery, “Renfair talk” according to Anna.
  • Rule of Three: Appears throughout the book.
    • The initial time Anna has to diagnose John Doe is three days (72 hours).
    • Anna denies Yaret three times before he is banished.
    • Anna has to query three characters in her quest to find Yaret, symbolizing, respectively, the Sun, the Moon and Wind.
  • Signs of the End Times: The natural disaster New York City experiences makes Anna suspect that it may be a sign of the culling Yaret threatened her with.
  • Space Elves: The Alva, described as an technologically advanced extraterrestrial humanoid race that has given rise to the elves of human legends.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: In her dreams, Anna remembers snippets of conversations she had in the Otherworld, only to be quoted word-for-word by Yaret.
  • Time Travel: Subverted, when Anna mistakenly thinks John Doe’s delusion hinges on time-travel.
  • Trapped in Another World: Anna has been trapped in the Otherworld as a teen, and doesn’t remember it fondly.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The psychiatric patient John Doe, when he relays the life of Yaret Fairfax (his own) to Anna.
  • Wealthy Ever After: Yaret’s financial savvy allows for a rather comfortable life for him and his family.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Anna and Yaret throughout the story, with Yaret continuously trying to establish greater spiritual and physical intimacy and Anna continuously rebuffing him until the tables are turned.


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