Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis



Amara is never alone. Not when she's protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they're fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she's punished, ordered around, or neglected.

She can't be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he's yanked from his Arizona town into Amara's mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He's spent years as a powerless observer of Amara's life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious.

All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan's breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they'll have to work together to survive--and discover the truth about their connection.

Sometimes a book just sneaks up quietly behind your back... and then slaps you on the head. Hard. That basically sums up my reading experience with Otherbound. I had been intrigued by it for some time. So, when I had the chance to read and review the story for free, I gladly grabbed the chance!

However, I never expected to be so immersed in Nolan and Amara’s story. The writing and settings were exquisite. And, at the end of Otherbound, I felt as if I had lost a friend. This book will stick with me for a long time, and will definitely make it onto my 2014 favorites list.

Let’s start with the two characters and two settings. Our two main characters are Nolan and Amara. Nolan is from our world. However, he is not your average boy. He is missing a good part of one of his legs, and he has “seizures” and “hallucinations”. Of course, the readers learn pretty quickly that Nolan doesn’t have either of these plights, despite what the doctors might say.

Every time Nolan closes his eyes, he finds himself in another world called the Dunelands. More specifically, he sees through the eyes of a girl called Amara. Amara is not only a mute servant from the Dunelands, she is also a healer protecting a cursed princess. This job is not nearly as glamorous as it sounds, as the healing process causes Amara to inflict terrible harm upon herself. Also, Jorn, her master, cruelly punishes Amara often. And, in turn, Nolan has to suffer through terrible pain as well.

Otherbound had a certain uniqueness that other books lack. Not only does the author evidently have a wildly creative mind, she also incorporates diversity into Otherbound. The characters are LGBT, Hispanic, disabled, mute etc. The character relationships were astounding. Whether it was the relationship between two love interests or between family, Otherbound made the interactions realistic, hopeful, and heartbreaking.

Also, I loved the unpredictability of this novel. I was never sure what would occur next. And two revelations in the novel caught me totally off guard, but, when I reread parts of the book, made total sense to me. Both of these new bits of knowledge were about magic and the two worlds! This brings me onto my next topic, the magic and worldbuilding! For fear of spoilers, I won’t say much except the author had her world, and the awesome magic within, down pat!

Speaking of resolutions, I loved Otherbound’s ending. Nothing is tied up in a nice red ribbon but the story ends at just the right place. Also, I was impacted tremendously by one of the sentences on the very last page. I may or may not have leaked a few tears.

Corrine has truly written a gem. The book has it all: a fantastic plot, a vivid setting, diverse characters, major feels, wonderful themes, and a stunning conclusion. Also, despite the length of this review, I feel as if I have barely touched upon all the amazing aspects of Otherbound! Overall, I cannot recommend Otherbound highly enough.

Reviewed by Emily Anne at Reader Rising, who was given this book from Novel Thoughts in exchange for an honest review. She rated it five stars.

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