Books

Otherbound, by Corinne Duyvis

5 beautiful, amazing, well-deserved stars

The Blurb: 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.

I came across this book completely by accident. In fact, I wasn’t even looking for a book to read when I found Otherbound. Now I’m wondering what other books there are out there that I’ll probably never discover because so little people have read and reviewed them. Really makes you wonder about hype.

Anyway, Otherbound is about Nolan, a kid from Arizona who, when he closes his eyes, travels into Amara’s body, who lives in the fantasy realm of the Dunelands. What makes this book truly amazing is this unique premise. It’s remarkable how flawlessly it’s carried out, there is truly no other book like it.

The plot is fast paced, a bit slower near the middle of the book, but overall, things are kept moving. The story centers primarily on Amara’s world, with her discovery of Nolan and job to protect Cilla, a cursed princess yet to retake her throne. One thing that’s different that I like about this book is that there’s no we-must-save-the-world-or-overthrow-the-evil-guys mission that the plot is centered around. The characters are simply trying to save themselves, but hey, if they end up saving the world in the process, it’s a win-win. There’s no majestic destiny, just real people, which leads me into the discussion on our characters.

The best part of this novel are the characters, or specifically, the diversity within them. We have Nolan, an Arizona teenager with Hispanic heritage and one leg. He’s diagnosed with epilepsy due to the constant “seizures,” AKA trips into Amara’s world he has, and struggles to pretend like everything’s okay. We also have Amara from the Dunelands, a dark-skinned mute servant who’s also bisexual. Her job is to protect princess Cilla from her curse by sacrificing herself. Both main characters are extremely complex and layered; Nolan’s constantly trying to balance his two lives, and Amara’s struggling with being unable to say what she means and being forced to serve this princess. Their conflict is very realistic, and I fell in love with both characters equally. The dual perspective also makes it much easier to get into the heads of both characters, despite the third-person narration.

The romance is very, very minor, and it takes a complete backseat to the other action. The only hint of romance is when we see Amara originally in a relationship with another servant boy, and later with a girl. Both were barely mentioned, they didn’t really push the plot in any way. Those of you romantics reading this and feeling disappointed, don’t worry. I am a total romantic (no one can ship like me) and thought this book was much better the way it was. It’s a lot less cliché, too.

Overall, Otherbound is worth reading for the premise alone, and is one of the most diverse and unique books I have ever read. Read this if you want a breath of fresh air from those typical dystopian/romance books, or if you don’t, read it anyway. 🙂

~Aliza

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