Author: Corinne Duyvis
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
The duality of the cover immediately caught my eye, as did the title (otherbound? bound to what other?). I ended up reading this one in just one weekend. Part of the time I was reading it, I was on a boat – but only physically; mentally I was with Nolan and Amara as they fought for their lives in their respective circumstances.
As always, a brief summary from the author’s website:
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’m a sucker for the visit-another-world-when-you-sleep trope. This book, however, goes a step further, because whenever Nolan closes his eyes – even if it’s just to blink for half a second – he gets pulled into a fantasy realm, though the mute Amara’s eyes. Getting adjusted to Nolan’s world and Amara’s world and trying to figure out how they’re connected and why was a delight. Most of the book was a good old fashioned fantasy/sci-fi adventure, which was engaging and full of surprising developments along the way.
Additionally, Otherbound has a variety of automatic star-winners for me. POC lead characters! Queer lead characters! Point of view from varying genders! Kick-ass disabled characters! Morally complicated characters that fit all of the above! Love.
One thing that kept it from getting five stars was the fact that sometimes it was hard to follow the goings-on in Amara’s world – too much technical vocabulary, too many rules for magic, too many things that were too hard to understand. I liked getting thrown into her world immediately, but it was too difficult to follow some of the intricacies, which annoyed me after a while. Also, there were too many crucial plot details that were skimmed over or left unexplained.
Overall, though, I loved this book. I wish there was a second one, actually, and I’ll definitely be reading this one over again. I already miss the characters, which I completely credit to Duyvis and her creative style and characterization. Bravo to her for this spectacular piece of fantasy.
4 out of 5 stars.