Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: Otherbound (Corinne Duyvis)

Title: Otherbound
Series: standalone
Author: Corinne Duyvis
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Rating: Older Teen (some heavy sensuality, some language, lots of brutal violence and abuse and torture [see Trigger Warning below])
Told: Third Person Duo (Nolan, Amara), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC (traded)
Find It OnGoodreads


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.

*          *          *

Why I Read It: The premise was so unique I had to give it a try.

Series: This is a standalone with a full arc and a conclusive and satisfying ending.

Writing: Engrossing, with excellent description and flow. Even though Chapter 1 opened with Nolan shopping for notebooks in a Walgreens, I was sucked right in and had the hardest time putting the book down. Although some have complained about Nolan's back and forth between worlds being hard to follow, I had no trouble at all and thought it was very well done.

Setting: There were two settings: Nolan's on Earth in Arizona, and Amara's in a fantasy world on the lam. We didn't see much of Nolan's world as he mentally spent most of his time in Amara's, which was an interesting albeit kind of vague but colorful fantasy world with mages and slaves and diverse races living on oddly shaped islands. The magic was original and interesting, both the inherent magic of Amara's world and what Nolan, a traveler from another world, brought with him.

Story: Impressive, with stellar intrigue and brutal action. The mystery was good, with lots of twists and surprising revelations. There was pinches of tedium here and there, but they still held my interest and were quickly smothered by violent acts of magic and escape and abuse. Said escapes were choppy but thrilling and almost impossible to stop in the middle of, and the magical backlash caused all sorts of chaos, which was one of the highlights for me. Magic gone right can be dull - magic gone wrong can be magnificent. The climax was perfection, just the right pacing and length and lots of action, and the end was sweet and satisfying.

Characters: All the characters in the story were contradictory, confused, and complicated, which made them realistic but extremely difficult to describe. Amara was fear and hate in her forced situation but courage and loyalty in the face of duty. Nolan struggled for normalcy and control, but once he found control he put responsibility above normalcy. I struggled to truly understand them and, while I eventually did with Nolan, I never quite did with Amara. Her situation was confused so she was confused, and if the character didn't know then I certainly couldn't. This wasn't particularly a bad thing though, and made for a raw and realistic read.

Romantic Relationships: Bisexual. Of the main characters, Amara was the only one who had the time for a relationship, and she didn't waste any of it. She made out and slept with whoever was on hand, no matter how she felt about them at the time. I did think she and Maart were sweet together, but otherwise her lack of sexual morals degraded my opinion of her a bit.

Trigger Warning: Abuse and Violence. There are a few scenes of pretty brutal abuse (Amara at the hands of her adult male caretaker), nothing sexual but very violent. There are also several torture-like instances at the hands of a curse that some might find rather disturbing.

Conclusion: An impressive, diverse and engrossing read that I quite enjoyed. Highly recommend for older teens who enjoy unique multi-world fantasies.

Read It Again?: Possibly, but probably not (it's a good one-time read)

Scribble Rating
4 1/2 of 5 Scribbles

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds amazing! I'll have to get my hands on it soon, cause it sounds like something I would really enjoy! Great review!