Published by Amulet Books on June 17, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, LGBT
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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.
Today I’d like to welcome the lovely Chiara @ Books for A Delicate Eternity for this guest review!
I had wanted to read Otherbound for a VERY long time, so when Jeann offered it to me for review, I was extremely excited. I’d heard great things about it, and it’s a fantasy featuring a bisexual main character (and lord knows we need more diversity in YA fantasy).
Unfortunately, I didn’t love this one as much as I hoped I would. I’m going to break it down into the things I really liked, and the things I wasn’t a big fan of, just to give some more insight into why this one didn’t quite reach its potential for me as a reader.
There were two main aspects of this novel that I loved:
The first is the diversity. Not only is one of our main characters (Amara) bisexual, but our other main character (Nolan) is Spanish-Mexican. And Amara’s female love interest is a girl of colour. The racial diversity in this book is on point, and it was beyond fabulous to read about. There was also physical diversity (I don’t know if that is the right word, but hopefully you know what I mean) in Otherbound: Nolan uses a prosthetic foot and crutches, and Amara cannot speak and signs her speech throughout the whole book. Neither Nolan nor Amara were wealthy, either. Amara is a servant, and Nolan’s mum has to work two jobs to try and pay for his ‘epilepsy’ (he doesn’t actually have epilepsy) drugs.
I want more books like this. Books that don’t just pick race or sexual orientation or physical diversity or economic diversity, but include them all. I don’t think I have ever come across a book (either contemporary or SF/F) in YA that has so much intersectional diversity.
The second aspect I liked about Otherbound was its premise. I loved the idea that there are other worlds besides ours, but we just don’t know about them. Otherbound weaved Nolan’s contemporary story with Amara’s fantasy one really well, and it was incredibly interesting to watch how they melded together over time.
These are the few aspects I wasn’t so sure about:
The second half of the novel is a lot better than the first. The first half takes a while to really get into the heart of the story, and there’s the introduction of a lot of magical aspects in Amara’s world that need deciphering.
I didn’t emotionally connect to any of the characters. Even when bad shit was happening. I didn’t have any kind of emotional response when Amara or Nolan were threatened, and even though I wanted a happy ending for both of them (because that’s just the kind of reader I am), I wasn’t investing any kind of hope into it. Which is probably the main reason I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I would. Because even though it was enjoyable, and, at times, entertaining, I didn’t really care about what was happening.
The ending moved extremely quickly, and I don’t really feel that it was wrapped up all that well. To be entirely honest, I thought there was going to be a sequel, because there was just so much that had to happen in such a short time, and I didn’t think it would all come to a close. It did, to an extent. I have to warn that the ending was extremely open, which probably added to my dissatisfaction.
So, there were aspects that I was a huge fan of in Otherbound, and aspects that I wasn’t completely on board with. Overall, though, it was an enjoyable read, and if you’re looking for an incredibly diverse YA fantasy that introduces a unique idea, then Otherbound is definitely worth your time.
(Also, I really have no idea why this book is called Otherbound. The word ‘oathbound’ was used once, and had no kind of description or explanation attached to it, either. This annoyed me. I like titles to make sense. But it didn’t impede on my enjoyment of the book, though. I just had to mention it!)
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thanks to Scholastic Australia for providing a review copy of the book!