Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis


Novel Summary : 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.

My Rating : 3 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : Such promises. Such intriguing plot. Otherbound had everything I’d been looking for quite a long time.

Physically disabled leads (Goodness, I’m tired of perfection).

A lead of colour.

Bisexuality.

The book had what should have been an engrossing storyline. A disabled boy from Arizona, Nolan, had power to switch into the mind of a girl every time he blinked, Ammara, from the otherworld, tasked to protect the cursed princess she serves. At first Nolan could see through her eyes, then he learned to take control of her body.

Undoubtedly Ammara was terrified and angry. Now, desperately want to be free from each other, together they embarked a dangerous journey.

-- The plot was trite and had no sense of excitement. And the pacing was slow.

Nolan did nothing but to observe her life from Amara's head, while Amara was actively trying to protect the princess, which includes running from evil Mages, taking an arrow and more running. However, courtesy to Nolan, she blacked out several time during the process, and ended up getting punished. The first third of the book nothing exciting happened beside running, and random actions, which rather slowed down the pace instead of moving it forward. Things happened, risks were taken, and decisions were made. The story had every tool to move the plot forward, but it just stayed stagnant. Such fantasy is expected to have twists and turns, even if they are shocking revelation or given information. In this case, they came way too late.

--I seriously couldn't get a sense of the world building. Random places are mentioned without any background information or details. Different kind of Mages appeared, and again, without any relevant background. Like : Where did they came from? Or, how their power works?
Clearly, I had a very hard time in imagining the secondary world.


--The switching between minds was confusing, because it resulted in a very confusing and drastic change in POVs. In a chapter that should have been from Nolan’s point of view, we were suddenly thrown in Ammara’s and vice-versa. I understand the concept of dual point of view, but this? This is way more puzzling and complicated.

Characters

--Ammara, I felt connected to. She was a mute servant girl, whose tongue was cut out as a child, as a part of her preparation to become a servant. Boy oh boy, she was even branded. One small mistake and she get abused by Jorn—the drunken guardian of the princess. Despite her initial dislike to the princess, Cilla, she never neglected her duty. I was impressed by her sense of loyalty.

The book presented Ammara as bisexual, who was involved with a fellow male servant, and also later attracted towards Cilla. However the LGBTQ element played a very minor role in the story. Ammara grown to care for Cilla, and so did Nolan, but as far as logic suggests, Ammara's interest in Cilla might be the effect of Nolan living in her head.

--Nolan, I felt sympathy for. When he first switched into Ammara’s mind as a child while crossing a road, and as consequence, it cost him his leg. Now, aside from coping with his loss, he slowly leaned to control his ability, and later to take control of Ammara. His connection to Ammara was given a possible scientific explanation, i.e. neurological disorder. Although without further depth into the matter.


I’d suggest to give Otherbound a try, and not to judge it based on my opinion. You may end up liking it.




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