"Review My Books" Review by Jenny @ Reading on the Farm
by Corinne Duyvis
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books (June 17, 2014)
Amazon | Goodreads
Nolan has been having siezures since he was 5 years old. Except they’re not seizures like anyone has ever heard of before. Every time he closes his eyes, even to blink, he catches glimpses of a whole other world through a girl’s eyes. That girl is Amara, and if he gets too caught up in watching what’s going on in her world, he can slip into a coma in his.
Life is extremely difficult for Nolan, as you can imagine. He can’t concentrate in school, he can’t make friends, he can’t even sleep well at night because whenever he does, he sees what is happening in Amara’s world. Honestly, I was surprised Nolan hadn’t gone insane yet. And getting sucked into Amara’s world can be dangerous physically as well. All it would take is getting distracted for a minute too long, and he could drown in the bath or get hit by a car. He keeps track of everything that happens while he’s in Amara’s world in a series of journals to try and keep her world apart from his.
Life in Amara’s world isn’t any easier though. She’s a servant to the Princess Cilla, and they’ve been on the run for years. A power coup when the princess was young left the ministers in charge and left Cilla with a horrible curse. Not only that, but as is tradition in the Dunelands for a servant, Amara had her tongue cut out when she was young. And although Nolan always sees what is going on in her world, Amara is unaware of his presence at all. At least until the situation changes when Amara’s life is threatened.
Holy cow. The detail in this book was unbelievable. Corinne Duyvis built such an elaborate world in Otherbound. The political and social system in the Dunelands was so well thought out and the way we see how Amara fits into that social system was so interesting. I will say that the amount of detail was a little difficult for me to get into in the beginning. As a reader, you’re thrown into this extremely bizarre situation, flipping from Nolan’s world to Amara’s and back and forth. And in all this, we’re getting the backstory for Amara and Nolan and everything that’s been happening in both worlds. I struggled to get into the flow of the story in the beginning, simply because I was overwhelmed with the amount of information coming at me from all sides. Once I kind of got caught up to the background of the story though, and where Nolan and Amara fit in, it was a really engrossing read.
Corinne Duyvis layers so many things into this book that I absolutely love. Nolan, who lives in a small Arizona town, is Mexican. Not only that, but he’s disabled, having lost his foot in an accident when he was younger. In the Dunelands, race comes into play as a part of the society’s heirarchy. It’s so rare to find a book that deals with issues that we unfortunately don’t see that often in our main characters. But not only that, she adds them in flawlessly. I felt like we got to see part of Nolan’s Mexican history through his parents and family and I loved it.
The other thing I loved about this book was the twists. Just when I thought I was getting into a rhythm of what was happening and what I thought was coming up next, I would get thrown for a loop again. Up until the very last page, I didn’t know how everything would end and it was such a great, on the edge of your seat feeling. The pacing was perfect too. Once the first quarter of the book was over, it was a steady progression to a very action packed ending.
Finally, I was really impressed by the different voices of Nolan and Amara. Sometimes, in dual POV books, I feel like the voices of the different characters ‘sound’ similar. In this book, there are definitely two distinct voices for Nolan and Amara. I found that even more impressive considering how complicated the plot was, with Nolan being inside Amara’s mind, listening to her thoughts.
Honestly, I couldn’t believe this was a debut author. The writing was really good, and I was totally enthralled with the character’s lives. We’re drawn along with them into the murky gray area between right and wrong, between our ideas of morality and how our morals are changed into actions. It will make you think, and I love that more than anything.
If you love stories about friendship and romance, alternate worlds, and that giant gray area that stretches between right and wrong, you will love this book. It will pull you in, and leave you thinking about it for days to come.