Otherbound - Corinne Duyvis

In my opinion, the premise should be enough to get you into this story: a disabled boy in Nevada becomes a mute servant girl in a magical kingdom every-time he closes his eyes.

Not yet? Read on. Since he was six or so, Nolan has been treated for epilepsy, but what looks like he’s having a seizure is actually him leaving his body to piggyback the life of a girl on the run, a servant protecting a princess from a coup. Nolan meanwhile doesn’t have much of a life, he doesn’t have any friends, barely knows his punk sister, all he has are notebooks filled with a world that makes no sense and swimming whenever he can keep his head on straight long enough.

This book really grabbed me from the get go, considering the premise isn’t something trifling, and it was great. Sign language and disability are important topics not to be treated lightly, and Corinne Duyvis doesn’t shy away from being real with the reader. She found readers to help with all the aspects, as you can see in the acknowledgments, and has produced a fascinating book. I will say this without spoiling anything, that while I was committed to finishing it with the first chapter or so, and read the first half of the book consistently over two weeks, when I hit the 75% mark a twist that I thought was just a way-point turned into such an epic conclusion that I couldn’t stand it. I had no way and no one to convey my alarm at what happened. I’m not hyperbolizing much when I say: it blew me away.

I can’t tell you. But I want you to read this, I want you to be taken aback as well by what happens.
This is a stand alone novel, but the world is by no means lacking. There is no skimping in this book. I thought at first that I didn’t have as good a sense of the world that the girl, Amara, is traveling through as I did of Nolan’s desert city. To be fair I’ve never been to either, yet Nevada came more easily to me than the cobbled streets in a magical city. I think this is the juxtaposition of things we can easily supplement with photos and more words than creating a whole new fantasy world in our heads. This has less to do with authorial ability and more with that just being the way things are, the way our culture exposes us to different things.

So let your imagination go wild when imagining the pubs and harbors and market stalls in Amara’s world. Unless you’ve been to Nevada, you’re doing the same thing there anyway. Enjoy!

Pages; 400
Year: 2014
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Read: 25.2.16-27.3-16
Stars: 4.5