Nolan doesn't see darkness when he closes his eyes. Instead, he s transported into the mind of Amara, a girl living in a different world. Nolan s life in his small Arizona town is full of history tests, family tension, and laundry; his parents think he has epilepsy, judging from his frequent blackouts. Amara s world is full of magic and danger--she s a mute servant girl who s tasked with protecting a renegade princess. Nolan is only an observer in Amara's world until he learns to control her. At first, Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious. But to keep the princess and themselves alive, they'll have to work together and discover the truth behind their connection. A fascinating premise, clearly and compellingly written and imagined by a startlingly original debut writer.
Life hasn’t been easy for Nolan. The world sees him as handicapped – a boy with walks with a limp and suffers from seizures. But that is the least of it. Whenever Nolan closes his eyes, he is transported into the mind of a girl from another world. He sees what Amara sees, goes where she does and has to endure the life others have forced upon her. For years Nolan has been a passive observer but one day that changes and all of a sudden he is controlling her actions and Amara finds herself trapped within her own body. Both Nolan and Amara want freedom and the only way they can achieve it is if they work together.
I love the concept of Otherbound. Two completely different teens who are worlds apart and sharing some kind of psychic connection. It’s clever and interesting. Amara’s life is interesting with missing princess, mages and people with power trying to gain control. She has to endure hardships and trauma whilst at the same time trying to save a cursed princess. Amara is an interesting character who had some great development over the course of the novel. The way she handled her situations was believable as was her adjustment to finding out she had an interloper existing inside her head. The magic and mages in Amara’s world added to the atmosphere and drama of the novel.
Nolan’s life was similarly fascinating. Having the connection be one way (with Nolan being trapped inside Amara’s mind and her being unaware of his existence) was such an interesting idea and I liked Duyvis’ execution of the mind-link. I also liked how Nolan was effected by Amara. His life may not have the same dangers and pressures that hers does, his privacy may not have been invaded like hers, but his unintentional eavesdropping had some rather drastic impacts on his life.
For the most part I enjoyed the plot. Most of the action occurs in Amara’s world either following her point of view or seeing the world from Nolan’s unique perspective inside Amara’s mind. The crossovers between their lives was interesting and I liked the way the plot developed. The way everything went down at the end was not how I envisaged this novel going when I began reading however it was right for the book. There were a few times in this novel where I was a little confused as to what was happening but for the most part it is clear what is going on. The way this book switches between Nolan and Amara did take a little getting used to especially for the chapters were Nolan was entirely inside Amara’s mind.
Otherbound is a great read that was unlike any other that I’ve read before. The concept is unique and one which was well thought out and executed nicely. The leading characters, Nolan and Amara, are likeable and great choices to lead this story. This is a book which will keep me thinking for many years to come.
Thanks to Thames and Hudson for the review copy.