Book Review: Otherbound

otherTitle: Otherbound
Author: Corinne Duyvis
Genres: Fantasy/SF
Pages: 387
Publisher: Amulet Books
Review Copy: ARC from publisher
Availability: Now! Just came out on Tuesday!

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.

Review: At first glance, the premise of this novel seems like it could be confusing and have the potential to go dastardly wrong. I’m thrilled to let you know that in fact, the opposite happens! You can’t put this book down. My plan was to read the book slowly over a series of nights and instead I ended up staying up way too late to finish it. Corinne Duyvis knocks it out of the park with this amazing debut of a novel.

Both Nolan and Amara are instantly likable characters that the reader is able to connect with, despite their extreme differences. Because of his connection to Amara, Nolan’s life is in constant flux and poor guy cannot get a break. In fact, he has lost a leg because of his connection to Amara and his family believes that he has seizures, when in reality he is in Amara’s world. Amara is a servant to a princess on the run, and she is actually mute, and communicates using sign language. Despite their disabilities, both Nolan and Amara are like action heroes, really. Once Nolan figures out how to “chat” with Amara, they work together to solve a mystery, so to speak, putting both their lives at risk. I find that characters who make the choice to be heroes are braver than the ones who are “destined for greatness”. Both Nolan and Amara fit into the description of the former and do not let their disabilities to hamper their goals in any way. For me, while the novel is a fantasy, the way Nolan’s and Amara’s disabilities were presented, as more background and just how they get about in the world, is realistic. I loved that this novel was not about them overcoming their disabilities, but more about the mystery of how Nolan and Amara, people from two different worlds, connect and overcome an oppressive government.

Another aspect of the novel I loved, and why Corinne’s book is so enjoyable, is how she writes the narration. The story is told from both Nolan’s and Amara’s point of view, which could be confusing especially when Nolan blinks and/or is with Amara. The way Corinne chose to break down those moments is what makes the novel interesting. The novel is particularly from Nolan’s point of view, and when he is drawn from Amara as some moments, you scream in frustration with him. When Nolan is fully with Amara, then the novel is in her point of view. The transitions between the two points of view is seamless and pulls the reader into the story. I can honestly say it was one of the reasons why I stayed up too late reading. Both voices are strong and like I said earlier, I was able to really connect with Nolan and Amara.

Lastly, the world that Corinne creates, Amara’s world, is just a diverse and real as our world. It was a foreign place, a unique world all it’s own, but there was hints of our world dropped in here and there. A reason exists for those small hints and the explanation given is just…you have to read the book to find out!

I greatly enjoyed this book and was sad when I finished. I don’t think there is a sequel planned, but I would love to spend more time in Amara’s world and even spend some time with Nolan

Recommendation: Get it now!

Share

“Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy”

I’m on a quest to write a short story (as I seem to prefer novel writing) and know that the best way to really understand the form is to study short stories. So, part of my summer reading will be to read a number of collections/anthologies of short stories. The YA ones on my list are:

Matter of soulsA Matter of Souls by Denise Lewis Patrick
Published by Carolrhoda Books
From the shores of Africa to the bowels of a transatlantic ship to a voting booth in Mississippi to the jungles of Vietnam, all human connection is a matter of souls. In this stirring collection of short stories, Denise Lewis Patrick considers the souls of black men and women across centuries and continents. In each, she takes the measure of their dignity, describes their dreams, and catalogs their fears. Brutality, beauty, laughter, rage, and love all take their turns in each story, but the final impression is of indomitable, luminous, and connected souls.

 

 

shermanBlasphemy by Sherman Alexie
Published by Grove Press
A bold and irreverent observer of life among Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, the daring, versatile, funny, and outrageous Alexie showcases all his talents in his newest collection, Blasphemy, where he unites fifteen beloved classics with fifteen new stories in one sweeping anthology for devoted fans and first-time readers.

An indispensable collection of new and classic stories, Blasphemy reminds us, on every thrilling page, why Sherman Alexie is one of our greatest contemporary writers and a true master of the short story.

 

defy darkDefy the Dark
Published by HarperTeen

The seventeen original stories in Defy the Dark, an eerie, mind-bending YA anthology, could only take place in darkness.

Open the pages and discover: A creepy guy who stares too long. The secrets of the core of the earth. Dreams of other people’s lives. A girl who goes mad in the darkness. Monsters in Bavaria. A generational spaceship where night doesn’t exist. And other mysteries and oddities.

The contributors to the enthralling collection are: Sarah Rees Brennan, Tessa Gratton, Rachel Hawkins, Christine Johnson, Valerie Kemp, Malinda Lo, Myra McEntire, Saundra Mitchell, Sarah Ockler, Jackson Pearce, Aprilynne Pike, Dia Reeves, Beth Revis, Carrie Ryan, Jon Skovron, Courtney Summers, and Kate Espy, winner of the Defy the Dark new author contest.

afterAfter: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia
Published by Hyperion Book

If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future.

Features stories by N.K. Jeminsin and Nalo Hopkinson. Two writers whose books I’ve loved. Cecil Castellucci and Sarah Rees Brennan, authors whose books we’ve shared here are also in this anthology.

While We Runthreeproxy

Since a number of my favorite series ended this past spring, I’m on the lookout for a new series to get lost in, or read all the books in one go. Of course I have to buy “While We Run” as I read the first book over spring break and loved it. I also think I’ll check out Kristen Simmon’s Article 5 trilogy since I know it just recently completed. And lastly, I’ve heard too much of the hype about Proxy and it’s sequel Guardian to not be in the know any longer. I have to read and understand what everyone is talking about.

Lastly, I’m also influenced by the reviews my fellow Rich In Color bloggers post, so adding these books to the list. Check in our archives for our blogger reviews to learn more.

pointeashalaldsjd

This list may seem like a lot of books, but trust me, I allow myself to indulge in my book reading addiction during the summer. I’ll read all of them, no problem! My vacation starts in two weeks; I can’t wait.

Share

New Releases

So, according to our release calender, June seems to be a slow month for diverse titles. On the one hand, that makes me quite sad, on the other hand a slow release month will give me time to catch up on a number of books I’ve been waiting to read.

Sadly, only one for this week.

truthThe Truth Against the World by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Flux

Summary: When Olwen Nia Evans learns that her family is moving from San Francisco to Wales to fulfill her great-grandmother’s dying wish, she starts having strange and vivid dreams about her family’s past. But nothing she sees in her dreams of the old country–the people, the places–makes any sense. Could it all be the result of an overactive imagination . . . or could everything she’s been told about her ancestors be a lie?

Once in Wales, she meets Gareth Lewis, a boy plagued by dreams of his own–visions he can’t shake after meeting a ghost among the misty cairns along the Welsh seaside.

A ghost named Olwen Nia Evans. – Cover image and summary via Goodreads

We missed one from last week. I’m excited for this series!

proxyGuardian (Proxy #2) by Alex London

Philomel

In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger.

People are falling ill—their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure . . . and what he discovers leaves him stunned.

This heart-stopping thriller is packed with action, adventure, and heroics. Guardian will leave you breathless until the final page.

 

 

Share

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

When the call came, asking folks to participate in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, all of us at Rich In Color jumped at the opportunity to help spread awareness, and activism, towards making the YA literary world more diverse. After all, that is our mission here at Rich In Color.

We are proud to be participating in this historic event. All of us will be participating in chats, off and on, so look out for our personal twitter handles and, of course for @Rich_In_Color.

    wediversity_jayangAudreyIMG_1625photo(29)photo(30)

Share