What if every time you closed your eyes, you saw someone else’s life , someone living in a world entirely foreign to you, full of magic and danger? That is the premise of Corinne Duyvis’ debut novel Otherbound, a book which surprised me and had me eagerly reading to find out how it would end. This is fantasy/sci-fi novel is an original and unique stand-alone (and stand-alones are a nice change).
Nolan has been able to see through Amara’s eyes for as long as he can remember. His parents and doctors think he has a rare form of epilepsy, one that causes vivid hallucinations. Nolan believes that the rest of his life will be a life half-lived in his world and half in Amara’s, and he doesn’t expect anything to change. He has always been just an observer, and that is how he thinks it will always be. Until the day he takes control of Amara.
Amara is a slave, and her sole purpose is to protect the princess from the deadly effects of a horrible spell. She has no control over her destiny, so when she learns that someone has been watching her entire life and can now take control of her body, she becomes enraged. She hates Nolan and the fact that he has taken away the privacy of her most intimate moments. But then Amara and Nolan decide to work together to try to save both of their futures.
This was a fantastically original piece of fiction. Corinne Duyvis’ imagination and creativity is evident in the strength of her world and character building. The novel is split between the two main characters, and both of the narrators are strong and fully realized individuals. You can feel Amara’s sense of violation and horror when she thinks of all the things that Nolan was able to witness. You understand her helplessness and her rage. But you also understand Nolan, who has lost any semblance of a normal life because he can see though Amara’s eyes. Her world is almost more real to him than his own!
The action in this book starts slowly, with the reader able to sense how trapped Nolan and Amara feel, both watching their lives pass without much control. As Nolan starts to be able to take over, however, the gear shifts, and everything starts to change. By the end of the book, with our two protagonists working together, you find yourself on a fast-paced race toward the end of the novel.
I was very impressed with this book, and I suggest giving it a look. It’s very different, and I mean that in only the best possible way.