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Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis is one of those examples.
Before I go into why, however, here’s the Goodreads 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.”So I began reading Otherbound thinking it would be a cool fantasy story with a diverse cast and an interesting premise. I was right, but wow, I didn’t realize how impressive this book would be.
The world building and magic system alone makes the unique world of Otherbound so very interesting—I’ve never seen a magic system quite like what Duyvis put together in Nolan and Amara’s intertwined worlds, and it was totally refreshing to see a fantasy world where there are consequences to magic use (can you say FINALLY?). Combined with the intricate details of the cultures (yes! more than one! thank you again!) and norms of Amara’s world and the totally fascinating epilepsy-not-really-epilepsy-like attacks Nolan gets in his reality when slipping into Amara’s world, and it all makes for one really interesting story.
I will say that there were some aspects of Amara’s world that confused me and/or I had trouble grasping, but all in all, the world building was really well done and I totally admire the way Duyvis wrote Nolan and Amara’s worlds.
Oh, and have I mentioned the diverse characters? This made me so happy. Nolan is a latino amputee with “epilepsy” (and even though we know it’s not epilepsy, the way Amara’s world affects him in a way that totally breaks your heart) and Amara is a mute bisexual girl. Not only that, but the full cast beyond the protagonists are so very diverse and it really was an extra bonus in an already fabulous book.
I totally recommend this book to those who enjoy YA Fantasy, and I look forward to more books from Duyvis!