Review: Otherbound

duyvisotherbound

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

★★★★☆

2014 • 400 pages • Amulet Books

When it comes to fantasy, I usually don’t like my secondary worlds squirreled away within our own. (Careful Internetting tells me that this is called portal fantasy, which is an incredibly handy phrase.) As a kid, I was just burned too many times where the real setting isn’t integrated carefully and a real part of the story. At best, I’ve seen easily bruised worldbuilding (Harry Potter); at worst, I’ve seen hideous emotional trauma swept under the rug (The Chronicles of Narnia). I fully realize and know that it can be done well—I’ve seen it done well, such as in The Magicians, an incredibly brutal deconstruction of both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia—but I’ve developed an aversion to it.

(This probably accounts for my reluctance when it comes to urban fantasy, come to think of it.)

So Otherbound’s central conceit, that a teenager in our world experiences the life of a servant in a more traditional fantasy setting whenever he closes his eyes, didn’t appeal to me. What did appeal to me was Ana’s review at the Book Smugglers, which revealed that Otherbound was diverse young adult fiction, a rare enough quantity in and of itself, let alone diverse young adult fantasy. I decided to suck it up and give it a go.

Continue reading

Review: Bliss

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

My only encounter with Lauren Myracle was seeing ttyl come out when I was thirteen; I had yet to be rightfully punched in the face by Debate, and so, puffed up with self-righteous pretension, I was utterly aghast. If I had been the kind of girl to wear pearls, they would have been so fretfully clutched I would have broken the necklace. Now, obviously, I know that it’s a modern epistolary novel and, hey, man, whatever gets the kids reading, you know? I forgot all about her until Anastasia recently reviewed Bliss, and I knew I had to read a novel she described as The Craft 1960s-style.

Continue reading