Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis


Novel 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.

My Rating : 3 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : Such promises. Such intriguing plot. Otherbound had everything I’d been looking for quite a long time.

Physically disabled leads (Goodness, I’m tired of perfection).

A lead of colour.

Bisexuality.

The book had what should have been an engrossing storyline. A disabled boy from Arizona, Nolan, had power to switch into the mind of a girl every time he blinked, Ammara, from the otherworld, tasked to protect the cursed princess she serves. At first Nolan could see through her eyes, then he learned to take control of her body.

Undoubtedly Ammara was terrified and angry. Now, desperately want to be free from each other, together they embarked a dangerous journey.

-- The plot was trite and had no sense of excitement. And the pacing was slow.

Nolan did nothing but to observe her life from Amara's head, while Amara was actively trying to protect the princess, which includes running from evil Mages, taking an arrow and more running. However, courtesy to Nolan, she blacked out several time during the process, and ended up getting punished. The first third of the book nothing exciting happened beside running, and random actions, which rather slowed down the pace instead of moving it forward. Things happened, risks were taken, and decisions were made. The story had every tool to move the plot forward, but it just stayed stagnant. Such fantasy is expected to have twists and turns, even if they are shocking revelation or given information. In this case, they came way too late.

--I seriously couldn't get a sense of the world building. Random places are mentioned without any background information or details. Different kind of Mages appeared, and again, without any relevant background. Like : Where did they came from? Or, how their power works?
Clearly, I had a very hard time in imagining the secondary world.


--The switching between minds was confusing, because it resulted in a very confusing and drastic change in POVs. In a chapter that should have been from Nolan’s point of view, we were suddenly thrown in Ammara’s and vice-versa. I understand the concept of dual point of view, but this? This is way more puzzling and complicated.

Characters

--Ammara, I felt connected to. She was a mute servant girl, whose tongue was cut out as a child, as a part of her preparation to become a servant. Boy oh boy, she was even branded. One small mistake and she get abused by Jorn—the drunken guardian of the princess. Despite her initial dislike to the princess, Cilla, she never neglected her duty. I was impressed by her sense of loyalty.

The book presented Ammara as bisexual, who was involved with a fellow male servant, and also later attracted towards Cilla. However the LGBTQ element played a very minor role in the story. Ammara grown to care for Cilla, and so did Nolan, but as far as logic suggests, Ammara's interest in Cilla might be the effect of Nolan living in her head.

--Nolan, I felt sympathy for. When he first switched into Ammara’s mind as a child while crossing a road, and as consequence, it cost him his leg. Now, aside from coping with his loss, he slowly leaned to control his ability, and later to take control of Ammara. His connection to Ammara was given a possible scientific explanation, i.e. neurological disorder. Although without further depth into the matter.


I’d suggest to give Otherbound a try, and not to judge it based on my opinion. You may end up liking it.




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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Blog Tour : Scan by Sarah Fine, Walter Jury


Book Summary : Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

All Tate knows--like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid--may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.

My Rating : 4 of 5 stars


My Thoughts : All his life, Tate was raised to be best at everything, which included going through rigorous combat training, and learning tough subjects and languages, so one day he could meet his father’s unreasonably high expectations. And his parents refused to tell him why. But the truth was soon revealed when he broke in his father’s highly secured study and stole one of his inventions. It resulted in a greater repercussion when his school was invaded by ruthless mercenaries, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

Scan was exactly the sci-fi thriller I have been waiting for so long—a thrill ride from beginning to end. With science’s intricacies to the depths of relationships, it was a solid and adventurous read for me. I went into Scan expecting actions, but never expected to be barraged with bullets.

Tate was a science genius, expected to follow his scientist father’s footsteps. However navigating through the friction between him and his father had never been easy for him. He chose silent reciprocation as counteract to his father’s lordly decisions. Where some of these moments were frustrating for me, I properly understood the inner tumult he faced. Good part was, his character, to my utter satisfaction, underwent a drastic development by the end of the book.

Overall, credibly authentic, Scan was the beginning of an epic new series.



About The Authors :

Walter Jury was born in London, has a background in the film industry, is a big fan of the New York Giants, and enthusiast of Jamba Juice’s Protein Berry Workout smoothie only with soy, never whey. “Scan” is his first book for teens. Oh, and under his real name, he’s a producer of one of 2014’s biggest blockbusters. Let’s just say he “diverges” in his career from film to literature quite well.

Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she
lives with her husband and two children. She is the author (as Sarah Fine) of several young adult books, and when she's not
writing, she’s working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now.

SCAN
By Walter Jury and Sarah Fine
Hardcover, $17.99
eBook, $10.99
ISBN: 978-0399160653
Science Fiction
336 pages
Penguin/G.P. Putnam’s Sons
May 1, 2014




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