Review: Otherbound

Posted: 27/02/2016 in book reviews, books
Tags: , , ,

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Content warnings: mentions of death, violence, torture, bisexual romance, mentions of sex, lack of bodily autonomy

So yeah. I liked this book but it also made me uncomfortable. Especially when it came to issues of disability and bodily autonomy. A lot of which I voiced in last night’s #BiYABooks twitter chat. I’m going to try to expand on a few things I mentioned explicitly in my tweets.

I really didn’t like that it took half the book (maybe a bit more or less, not sure on that at the moment) for Amara to show more than just confusion over her feelings towards Cilla. I understand why of course but understanding doesn’t mean I’ll like it any more. Sexuality and who you are romantically and sexually attracted to aren’t mutually exclusive and are fluid and will be expressed/explored/acted on differently depending on the person(s) involved. Despite mainstream society saying they are fixed things and you’re lying if you say you’re one thing and then a few years down the road another thing. You aren’t. That’s people refusing to understand what fluid means. This wasn’t a tragic bisexual story. Which I appreciated a lot. And by tragic (sexuality) story, I mean it’s one of those bad things happen and partner dies BECAUSE of their sexuality. We need a lot less of those.

Despite not liking the first half of confusion over thoughts about Cilla from Amara while she’s in a relationship of convenience with Maart (which is another topic altogether), it is a VERY common thing for people to experience. Especially if they’re not straight or just starting to have sexual feelings towards a person. Or not have sexual feelings towards people. It’s an important narrative to show. However, I wasn’t fully sold on either of Amara’s relationships.

Maart and Amara felt like a relationship of convenience and circumstances. Like I felt that were they NOT in the positions they were in and met, they wouldn’t have been in a relationship except maybe passing friends. So really, I felt a lot of nothing towards that relationship. And then her and Cilla, I felt a little bit of a connection but again not completely sold on it. It might also have been a relationship due to circumstances involved. Especially since her and Cilla had a lot of back story together and grew up together (and yes, it’s completely normal for relationships to happen because of that).

Nolan taking over Amara’s body and basically being in her body/brain unnoticed without her consent most of the time every time he closed his eyes really bothers me. Though, I DO appreciate him saying that it was her body so it’s her choice for what she wanted done with it.

Too much of this felt like “magical person with disabilities” trope. Where they are magical and can do things that able bodied people can’t do *because* they have x disability (it’s a close tie in with magical black person trope and I refuse to use the actual word that goes instead of black person). Like I’m sure the author wasn’t necessarily intending to be that way but that’s how it came across to me.

And the ending. It was both too abrupt and too ambiguous to say 100% that it was a happily ever after ending. It was all Nolan saying what he *HOPED* happened without showing what actually happened. And given that there were times when he wasn’t in her head/body that we got to see what was happening in her world, it was kind of disappointing not getting an epilogue from her pov showing what happened.

All in all though, it was a pretty good book. That I’d definitely recommend.

Buy it here:

Amazon(US)|Amazon(UK)|Amazon(AU)|Amazon(CA)|Barnes & Noble|iBooks|Google Play|Waterstones


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