Author: Corinne Duyvis
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: 17 June 2014
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Diversity: Disabled MCs, People of Color, LGBT Characters
TW: child abuse (mentioned), slavery, abuse, murder
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.
Nolan is a mexican boy living in America. He has not lived a normal life since he was a young boy and lost part of his leg in an accident caused by his first seizure. Every time Nolan closes his eyes now, even when he blinks, he is transported into Amara’s world.
Amara is a mute slave girl only able to communicate trough sign language. Since her child hood she’s been on the run. After a rebellion and the murder of most of the royal family Amara was picked as the princess’ healer as the princess is cursed. Every time she bleeds, even a single drop, the curse is activated, ready to kill her. Amara needs to hurt herself every time to pull the curse towards her. If she messes up even a single thing Jorn, her master, punishes her cruelly. When she becomes aware of Nolan’s existence she is terrified and angry. But nothing is as it seems and when everything becomes even more dangerous they have to work together.
Nolan is a fascinating character and his disability is portrayed incredible thoughtful. We can see that he struggled with school and that his family struggles with being able to afford the medication for him. His struggle is not glossed over and instead shown in great detail. He has a nice relationship with his sister Pat.
Amara’s suffering is also portrayed well and with the change of View you manage to empathize well with each character. I loved that her’s and Cilla’s relationship issues were discussed, as there is quite a power imbalance between them two. Their romance was incredible sweet, but did not overtake the plot. (There is also no love triangle! Yeah!!!)
The world building is wonderfully done and you can see that Duyvis put a lot of thought into it. Duyvis invented a lot for Amara’s world, with different and distinct magic, appearance, livelihood and customs for every country. This book also features an incredible diverse cast of characters, a disabled mexican-american boy and a bisexual mute dark-skinned girl as main characters, as well as interesting side characters like Maart and Cilla.
There are a lot of plot twists and the story kept me guessing until the end. Sadly there are still a few questions left in the end of the plot, which is quite annoying. (For example: How can people travel between these two worlds? Why is there not more explanation about that topic?)
P.S.: “letting her lungs expell air she hadn’t realized they’d been holding” is just a more fanzy way of saying “she let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding”…
Except for that I enjoyed the story a lot, especially how effortlessly yet realistic the diversity was built into the story.
Why I read it: I saw a recommendation for this book on bisexual-books.tumblr.com ages ago and decided to finally read it after it has been on my TBR for /ages/ and I did not regret it!
Do I recommend it: Yes, I do. It’s a lovely diverse fantasy novel and despite the questions left, the world building is nice and I enjoyed it a lot.