Posted by Venus on Monday, November 24, 2014
Labels: Young Adult Review
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Nolan has epilepsy. At least that is what everyone believes. What he doesn't tell people is that every time he closes his eyes, blinking for even a second, he experiences another world through the eyes of a girl named Amara. Amara is a servant with the ability to heal. Like all servants in her world, her tongue has been cut out, she is banned from reading or writing, and can only use sign language to communicate. Her healing, a gift from the spirits that helps her in her duties to protect the Princess Cilla who has a curse upon her. If Cilla bleeds, even a tiny drop, the curse is activated. Amara, with her gift, must mingle her blood with the princesses, suffering pain and torment until the princess stops bleeding. Among their company is Jorn, a man who keeps them safe, but can have violent mood swings from time to time. And Maart, a fellow servant and her lover who is constantly asking Amara to run away with him. Nolan, watches all of this, an unwilling participant in Amara's life, but with no way to tell her of his existence. His own life is a shambles, because how can a person concentrate when they are living someone else's life when their eyes are closed? Then, Nolan accidentally takes two pills from his new epilepsy medication and somehow he is able to control Amara's body. Upon learning of his existence Amara feels violated and angry, but it may require both of them to discover the true nature of Cilla's curse and how to end it.
Have you ever read a book and been jealous of the author? This may be a writer thing, but sometimes I will read a book that I think is so good that I am jealous of the author who wrote it. Not in a competitive way, but rather because I wish, hope, and strive to write things myself. And hope beyond hope that it actually happens one day.
I loved this book. The characters are so strong. Amara, despite a missing tongue and being forced to serve, is strong-willed, intelligent, and caring. She is complex and thoughtful and when she discovers Nolan's existence is most upset by the notion that her thoughts, which are the only thing she can claim as her own, were being listened to by this strange boy from another world. Maart was a bit more two-dimensional, but this is mostly because we are seeing the world through Amara's lens and she doesn't know or understand everything about him. Cilla is a very interesting character and for reasons I cannot get into without giving too many spoilers, lets just say that she has a strength that is long hidden by this horrible curse. Even Jorn and their enemies have complex stories. Nolan and his family are equally interesting with his parents worrying over his epilepsy, his sister almost writing him off, and he himself wondering if maybe he is just making it all up.
The world itself was interesting, although not always clear to me. Nolan and Amara know their world so well though that to really go into any more detail though would have just resulted in a lot of pace slowing exposition. I am still not entirely sure how Nolan actually got into Amara's head, but I think that this is one of the instances where one must just suspend their disbelief and let the magic take over. There are a lot of things to like about this book along with some fabulous instances of diversity that never felt forced. I was completely sucked in from beginning to end and loved that the story was unpredictable and magical.