Otherbound is a ridiculously ambitious book. Duyvis does things with her characters and world-building that I've really and truly never seen before, especially in a young adult book. Living life through multiple genders. Struggling with sexuality. Struggling with a disability. Trying to fit in. Living a lie to save the feelings of another. It is crazy the amount of topics that the author attempts to tackle in a single volume.
Unfortunately, this book just did not work for me. It was not due to any of the things I mentioned before, however--the diversity is fantastic, and it is always nice to read something new instead of the same cookie cutter story all the time. My main issues with this book spring from a lack of urgency and drive in the plot. Every little step forward in the story takes several chapters and sometimes hundreds of pages to happen, making it very difficult to maintain interest. This wouldn't be so frustrating if the characters themselves were developing along the way to distract the reader from the fact that the plot is not moving very quickly, but the character development also moves at a rather glacial pace.
Maybe it is just the mood I am in right now, and I am being too impatient. Maybe it is because this is half high fantasy, and I oftentimes have difficulty reading that genre. Maybe it is something else entirely, or a combination of these things. Either way, this book was just not my cup of tea. That being said, I think that this story definitely deserves a chance. A lot of people loved it; I am in the large minority for not falling head over heels.
I'd recommend this book to fans of high fantasy with magical elements, and for anyone who is looking for a young adult book that isn't the same old characters in the same old setting with the same old problems. Duyvis definitely broke the mold with this one.