Let’s Read Otherbound ch. 5-6


Chapter 5

Nolan folds clothes while Amara runs for her life in the Dunelands. You can see how this would make ordinary tasks difficult.

So last chapter there was a bit where Amara blacked out briefly that I was somewhat confused by. People in the comments pointed out that this was probably Amara slipping into Nolan’s head or something, and it seems that they’re correct as Amara’s blackouts are now corresponding with moments where Nolan is snooping inside her mind.

Anyway Nolan watches while Amara and Cilla head for a “carecenter” (basically a magic hospital) in the hope that the mages will lose track of the curse with all the other spells being performed in the area. I didn’t mention this before but the area they’re in now has gas lighting and Cilla’s homeland apparently has what sounds like modern plumbing, so the fantasy setting seems to be at a higher level of technology than the usual generic ye olde fantasie worlde.

One of the mages fires an arrow at Amara, grazing her shoulder and also making Nolan share in the experience (I’m assuming her link with Nolan is tied up somehow with how her healing works). Apparently they can’t wizard at either Cilla or Amara because the spells would interact with their curse/wolverine healing factor and either cancel out or explode with enough force to destroy an entire street. Although if the former option took place this would mean the curse was no longer active, which I guess presents one possible (although extremely risky) way to get rid of it.

While this is happening Nolan scribbles about the Dunelands in his notebook, which is apparently how he copes with particularly traumatic stuff he’s forced to experience. Unfortunately this time it doesn’t quite work:

—because when the next arrow hit, it wasn’t Amara’s shoulder, and it wasn’t a scrape. It hit her low, between pelvis and spine. The arrow didn’t feel sharp. It felt blunt, like a punch. Amara’s legs gave out. She went flying to the pavement, shredding her palms on the stones. She gave it a second, two seconds, three, unable to do anything but lie there and wheeze. The world shrank to that spot in her back.

Get up! Nolan wanted to scream. Get up! Get up!

Amara blacks out again just as the mages are closing in and we learn that she’s long suspected that being fatally wounded quickly and seriously enough might kill her. Nolan naturally wonder what that might mean for him- release from his bond to Amara, or death? Since everything else in Nolan’s life sucks donkey balls I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Luckily just then Nolan manages to take control of Amara for the first time and gets her up and sprinting off to the magic hospital.

Chapter 6

Amara wakes up from her brief trip into Nolan-land still being chased by the mages. She’s about to try and slow them down, using her sizeable advantage of being essentially invincible, but then Jorn shows up and tells her to keep running. They arrive at the carecenter to discover that Cilla has twisted her ankle badly. After inspecting the wound (and getting all in a tizzy from looking at Cilla’s legs) Amara sees Jorn fighting outside and speculates that he might kill her as a liability if he finds out about her Nolanventures.

Jorn, fighting the mages, risking his life for Cilla’s, using magic the spirits had never let Amara access.

I am slightly confused by the way the action scenes in these last two chapters are being presented. Amara assumes (presumably based on experience) that if she gets incapacitated by the mages they’ll just leave her for dead instead of tying rocks to her and dumping her into the ocean or something, and Jorn and the mages have apparently fought often without either side actually getting killed, which seems unlikely. It gives the strange impression that they’re all doing A-Team Firing constantly.

There’s a slightly hard to believe conversation where Cilla asks Amara if she hates her- still getting the weird impression that the mages are not actually that much of a threat- then Jorn comes up and announces that they better leave, like, now. There’s a lot of social boundaries breaking down in this bit, possibly as some sort of Theme. Amara “speaks” to Cilla in a way that she shouldn’t due to the urgency of the situation, Cilla states that she believes she owes Amara for saving her even though from Amara’s point of view she’s just performing a duty, and Jorn snaps at Cilla before remembering himself and adopting a more respectful tone.

Gosh it’s almost like if your characters are well thought out instead of two dimensional cliches their interactions will be interesting to read. Fancy that.

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6 thoughts on “Let’s Read Otherbound ch. 5-6

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read Otherbound ch. 7-8 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. Signatus

    I get the feeling this world resembles lightly Dunwall, from Dishonored, a sort of steampunk fantasy setting, which I’m totally cool with.

    The fighting scene was not very believable or intense. The parts where Nolan was interacting with it were very well done and the feeling of excitement was believable, but there was a certain blandness I was not expecting from an inminent threat as they are supposed to be facing. It sort of reminded me to Trudi Canavan’s books (the first were ok, the later are a downfall without brakes). She also has great difficulties at pulling out action scenes, and they end up being boring, repetitive and unoriginal (actually, they are sort of like a snowball fight).
    Magic, by its very own surreal quality, has endless oportunities. it is sad to see most authors lack the imagination to use its full potential and limit themselves to fireballs and shields.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      “It sort of reminded me to Trudi Canavan’s books”

      That’s a good comparison, actually. I remember in The Magician’s Guild thinking that the chase scenes where the mages came after whats-her-name weren’t terribly exciting or intense.

      It’s particularly odd in this book because given Cilla’s curse any physical confrontation should be extremely tense, but of course we know full well she isn’t going to die this early so the effect is mitigated by that.

  3. Johns

    I love reading your articles, but I have to say it seems as if you’ve already made up your mind that this is a Good Book, and may start to be shaping your thoughts accordingly. Consistency a la Cialdini…. I know you may not necessarily mean for your blog to give a completely unbiased perspective, but I’ve always enjoyed reading people’s opinions if I knew they were open to being changed.

  4. Pingback: Let’s Read Otherbound ch. 3-4 | Doing In The Wizard

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