Friday, October 27, 2017

Book Review: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

In Other Lands
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Publication: Big Mouth House (July 17, 2017)

Description: Sometimes it’s not the kid you expect who falls through to magicland, sometimes it’s . . . Elliott. He’s grumpy, nerdy, and appalled by both the dearth of technology and the levels of fitness involved in swinging swords around. He’s a little enchanted by the elves and mermaids. Despite his aversion to war, work, and most people (human or otherwise) he finds that two unlikely ideas, friendship and world peace, may actually be possible.

My Thoughts: IN OTHER LANDS is an engaging and different sort of contemporary fantasy. Elliot is offered the opportunity to visit a magical land. But Elliot is not the hero type. He is the abrasive, sarcastic, annoying type. Socially inept and convinced that he is smarter than everyone else. Elliot finds it no easier to make friends in the Borderlands than he does on Earth. It doesn't help that he is attending a battle school and has absolutely no interest in fighting or weapons. He is on the counselor track which is fading away from lack of use.

He meets and falls immediately in love with Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle who is a elf maiden and who doesn't really understand why they are letting men - the obviously weaker sex - train to be fighters. He also meets Luke Sunborn who is the golden boy who does everything well and is the one everyone wants to be near.

The three of them form a group of their own though Elliot is quick to point out - frequently - that he and Luke are not friends.

This tells the story of four years at the battle camp where they grow into their talents and their relationships change. I loved that this story twists some of the usual fantasy tropes through Elliot's sarcastic viewpoint. I liked his fascination with the other sorts of people who live in this world - elves, dryads, harpies, trolls, and Elliot's favorite mermaids. I liked that Elliot was determined to write the treaties that would keep all these types of people at peace and workin together.

Relationships make up a huge part of this story as does sexual identity. Elliot was abandoned by his mother and ignored by his father which helps explain the reasons why he doesn't know how to relate to other people and chooses to keep them at a distance by hurting them before they can hurt him. It takes great persistence to be Elliot's friend.

I really enjoyed this story.

Favorite Quote:
Elliot especially did not like the "other kids" aspect of magic land. Elliot had "does not interact well with peers" on all his report cards.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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