On both sides of the war were strangers and weird sights, terrible until you loved them. Our lands were always otherlands, to someone else.
My synopsis: In the Borderlands, Elliot finally has a chance to belong, to be wanted, to make a difference. He meets the beautiful and fierce elf, Serene, and fell in love with her at first sight. To help Serene, he forges an unexpected and initially unwanted alliance with his rival in love and the golden boy of the Borderlands, Luke Sunborn. In the midst of war and peace treaties, Elliot is faced with the dilemma of protecting himself by putting up his defenses with his usual cruel and sharp retorts or breaking down his defenses for a shot at forming unbreakable bonds.
Published August 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Magical Realism/Urban Fantasy, YA Romance,
Themes: sexuality, romance, LGBTQIA+, mermaids, unicorns, harpies, elves, fantasy lands, love, friendship, loyalty, war, peace, violence, bullying, fairness, treaties, alliances, changing the world
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In Other Lands is a work of wonder and there are countless reasons why you should read it: unforgettable characters with amazing arcs, incredible and satisfying plot, surprising and thought-provoking nuggets of wisdom, rich fantasy world, interesting and absorbing subplots, and a totally predictable but deliciously slow-burning romance.
I finished reading it early this month just so I can take a breather and more honestly evaluate how much I liked this book. And even now, I’m not surprised to report that I’m still in love with it.
Elliot refused to accept other people’s version of reality..
It doesn’t take long for me to like Elliot – I have to say he’s probably the most sassy but yet super lovable character I’ve “met” through a book. On multiple occasions, he reminded me of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. He has the combined sass of the two! The trio of friends is also a theme shared with those two beloved series. I really think fans of both series will find In Other Lands a delightful read!
I’m terrible at feelings, it’s like they’re knives, I don’t really know what to do with them and I end up throwing them with too much force.
It was extremely interesting to read about a character like Elliot who is so vulnerable and pitiful (once you know his backstory) but yet extremely feisty and most often incredibly cruel. It is such an amazing character arc, and I think that even with just that, this book is already worth reading ten times over!
The other main characters, Luke and Serene, are just as well-developed – but I won’t rob you of the wonderful experience of getting to know them yourselves! And the friendship between these three are just #GOALS – I have so much love for Elliot, Luke, and Serene, and it makes my heart ache just thinking about them!
I am not winning any arguments because I know how to hurt someone. How does that prove that you’re right? How does being stronger or more vicious prove anything, except that all this talk about honor is stupid? Where’s the honor in being better at hurting somebody? Telling me I have to do this is insulting, as if I can’t win any other way. As if I can’t win in a better way.
War, peace, violence, and bullying are major themes in this archaic world where battles and wars are constantly fought by both male and female humans and non-humans in the name of pride and honor.
As for the fantasy world building, the Borderlands is rich with almost every creature you could ask for (no dragons, though): from bow-wielding elves and far-seeing harpies to deadly mermaids and violent unicorns.
If I haven’t convinced you yet at this point to read In Other Lands at this point, I will never convince you. But let me just try one more time, STOP READING THIS AND GO AHEAD AND READ IN OTHER LANDS – forget all your assumptions and give this one a chance. Whatever genre you’re into, this book is for you.
As always, thanks for reading! Hope you’re staying safe and warm, wherever you are!
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3 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan”
Great review! I love that quote about feelings being knives. If you haven’t read it already, Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway fits in really well with a lot of the themes of In Other Lands.
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I’ll make sure to check it out! Thank you!!
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