So, for anyone who doesn’t know me, I am an avid reader. Recently, while reading my Kindle, I was recommended a title that sounded interesting. I downloaded a sample and was immediately hooked. This book was In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan. This week on down the otaku rabbit hole, I’m going to introduce a new segment called Non-Otaku Treasures, where I will discuss something incredible that doesn’t fall into our normal otaku territory, but is way too good to overlook.
This book is truly something special and something I just had to share. From the fist page, I was hooked, to the extent that I couldn’t put it down and finished it in just day! With magical creatures and an honestly incredible look at gender, sexuality and how love (or a lack there of) can shape a person, this book is a fantastic read. It’s funny and heart-breaking with an endearing charm that just wraps itself around you. In Other Lands has already snuck its way into the ranks of my favourite books of all time, alongside Hero by Perry Moore, Gail Carriger’s Soulless and the Magical Girl Raising Project series by Asari Endou.
So, this book borrows heavily from Harry Potter and is very self-aware, often pointing fun at the regular tropes of magical boarding schools. Elliot, a boy from the everyday human world with no people skills, is one day introduced to the Other Lands/ Borderlands and begins training to become a guard of the Borderlands and aid in matters of war between the species that occupy it. On his first day, he meets two important friends, the elven beauty with no filter, Serene, who Elliot immediately falls head-over-heels in love with, and Luke, the hero character with social anxiety – and who Elliot immediately dislikes. These three characters make up the core of this tale, which follows them over the entirety of their school lives. Covering the highs and lows that come with adolescence, this book is a fantastic read. It also is an incredibly inclusive book, covering issues of race, prejudice, gender and even sexuality. None of these moments feel forced or shoehorned in, but rather just a natural part of the lives unfolding on the pages in front of you, which is a rare and precious sight.
I truly can’t recommend this book enough and, honestly, it’s a book that fans of Harry Potter will undoubtedly find a good read to fill the hole left by the series in its absence. This is also an example of representation done right in literature and for that, I’ve come to love it even more.
I know that this recommendation has been a little vague, and skirts around the events that take place. However, to give anything else away would rob you of the full experience and that is something I do not wish to do. But if what I’ve written here sounds appealing, then I would highly recommend you check out In Other Lands because it’s an absolute gem.
With that being said, we have come to the end of another trip down the otaku rabbit hole. If these non-otaku treasures are something you enjoy, then please let me know. Until next time, though, keep it weeby!