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The Otherlife

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  188 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Three years ago, Ben's beloved friend and tutor Jason died in mysterious circumstances. And he begins to wonder if his old friend Hobie had something to do with it...

I always get away with it when I try stuff like this. Partly it comes down to sort of assuming that I'm going to. I've got loads of confidence. And Loki got away with everything. Well, almost everything.

When t
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 7th 2016 by Andersen
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  188 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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C.G. Drews
I think my mind BROKE with the bizarreness of this novel, but yet I absolutely loved it. It's also so underrated??? I've never heard anyone talk about it until one of my friends recommended it because I loved Bone Gap. BLESS THIS RECOMMENDATION. This book is amazing. It's good but not in a nice way. It features a lot of horrible events from horrible characters and it shows a really dark side to parents who drive their kids towards ambition so so hard that they destroy them. It's also very much a ...more
Laura P.
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, netgalley
*I received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I started reading The Otherlife expecting the usual fantasy/paranormal young adult. What I actually found myself reading was a queer mix of a contemporary and fantasy that pleasantly surprised and intrigued me.

I was seriously awed by how the books is both very current and easily relatable to most people. The writing style was pleasant, witty and thoroughly enjoyable. I was very surprised by how the autho
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I went in thinking this was going to be Percy Jackson-esque, but found instead a story about friendship and struggling with school/exam pressure! I loved the mystery, and how everything slowly came into view. A complete surprise!
Ally Harris
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads, netgalley
I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

The Otherlife by Julia Gray.

I wont lie I was mainly attracted to this book because I kinda thought it would be a bit like the Percy Jackson series.. it had the whole 'fans of Rick Riordan will love this' vibe. I hadn't heard of the author, Julia Gray before but the cover is stunning and the description was more than enough to have me interested.

The format of the book was something that I both loved and hated. I
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had very conflicted feelings about this book. I was really into the premise that took Norse mythology and put it into our world. Ben, one of the main characters, can see the Otherlife, he has visions of Odin and Thor and that is why our other main character Hobie, a bully, is drawn to him. Hobie wants to be a part of it. Then Ben finds out that his beloved tutor Jason is dead, and starts wondering whet
Rachel A.
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
I am so disappointed in this book and I am going to be completely honest about that.

It wasn't poorly written and it had some amazing ideas but they really weren't represented well at all in this novel whatsoever.

I hated Hobie and his family and Ben's parents and the majority of the other characters.

The setup of the book was strange and reading the different perspectives was kind of hard.

Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This thought-provoking story is much more than Norse Gods and an otherworldly dimension.

I half expected, from the blurb, of this to be a tale of jumping between worlds and being chased by an individual uncannily like Loki. But it's not and I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the Norse Gods didn't appear as often as I expected nor did Ben, one of the main characters, flit between worlds.

The tale is told between two perspective: the diary entries of Hobie in 2008, and present time from
Līga Sproģe
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Shame on me for misinterpretating that this was going to be fantasy ( a la Raven Boys) not contemporary. And I loathe Hobie, I hope he's in Hell scrubbing toilets :)

Otherwise, heavy metal and Northen Europe gods were perfect combination.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The cover is what made me buy this book but it has a gorgeous story and relateable characters. It's easy to see what's happening in their lives. It's incredible, beautiful, how the real world melds with stories and Gods become humans. Even when you predict who did something and what happened, there are so many other points where there are holes that call out to you, holes that you HAVE to dig into to find out what happened. I love this book.
Nick Weston
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Where do i start? So I wont.

I just cant decide if i enjoyed this or not.

The whole Otherlife thing could have been so much better, the Gods and other world stuff could have been great but just ended up seeming pointless, but had no real reason to be in the story.
Good story of friendship and was written well.
The mystery made me finish, o i knew how it ended, but really had to force myself to finish.
Just made me shrug and go "meh"
Femke (booksfemme)
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Stumbled upon this book in Foyles last week and after reading the blurb I immediately knew I wanted to read it, so I did.

I've always loved Norse Mythology and especially when it's woven into a modern story. Julia Gray's writing style is very enjoyable and I loved recognizing bits of London in the book. If you like Norse Mythology I'd definitely say give this a go!
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think not enough people are aware of this book and that should change.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for proper Norse God fantasy then stop right now. If you want a cast of lovably kind teenage characters whose flaws are easy to brush aside, take a step back. This is not the book you were looking for. If however you want something that's both a nail-biting mystery and an acidly accurate satirical skewering of the British upper/middle classes and their educational, privileged neuroses, stick around. It's quite a ride.

We see a story in two time periods from two perspectives. In
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I don't know what I expected going into The Otherlife, but it certainly wasn't what I got. The story is wonderfully steeped in mystery and the unexplained, and parts of the narrative were delightfully funny.

The MC, Ben, sees glimpses of the world of Norse Gods that he dubs ‘The Otherlife’. Shimmers of colour that materialise into the Gods of myth and come to give warnings or seek help.
He struggles with the divorce of his parents, his mother’s overbearing nature and the stress of upcoming exams a
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Me and this book went on a weird journey, which kind of mirrors its contents: I meandered through it for almost two years, slowly putting the pieces together. Basically, I read almost half of it back in 2018, then put it down, even though it was fairly weird and interesting, then picked it up again in 2019, then put it down, and finally finished it this morning. I can't explain why I read it in separate chunks, because it's not a boring book. Yet it's not exactly immersive, either. The Otherlife ...more
Georgiana Derwent
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
I had seriously high hopes for this book. I love Julia Gray's music and suspected her lyricism and her clever use of history, folklore and culture would translate well to storytelling. And as I love mythology, like metal, and have worked as a tutor and always enjoy class-based satire, so based on the description, there seemed to be lots for me to enjoy.

The book delivered on most of these points, and I broadly enjoyed it. It was well-written and kept me turning the pages. The norse mythology angl
Tim Schmidt
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked up a copy of this at my local 'everything is dirt cheap' bookstore. I understand when I buy a book there it is very likely to be hit or miss. I think this story is mostly miss, there were times I wondered wy I was continuing to read. But as I cannot give up on something I have started I pushed through the pain and got to the end.

I think overall I liked it, there wasn't a lot of mythology which was a shame. what there was were a lot of characters with psychological issues, touching on an
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You can find my full review of The Otherlife on my speculative fiction book blog, Bastian's Book Reviews.

In summary: The Otherlife isn't the escapist romp I expected. It's slower, more complex, and unflinchingly true to life (even if that includes an intrusion of Viking mythology into our reality). It's an intelligent, well-written novel, but not a fun one.
Annie White
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall I really enjoyed this book, however it took a while to get interesting and the other life was not as prominent in the book as I hoed it would be.
I really enjoyed this book as it talks about many issues such as exam stress, addiction and eating disorders while keeping it relevant to the storyline and I loved most the content in this book, especially the ending.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book surprised me and I really enjoyed it. The story is really all about the progress of an unlikely friendship between 2 teenage boys but the inclusion of the Norse mythology ( and heavy metal references!) is an interesting slant.
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It took me a while to get into the story after all the easy reads. It was a story full of Norse fairytales and intriguing words. A heavy story but totally gripping with its referring to Lord of the Flies and The Bells are Tolling. I have to let it sink in for a bit, but definitely worth reading!
Tashy Jones
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book started off pretty slowly but got really intriguing as it went on.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such an incredible read! This book was really something else. Normally I detest contemporary stories but I found this one — with it’s undercurrent of norse mythology and otherworldly undertones — to be absolutely fantastic!

The author, Julia Gray, packs so much into this story. So much so, that I’m claiming this as my favourite book of 2016 so far.… Although it wasn't until I finished the book that I realised the picture on the front cover is actually a wolf. I thought it was just a pretty decora
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, this was a head-melter. Julia Gray brings in imagery from Norse mythology to weigh heavily on the main characters and reflect the main narrative of this twisty, yet engaging story.

The story is told from two perspectives and from two timelines. Ben, a quiet boy obsessed with Norse mythology, death and Metallica; his peer, Hobie, a brash have-everything, want-everything brat. We hear one side of the story from Ben in the present day, and the other from Hobie, set a few years ago.

The whole na
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I am a bit conflicted about this book. There were good things and bad things about it. Starting with the good: it was difficult to figure out whether it was fantasy or psychological, though I lean more towards the latter. The mind has ways of explaining away things that seem real, and Ben has been hallucinating the existence of an 'Otherlife' layered onto reality. He has been a bit obsessed with Norse mythology from childhood, and thinks he can see the Gods around him, speak to him. Now, it has ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Otherlife is a really interesting book offering something a little bit different to the wide breadth of YA fiction

The Otherlife is told through the viewpoints of Ben and Hobie. Ben is a scholarship boy who is plagued by visions of Odin, Thor and Loki, whilst Hobie is his former friend, a wealthy bully, whose undiscovered diary reveals a tragedy that seems to be playing out like the ancient myths.

The book switches between the two aforementioned viewpoints and the success of the first person n
Louise / Daisy May Johnson
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Otherlife, the debut novel from Julia Gray, skates on the edge of worlds; it is a story about darkness and the thin space between ourselves and something other. For Ben, this is The Otherlife - a world populated by magic, Norse mythology and spoken, storied danger. With his feet in both worlds, Ben begins to escape the pressures of competitive school life and parents and his privileged, rich, friend Hobie, wants in on it. He wants in on it bad.

I don't think I've ever read anything quite lik
Aug 01, 2016 marked it as dnf
DNF AT 17%- Yes I know it's early on, but why should I read a 400 page book that i neither enjoy or like when I have many other books I wish to read,
*DISCLAIMER* You probably shouldn't take this 'review' into account, I just found myself getting bored, but it seems from other reviews nobody else has, please don't let me put you off reading this is if it really appeals to you.

I can't anymore, I physically can't. When i found this I was ecstatic, i adore mythology, especially Norse and was lookin
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Julia Gray is a writer and singer-songwriter. She studied Classics at UCL and has a diploma in Children's Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, for which she received the Sophie Warne Fellowship. She has released three albums with the trip-hop/jazz collective Second Person, and more recently two solo albums, I Am Not The Night and Robber Bride.

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