Stray by Elissa Sussman
The Skinny: Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.
When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.
But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.
After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it? – From Goodreads
You’ll have to forgive me for this review. I’d forgotten I’d read this book and so my review may be a little sparse!
BFF?: Aislynn was hard to like at times because it’s almost as if she has these two warring personalities. On the one hand, I loved that she was a little feisty and toed the line quite a lot. But on the other, she sort of fell into this demure, defeated, victim-mentality personality that was very hard to be okay with. I get that it was hard for girls in her world so I understood how she felt, but that didn’t change the fact that this part of her personality bothered me.
Readability: I actually enjoyed reading this and found this take on fairy tales a little different. It was easy to read, but one thing I found a little daunting was all the different settings. They were great, just a little daunting.
Crush Level: Maybe?
I’ll be honest: I don’t remember much about Thackery. He was a gardener. But he had a secret past. And I.. oh wait! No, he kinda got on my nerves with his flippity-floppity ways. One day he was nice, the next he was mean, then he was stand offish, then he was polite… make up your mind Thackery! I think he ended up being pretty solid, but the first bit with him was quite annoying.
You know how on Once Upon a Time they rip glowing hearts from people’s chests and then Regina has that wall of locked boxes that all contain hearts? Yeah, they do that here and I nerded out for a moment!
Even though she’s not supposed to, Aislynn’s fairy godmother, Tahlia, teaches her how to make bread and it sounds delicious! There’s even a recipe in the back so you can make your very own loaf. Hey-o!
Color Class System
There’s different classes of royalty/nobility and they are required to wear certain colors. I know it’s weird to really get excited about this, but I love the idea of color coding! I don’t think this should be implemented in real life, obviously, but in books it’s just a fun detail.
Commencement Speech: I really, really hate that I forgot to write this review when I first read this. I hate it even more that I forgot it so easily ! I really do think it was a good book and remember enjoying it quite a lot, but it’s been a while and the details are a little fuzzy. I’m gonna try my darndest to talk about it though!
One thing I really enjoyed was this weird spin on fairy tales. Stray isn’t a retelling by any means, but we see so many elements of fairy tales woven in and out – fairy godmothers, wolves, magic mirrors – that it’s easy to try to consider what story they’re from and find similarities. And even though all the different settings made my head spin sometimes, it was a really good journey book. Today we’re here and this happens. Tomorrow we’re there and that happens. Next week, we travel here. It was a very exciting journey filled with interesting characters and situations.
The biggest complaint I have about this book is the way women are perceived in this world. Now, this is not one of my feminist rants about gender equality and girl power, I promise, because I think when you really look at this world you’ll see that women actually are super powerful and the men who oppress them are terrified of what these women are actually capable of. I think what bothered me most was just the attitude Aislynn had about herself because she was a woman. She was so concerned with straying from her path and being outcast that it was almost angering at sometimes. Like no… this guy attacked you and you were justified in hitting him! Don’t blame yourself! Yes, she overcomes this attitude but not until quite a ways in.
Anyway, that aside, I enjoyed Stray. This is supposed to be the first part of an intertwined series? I would read the next one!
Yearbook Quote: None! ARC!
Superlatives – Most likely be on one of those “I don’t need feminism because…” memes
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