Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman

Monday, September 22, 2014
Why I chose this book: I hadn’t heard much about this book, but when I stumbled on it on Edelweiss I decided to give it a go. I’m all about stories where girls break out of their sheltered lived and embrace a life of rebellion. Somedays when adulthood gets to me, I long for a bit of magic and rebellion in my own life. Unfortunately, flipping tables and running off to live in the woods doesn’t work as well in real life as it does in books. Le sigh. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Stray by Elissa Sussman
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publish Date: October 7, 2014
Format: eARC
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult 

B&N || Amazon || Indiebound

I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.

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. (Goodreads)

What I liked: This story sucked me in at the first chapter. While fairy tale-esque stories have been done before, Stray stands in a league of its own. Princess Aislynn begins the story as a normal girl that is looking forward to her Introduction Ball which will allow her to finally meet handsome potential suitors and dance the night away. What I found extremely interesting was the amount of patriarchy that surrounds Aislynn in her everyday life. Women are constantly controlled by the men in their lives and are expected to live chastely as The Path commands. With any good female empowerment story, there are those that rebel, and this rebellion is fantastic. 

What I loved: Throughout the story there are many allusions to purity as Aislynn tries to contain her magic and “wicked thoughts”. Author Elissa Sussman takes no prisoners when she slowly demolishes the idea that a girl’s value is connected to her purity, or in this case, her ability to control her magic. Aislynn slowly learns that the elders in her life are often times contradictory and the ideas she was raised with may not necessarily ring true. Don’t worry, for those seeking a love story, there is still a bit of sweet romance woven throughout. 

What I disliked: While the build up of the plot is fantastic, I wanted to see a bit more action at the end of the novel. I also wanted to see a little more butt kicking from Aislynn. Her growth as a character felt rushed at the end, but I have a feeling she will be far more fantastic in the sequel. 

Final Thoughts: This book was a wonderful read. I loved the uniqueness of the story and the female empowerment message it delivered. Even after it ended I was still thinking about some of the themes I picked up on while reading. To me, that is a sign of a good book. 

I gave Stray five stars on Goodreads. 

1 comment:

  1. You got me even more excited for this book! Although, I am a little sad about the lack of action, I like a big ending.


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