Review for Stray (Untitled #1) by Elissa Sussman

Stray by Elissa Sussman

TITLE: Stray
SERIES: Untitled #1
AUTHOR: Elissa Sussman
PUBLICATION DATE: October 7, 2014
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 3 bows

Princess Aislynn has spent her life trying to follow her Path. This dictates that she will refrain from using magic because only wicked girls do that and she will await her 16th birthday with grace and dignity. Upon that day, she’ll meet many suitors and must find one to marry within a year or she will be Redirected to life as a fairy god-mother. But Aislynn has a difficult time adhering to the rules because her magic is powerful and hard to keep under control. She will not deviate from her Path, no matter how her body craves the magic and all will work out well, right?

Aislynn was a character that I felt extremely bad for. She is constantly getting the short end of the stick and she doesn’t really do anything to deserve it. It’s not like she can stop the magic flowing through her veins or prevent the awful teasing that pushes her over the edge. The problem was that even though I could sympathize with her, I really didn’t care about her. I spent a good deal of the novel confused as to who the bad guy was and why was magic so bad to really spend time getting behind Aislynn’s issues. Yes, life for her sucks, but I’ve got more important things to work out here!

That was a problem for me is that I don’t understand the bad guys motives completely. Maybe I’m just dense, but I don’t get it! It felt a bit too political for my YA tastes (or for my tastes in general because I don’t care for politics). I also felt like it was very slow. The things that were occurring were of interest, but they felt like they were happening in slow-motion. I just wanted to put things in fast-forward. I had a difficult time stopping myself from skipping ahead because I just didn’t want to hear the endless amounts of stuff being said or done. I was also expecting something fairy-tale-esque and I feel like I was letdown. The story has magical and fairy godmothers, but fairy-tales are about more than that.

It gets 3 stars because the writing was good and the characters were interesting. Also because it’s not difficult to read. This was not a novel I had to force myself to continue with. I kept going because I wanted to see how it would end and I needed to know what happened next. Unfortunately, when I requested this, I didn’t realize it was the first book of a series so I was not expecting yet another cliffhanger. I was not happy about that, if you couldn’t tell. I think that was part of my problem, is I was expected a stand-alone, so I wanted everything to be laid out and explained all within this novel and we don’t get that because there has to be content for the next book and the one after that, so we can’t be giving away all the secrets up front.

All in all, this is an interesting novel with a great concept, it just wasn’t all that I was expecting it to be. It’s marketed as a new fairy tale but it doesn’t deliver on that level and the plot takes so long to get into that I wondered a time or two if I was ever going to understand what was going on. There is a bit of romance mixed in for my love story lovers, but it’s very downplayed. There is only a little humor, so don’t expect to be giggling while Aislynn makes her journey. This is a decent novel, I was just expecting so much more. Maybe you’ll disagree!

****Thank you to Greenwillow for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

3 bows
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