Tuesday, November 25, 2014

{Audiobook} Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 with 1 comment
Title: Stray
Author: Elissa Sussman
Narrator(s): Caitlin Davies
Series: Four Sisters, book #1
Length: 7 hrs 49 mins
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Source: audiobook received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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.

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?

I love revisiting old fairy tales that are given a refreshing new take. But while Stray was unique, it wasn't like any of the fairy tales I've read before. It does focus on princesses and fairy godmothers and evil queens...but in the most confusing mash-up ever.

"The Path" just seemed like a regimented way for a young princess to act and should she stray from it, via any number of allegations of gross misconduct on her part, she would become, well, a stray. Or find that her "path" no longer led her to a prince and a happily ever after but instead to a life of indentured servitude, by way of becoming a fairy godmother. That's essentially what happens to Aislynn...she can't control her magic and finds herself being whisked away to become fairy godmother to the Crown Princess at another academy.

I'm still not sure why or how girls who have magic of their own even need fairy godmothers, though. The magical system -- those who had it and how they used it -- left me frustrated, as did the lack of world-building. I was just left with soooo many questions when I finished this story. I know it's only the first book in the series, but it should have given me enough information to make me want to come back for the next book...and I'm not sure that I do.

I loved Caitlin Davies' performance of the End of Days series by Susan Ee, so I immediately thought this would be a winner, as far as the audiobook went. And it probably would have been, had I connected to this main character the way I did Penryn in Angelfall and World After. But because I found Princess Aislynn so annoying and her actions so foolish, I found it difficult to get into this audio even one iota as much as I did that other series.

This book was just entirely too slow for me, with none of the explanations I needed. There was also very little romance to be had. And when I find a protagonist as exasperating as Aislynn, there's little likelihood that I'm really going to enjoy the book in the end. I wish I'd liked the story more, but I think this is just one of those cases where I let my expectations get the better of me.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Elissa Sussman is a writer, a reader and a pumpkin pie eater.

Her debut novel, STRAY (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins), is a YA fantasy about fairy godmothers, magic and food. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks and Sony Imageworks. You can see her name in the credits of THE CROODS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue mutt, Basil.

Find Elissa:

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1 comment:

  1. I find that annoying characters become even more so when I'm listening to an audiobook...or vice versa. Does that make sense? This one definitely is a book that's not even on my radar, so I'm glad there's a valid reason.


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