Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman

by Elissa Sussman
Series: Stray, #1
Released on: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow
Rating: 1.5 stars
Word Rating: I'm so confused I don't even care anymore
Reviewed by: Mel

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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?

STRAY is the first in a collection of intertwined stories, all set in a world where magic is a curse that only women bear and society is dictated by a strict doctrine called The Path. A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in, this original fairy tale will be released October 7th, 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.

Magic! Princesses! Fairy Godmothers! FAIRYTALES. Sounds damn promising, but execution is another story.

At the rate I’m going, I’m going to fall into a reading slump in no time at all. There are only two reasons why this book was a total bust for me, firstly, there needed to be more depth and further detail in pretty much everything, and secondly, I was bored out of my brains because nothing happened in this book until much later on.
I will accept the Path I am taking. I will not stray. I will not yearn for what I cannot have. I will heed the words of my adviser and guard my loving heart against cursed magic. Ever after.
I really liked the direction the author was taking with this story and at the beginning, I was rather convinced that I would end up loving this book very much. But as the book progressed, my interest dropped because nothing really made any sense. I was confused about the Introductions and Redirections and I didn’t quite understand how the monarch system worked in Aislynn’s world. In fact, what I just mentioned were mere examples, I honestly felt like I was living under a rock while reading this because this book seriously lacked details and exploration of ideas. World building, was a notable aspect that needed to be explained in more detail. There were quite a few loopholes as well and it ruined the little enjoyment that I had for this novel.

This was me throughout the read:
And for the rest of it, I was like:

This book bored me to no end. Nothing happened in the first 30% that was remotely interesting or earth-shattering and then when things did pick up a little bit, they went back into boredom-land. Honestly, only about a quarter of this book actually had something happening in it. As for the rest, it was filled with absolutely confusing gibberish.

This book can be safely summarised as a complete waste for me. Perhaps, some people might like this because of it’s fairytale appeal, but the missing details and lack of things actually happening just was not good enough.


  1. Yep, this one was such a disappointment! I had really high hopes but ugh. The dialog was lacking as well as the action. And yes, it was convoluted. I'm so sad it wasn't better because I wanted to love it. Hoping you read something amazing next.

  2. Yes I was bored reading this book too. I think I ended up DNF this book.

  3. I've read other reviews of this book that say much the same thing. It sounds slow... and so I probably wouldn't like it.

  4. UGH. I was looking forward to this one. I suppose I should just take it off my wishlist. That cover is so pretty.....

  5. This seems to be inline with the other reviews I've read. Which is a shame because the premises makes it look like there's some rather interesting things going on.

  6. Oh nooo!!! I'm so sad you didn't like this book! The moment I saw that cover I gasped aloud and clicked on this blog post so many times, my laptop had a bit of a heart attack and half-crashed. XD It sounds amazing!!! Where could it have gone so wrong? Nevertheless, I'm going to give it a try anyway and cross my fingers that I won't be disappointed.
    Thanks for sharing. =D


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