Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman

Stray-Elissa Sussman

Title: Stray
Author: Elissa Sussman
Release Date/Publisher: October 7th 2014 by Greenwillow Books
Finished: June 16th 2014
Pages: 432-ARC eBook-got from Edelweiss
1. Stray
2. Unknown

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Epic, rewarding, and provocative, this original fairy tale tells the story of Aislynn, a princess who misbehaves and must give up her royal trappings and enter a life of service as a fairy godmother. Stray will appeal to readers of Entwined, by Heather Dixon; to those who grew up watching the Disney princess movies; and to fans of the acclaimed musicals Into the Woods and Wicked.

Princess Aislynn’s magical ability is powerful and uncontrollable, and at her academy’s Introduction Ball—where she hopes to be introduced to her beloved and begin a life of happily ever after—Aislynn makes a horrible mistake instead. According to The Path, the strict patriarchal doctrine of the land, Aislynn must now be redirected—her loving heart is removed and put in a cabinet, her royal ball gown is replaced with a simple purple robe, and she is assigned to a Princess Linnea as her fairy godmother. A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in, this original fairy tale is part coming-of-age story, part fairy tale, part adventure, part sweet romance. Will Aislynn remain true to her vows and her royal family and turn away from everything she longs for? Or will she stray from The Path and discover her own way? Includes a recipe for Fairy Godmother Bookbinder Bread.

What I Thought:

I was accepted to review an advanced copy of this from Edelweiss.

If you like fairy tale retellings, or stories that create their own twist from a bunch of those ideas, then you should read this. It has fairy godmothers, an evil queen, magic and of course love.

The whole idea that magic is bad and the maidens have to restrain themselves seemed like such a hard thing to do, and of course Aislynn had trouble with it. I know I probably would, the idea of using magic is too awesome! It gets to the point that she gets redirected as a fairy godmother, and has to serve another princess (it’s in the description above, so not a spoiler), who I also really liked. Aislynn tried so hard to conform but just couldn’t keep it in, her magic is so strong and uncontrollable. Eventually she learns that she might have to use some of it after all to stay alive and help others.

We don’t get to see the evil queen Johanna (hope I spelled it right, forgot to write it down in my notes) but her presence is wholly felt throughout the book. This will be a series, and any information I’m lacking above will be added when it’s released. I’m so excited for us to finally meet her, hopefully in the next book. There’s enough evil-seeming characters in this one though to keep you satisfied for now. The romance that starts is also sweet but not overbearing to the story, and no insta-love either, although with fairy tale stories it’s usually accepted more.

I really liked this and I think anyone that loves the whole fairy tale genre will too!

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