Callie is shocked when she is ripped from her home in the middle of the night. She is taken to a city that she never knew existed only to find that she has a strange connection to her sexy captor. To top it all off, he tries to convince her that she is not even human. She learns that she is actually a fairy. Not just any fairy, but a fairy who has been destined to become queen of the fairies. The only problem is that the current queen is a cruel tyrant and Callie will have to fight for the title that she was meant for. She is not completely convinced that this is a life that she wants to live. She would love nothing more than to go back to being the normal human girl that she always thought that she was. When tragedy strikes, Callie finds that she no longer knows who she can trust. She must learn to survive on her own in a harsh underground world. She finds herself dealing with the struggles of life and love for the first time. Two gorgeous guys, a bunch of new friends, and a whole new world. Will it be more than she can bear?
In a word, I would describe Stay as cute. How do I feel about it overall? Ambivalent. I finished this book about a month ago and it has taken me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to say, because I kept changing my mind.
Let’s start with The Love Interest. When reading a book there is a tipping point from when you are sitting on a fence, considering backing a love interest, to when you’ve fallen flat on your face. Hard. I backed Team Brokk from the beginning, because of the way he treated Callie in the caves. But then I was made to feel guilty for doing so because Kailen seemed like an angel after Brokk started to act like a jackass. Arrogance was not in Brokk’s described characteristics therefore his mean behaviour was jackass-ism rather than his normal arrogance. So I adjusted and backed team Kailen only for it to flip again and for Kailen to be the bad guy and for Brokk to be the one who we should really like. I did not like the bounce of this emotional yo-yo. There is a difference between making a lead character’s intentions mysterious and making them bi-polar. There were no clues to me to warn me not to get a vested interest in Kailen.
Callie is ... undecided, about her place in society until things go wrong for her. Which I didn’t like. I actually empathise a lot with the selfish heroine because I feel it’s real and honest, but Callie just didn’t seem to care at all until her apple cart was upset by everything. There was not one person she seemed to care for more than herself. There is selfish then there is egotistical, and Callie crossed over to the latter too often for my personal liking. There was no acknowledgment from her of her families involvement in hardships of the fairy people until the end, when her life was on the line. It was kind of like, “I’m going to die unless I sort this out. Better sort it out then.”
At one point Callie flips out and beats the tar out of Brokk ... fine ... but it was completely out of line with her character. I was brought to accept Callie was docile, strong willed but gentle in her delivery of this will. Then all of a sudden she’s throwing punches and witty quips like she’s Ali. Throughout the book there is a very adult tone to her actions, but delivered through (in my opinion) a child’s eyes and with a child’s intentions.
When Callie’s parents die (a King and Queen), they get taken out so easily. It’s not explained why they supported the usurper Queen by leaving the kingdom, especially when it’s made clear they had loyal supporters. Also, the reason why Callie was worth abandoning a whole city of people for was not impressed upon me. Royalty are supposed to put the people first, but they simply tottered off with their super-special-powerful-baby-Callie into a new life and don’t look back. To me, that does not seem like a worthy royal bloodline to make a fuss over, better off without you quite frankly.
All descriptions of the fairy wings were beautiful, and the concept of living in underground caves was a nice touch, but ... the fairies fly. These are not small beings either, but full grown people who are connected to the elements. Why would they go underground? Why not up, into the sky? Again, this point was raised briefly, but not impressed on me, nor did it make sense enough for me to make my own conclusions.
I loved the physical manifestations of the elements. Those were superbly done, and I felt they had such character for such small parts.
It’s always difficult to give a negative opinion on a book story line, because things are read and interpreted differently by everybody, but for me, Stay had too many aspects that didn’t gel well enough. No doubt readers with a more customary view on fairies will enjoy it much more, and I would encourage you to try it.
Wait, wait wait, before I wrap up I need to address the crying. I have a hard time reading about boys or men who cry. There needs to be a damn good reason, like ... the love of his life was tortured and murdered before his eyes even begin to get wet. It seemed like guys in this book needed to toughen up.
It’s a god book, possibly Children’s rather than Young Adult, but my view on that readership may be skewed by my own preferences. I will buy and read the sequel, because I’m curious as to where this will lead, and I really did love the elementals.
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