Stray – Rachael Craw

Stray – Rachael Craw

Title: Stray
Author: Rachael Craw
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: 1st September 2015
Pages: 425
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

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It’s hard to remember hating anything as much as I hate Affinity: a bone-deep loathing for the faceless unknown and the concrete walls of my own DNA.

Evie is a SHIELD: designed to kill in order to protect, and the Affinity Project have finally come for her. But Evie isn’t ready for the sinister organisation to take control of her life, her body, her mind. She isn’t ready to follow their rules about who can live and who must die – not when it condemns the innocent. She has one option: risk losing everything and everyone – including Jamie – and run.

This book was like a drug – I knew it was bad for me, but I just couldn’t stop. Overall, I enjoyed it much less than Spark (this explains the 2.5; it had to be a comparative rating; normally it would have been a 3). The characters annoyed me more in this book than in the last one. Evie – just LISTEN to the people around you for once!!!! And Jamie has turned into a completely domineering, Christian Grey type (though without the kinky sex scenes). None of them talk to each other and it just turns EVERYTHING into a BIG SLIMY MESS – TALK TO EACH OTHER PEOPLE!

We did learn a little bit more about the science behind Affinity which was cool, but then the whole institution was vilified and we didn’t learn much else….. Not everyone who works for Affinity is bad, but Evie had massive prejudices and thus the reader had to go along with that….. Plus we meet the creepiest character EVER – the Proxy. Like one of those scary children from horror movies, she can get inside people’s minds and is used by Affinity as a torturer (OK, so Affinity is pretty bad – but I’m a bit sick of the evil scientist schtick; it happened in Because You’ll Never Meet Me, which I just finished, as well…..)

What annoyed me most about the book though, was the complete lack of resolution. Evie spends the book with one singular goal in mind (I’m not going to tell you what it is, because SPOILERS!) and then TWO CHAPTERS FROM THE END, her plans are thwarted. So, that annoyed me a lot. I almost tore the book up in frustration. Also, lots and lots and lots of new characters are introduced to the extent that it was difficult to keep track, and I have NO IDEA who will be important for the next book…..

Secrets come out about Evie’s parentage (a continuation on the themes of the first book), but they tied in that little bit too neatly. I like neat endings, but a little mess is necessary to keep the reader on their toes. I also can’t decide if we like Jamie or we don’t like Jamie – personally, this book made me dislike him immensely (refer to creepy Christian Grey domineering vibe above – and this was directed towards his sister as well as his sort-of maybe girlfriend).

Again, because this is addictive, I WILL be reading the third book, even though I will probably lose all my hair when I inevitably start tearing it in frustration. It’s a bit tricky to NOT be frustrated when the main character is TOTALLY BATSHIT CRAZY! Despite all the problems I had with this book, I STILL WANT MORE! And therein is Craw’s power – her series is so ridiculously ADDICTIVE that I CANNOT STOP!!!! Despite recognising its status as average, I can’t get enough!

In addition, not only is the basis of the story really cool (even if I do get annoyed with the execution….), but the covers are BEAUTIFUL (if a little strange)! Plus, the spines will all match together to create a picture – see Rachael Craw’s Tweet below. I AM IN LOVE!

Have you ever gotten ridiculously and completely ADDICTED to a series you don’t actually like very much? (It’s happened before for me with Twilight….)

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