Stray

Stray (Four Sisters, #1)

Rating: 1 Star

Synopsis via Goodreads:

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?

DNF around 60%. This was beyond insulting to read.

This was me reading this book:

I don’t typically consider myself a feminist, just because the use of that word can take on a different meaning, one that coordinates with more than just equality of women and men, and can be somewhat negative. Lately, I’ve heard being a feminist can sometimes mean going against dressing modestly and instead dressing in a revealing manner, a way to go against how society used to think women should be dressed and not showing any skin. Or being a feminist could mean not only wanted equality, but down-right hating men, and taking any compliment as an insult. It could mean not wanting a man to open a car door for you, because somehow this makes you seem weak. Chivalry has become an insult because it somehow means a man doesn’t think a woman can do things for herself, when really it’s just him being polite and a gentleman. I’ve heard it mentioned before that for a woman to be a feminist, she has to sleep around, or even that she has to be lesbian (that makes no bloody sense). I’ve also heard it said that no Christian woman (or religious in general) can be feminist, because religion undermines them.

Obviously, none of this is true. To me, being a feminist means simply believing in the equality in men and women. It means neither is better or greater than the other. We are different (obviously), but that doesn’t really mean anything. Differences don’t make one gender better than the other.

I hate that I’ve read recent articles about men not feeling like they can be chivalrous to women because then women sometimes get mad at them, telling them they can open their own damn doors or that they don’t need or want to be treated differently than a man, even if that just means helping a woman up if she trips or falls. Because men have an instinct to be more protective of women, and I see nothing wrong with this so long as he understands that I’ve perfectly capable to take care of myself, but it’s sometimes nice to be taken care of. It’s the same vice-versa.

I like it when a man opens a door for me, or even just holds it open a smidge longer because he sees me walking towards it. So what? I do the same thing even if it’s a man. Or when you’re on a date, and a man wants you to wait in the car for a smidge longer so he can come around and open your door for you. What the heck is wrong with that? Obviously you can open it yourself, but he’s being polite. I love that. A guy would get so many brownie points for doing something like for me. (My dad used to open the car door for me when I was growing up. Every. Time. I loved it.)

So, no, I don’t like to call myself a feminist, because the criteria I’ve heard to be a feminist doesn’t make sense to me. Not everyone’s definition of a feminist adds up to this, obviously, but it’s mostly what I hear now-in-days. So I stray from that word, if you will (I’m sorry . . . I had to).

But this book basically had my inner feminist screaming her head off. While I don’t think this was what the author intended, and while I hope later in the book Aislynn has some character development and grows a backbone, for the sake of my mental stability, I cannot go on reading this.

I wanted to downright murder every man in this book. In this world, women are treated as cursed beings, born with magic they cannot fully control and are therefore to be punished when they have a “spell” and some of their magic leaks out because no one is training them on how to control it. Instead, every time they have spree of magic leak out from them, such as turning the color of their bed sheets when they have a nightmare, it is recorded in a book, and once they are “claimed” by their husbands, it is given to them, and after they are married, the husband at any time could claim that their wife is using magic or that she can’t have children for whatever reason and leave her, abandon her. They are treated as nothing more than little pets the husbands can dispose of, and they are even forced to dress in a specific color to show their station in life.

Now, there are a lot of books out there that show women in lower stations, such as a historical book back when women were not treated equally, and while I usually have to grit my teeth to get through some parts, I don’t usually react this way. It’s history, and so we remember things like that, as we should. I have no problem with that.

But this is not a historical related book. And that’s fine. There are other books I’ve never had a problem with that undermine women that aren’t historical related for the purpose of the storyline. Other fantasy books. But with those books, I’ve never read a character that so fully believes what she is told my society, by men. I have never read about such a stupid, naïve woman who believes everything she is told so simply. I hate it, I hate it so much.

To an extent, I understand this and would deal with this. When you’ve grown up being lectured and told that you are not equal in life, it’s a difficult thing to believe anything different. But there should still be a nagging little voice in your head that says this is wrong, that things should be better.

Aislynn does not have that. She accepts everything because she fully believes she deserves to be hurt and that she is less because of her gender and because she was born with magic. She is a royal, and believes that the commoners should be treated like livestock, and they are too dim-witted to not be led astray.

It made my blood boil. I got to 60% and had to put the book down, because combined with this and her utter lack of motivation to do anything to stop this, I just couldn’t deal anymore. I felt insulted.

And then there was the insta-love. Aislynn had her “loving heart” removed early on in the book, which is basically her desires to want a man and to feel attraction and lust. But there’s still insta-love. How, you ask?

Da hell if I know.

“While all women are wicked, not all are weak.”  

(*angry noises from Hannah*)

Do I seriously need to explain what’s wrong with that sentence? I hope the answer is a big, fat “NO,” but I’m gonna do it anyways.

Firstly, da hell are you calling wicked? Would you like for me to give you a list of all the “wicked” things men can do? Because I can. I can get real nasty, too. Firstly, who defines what “wickedness” even is? Also, both women and men can be wicked, and it has nothing to do with gender, and in this book’s case, nothing to do with being born with magic either. This royally pissed me off.

While we’re on this subject, let me also say I’m Christian. I was born into a Christian family, I grew up in so many different kinds of “Christian” churches I could rant for days (due to my military upbringing I moved around states a lot, therefore I was a member of more churches than I care to speak about),  and I will still bite the head off of anyone who would try to tell me I’m not equal to a man. My religion doesn’t make a bloody difference in this.

Just don’t read this. Honestly, I would recommend you read The Selection before I would recommend reading this, and that’s really, really saying something.

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