Friday, 13 January 2012

Review: Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey

Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: January 5th 2012
My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.

The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric—who may or may not betray them.
(from Goodreads)

After Alyxandra Harvey’s excellent Victorian ghost story, Haunting Violet, I was really excited for Stolen Away – especially since it was about faeries (I’ve really gotten into faeries recently, probably because of The Iron Fey series). However, Stolen Away unfortunately didn’t live up to my expectations. To me, it felt like it was almost written by a different person. The style was different and the book was short and felt completely rushed – there was little background information, and all the plot developments were too quick and felt jumbled and random. I couldn’t connect to the characters at all because we barely knew anything about them, and they were just hastily thrown into a completely different world, which we also never found out much about. I just felt like everything needed to be fleshed out a little more; the characters’ personalities, the Fae world, the problems going on. Things went too fast for me and I found the whole book hard to follow.

The characters were likeable enough; there was dual narration between best friends Eloise and Jo, who were both nice and funny (with a few witty lines), but nothing particularly stood out about them. I preferred Eloise to Jo and identified with her character slightly more, but to be honest, the narration was very similar and I sometimes forgot whose chapter I was reading. One thing I enjoyed more about Eloise’s chapters, however, was when she was first brought to the faery world and was interacting with all the faeries she met there. I liked the way she found out about her heritage and the way the other faeries treated her. It was definitely interesting to find out more about the faeries and how Eloise was connected to them.

As I’ve already said, I found this book to be very rushed and therefore the love interests and romance in general failed for me. Total insta-love. Lucas and Eldric were the two main focuses of romance in Stolen Away; Lucas for Eloise and Eldric for Jo. Personally, I wasn’t too fond of Lucas and he was a bit of a cookie-cutter knight-in-shining-armour type. We didn’t get to find out much about him, or his personality, and I don’t understand when he and Eloise supposedly got so close to each other. However, Jo and Eldric’s relationship was much worse. While I sort of liked Eldric’s character (I say sort of because I liked what we saw of him, which wasn’t much, and think he had potential to be so much more), the insta-love was almost painful. Jo was internally confessing her love after, what, about three days? I don’t think she even knew his name at this point, but apparently she loved him! And I have no idea why Eldric even liked Jo in the first place. Their first meeting was completely random and didn’t have anything special to suggest something might happen between the two. I don’t understand why he kept pursuing her at all, how he “fell in love” with her, or why he would risk so much for at the end when they barely knew each other. The relationships seemed like they were there just for the sake of it, so there could be a bit of romance in the story. They were hardly developed at all.

My favourite character was probably Isadora, because she was the only one who actually had a bit of backstory, and a strong personality. She was a feisty little faerie with a bit of bad attitude, due to past experiences, but a good heart deep down. She was a great minor character and I liked how excited she got when she was presented with a sword again – I felt sorry for her, because she missed her old life so much and was stuck in a form she hated. I’m glad she got to experience a bit of the fighting she missed so much.

Overall, Stolen Away was just not the book for me. I felt like things happened too quickly and that a slower-paced, lengthier novel would have been much more enjoyable. However, this was still quite a fun read and I did enjoy aspects, so I wouldn’t say it’s totally not worth reading – but perhaps read an extract first. I think anyone who really loves faerie stories might enjoy this, or if you’re looking for a quick read just to past the time, then maybe give this one a go.

10 comments:

  1. Oh man, sorry to hear this was such a disappointment for you! I had high expectations for this because... well, faeries! And I've heard great things about the author. The rushed plot and especially the insta-love is kind of off-putting =| I will definitely check out an extract first, as you suggested, to see if I can get a feel for it. Fantastic review, Liz!

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  2. oh no sorry to hear that this book wasnt for you. Good thing I didnt request this book at all I was gonna,coz of the interesting synop and cover, but Imight read it one day, for now, I think im gonna pass. :))
    great review!

    ✿FICBOOKREVIEWS✿

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  3. Sorry to hear this was disappointing to you. I love the other author's work . . . but hopefully I'll like this one too. While I'm not exactly into the whole 'insta-love' thing or a rushed plot, but guess we'll have to see. Thanks for your honest review.

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  4. Thanks for the review! I was sort of curious about Stolen Away but I hadn't really checked out any reviews for it. The North American cover isn't really appealing but the UK one looks nice. It's too bad the novel didn't appeal to you... from what you've said, I'm sure I would feel the same way if I read it.

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  5. Aww..thanks for the review! And I'm sorry to hear that you didn't like it. Frankly, I haven't read any of the author's books. But out of all of them, I really wanted to read Haunting Violet. Sad that it didn't turn out to be detailed - which really helps when it comes to 'connecting with the characters' and getting into the story!

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  6. Oh such a shame. I loved this book. But then Alyxandra Harvey can do no wrong in my eyes.

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  7. I'm sad you didn't like this more, but I totally get where you're coming from. I think maybe it had an over-zealous editor who cut half the story out?

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  8. I've never heard of this book, and it doesn't look like I'll be picking it up anytime soon. Fairy books are always huge hits or misses with me.

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  9. Oh sad that you didn't enjoy this book! I am very intrigued with the summary. It sounds really great. I'll try and read it so I can see for myself what this book is like! Awesome review, Liz!!! I'm also a new follower! I love your blog :)

    Celine @ Forget-me-not

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