Stray (Touchstone, #1)

Stray (Touchstone, #1) - Andrea K. Höst Stray is unlike anything I’ve read before, which is both good and bad. On the side of good is Cass, our AMAZING STUPENDOUS INCREDIBLE SUPER DUPER YA heroine. Excuse my capslock excitement, but Cass is self-sufficient and has a brain! Instead of swooning over the sight of preternaturally beautiful bad boys like a Victorian woman and throwing a tantrum full of perniciousness and selfishness, Cass accepts her unfortunate circumstances, asks intelligent questions, and decides to make the best of her situation. Despite stepping through a wormhole to another planet, Cass doesn’t whine; she’s capable and optimistic, though she probably has the most right to complain out any YA narrator I’ve read in a while. I also like that she’s not this overly special girl who appears like an average teenager on the outside, but is actually the Chosen One. I prefer relatable protagonists who are simply dealt into a situation and must deal with it, and Cass fits perfectly.On the side of bad are some plotting aspects. I don’t think I’ve read a book with such a languid pace and so crammed full of confusing names since Anna Karenina. The set-up is this: after walking through a wormhole and being rescued by a spaceship, Cass meets the Setari, a league of psychic space ninjas who are trying to repair the “spaces,” tears between parts of the universe and fighting the grotesque monsters that live in them. It’s an interesting idea, non? But while I was totally down with this world, I felt like Höst didn’t quite play around in it as much as I would’ve wished, leading to the aforementioned sloooooow pace. Much of the latter half of the book features journeys into the spaces where not much happens, punctuated by rare mini-climaxes. The book itself lacks a legitimate major climax because the ending is incomplete—the diary format segues evenly into the subsequent volume Lab Rat One. (a nice trick to get me to use my one-click purchase Kindle powers!) In addition to the pacing problems, I had trouble recalling the countless Setari names (there are 12 squads of 6 members each, and they use both first and last names interchangeably) and visualizing the spaces where the Setari would go to fight, which meant it was difficult to set myself in the scene.Aside from these minor issues, though, I recommend this series to people looking for a more internal story lacking in overt romance and endless action scenes. I’m particularly excited for Höst to explore the background mythology of these planets, the spaces, the Setari, and Cass herself in the sequels. Many fun reveals await!Readalikes: -M.T. Anderson’s [b:Feed|169756|Feed|M.T. Anderson||163928]: though the tone of these books is different, they share themes of world destruction and improper resource management by the ruling classes. Also the feed in Feed reminded me of the interface, a computer implanted in your brain, in Stray-not a readalike, but Stray seems heavily inspired by video games. Certain aspects, especially the spaces, were straight out of video games