I’m back to Nicola Griffith! Just about gave me whiplash to go from Sarah Prineas to Nicola Griffith. Both are great writers, but THE MAGIC THIEF is all light, quick, fun, with dragons! and then from there STAY is this intense, grief-and-recovery story where the only monsters are the human ones.
I don’t like to read in quick succession two stories that are too similar to each other: they get confused in my head and I don’t wind up enjoying either of them as much as they deserve, or if one is much worse than the other, I wind up feeling like neither was very good. So going from Prineas to Griffith wasn’t an accident. Jarring, yes, but on purpose and in a good way!
STAY by Griffith is a wonderful book, a very worthy sequel to THE BLUE PLACE, which as I mentioned a few weeks ago is a beautifully written mystery (or thriller or something over on that side of the genre family.) If I were in a reading group or book club, I’d try to get everyone to read THE BLUE PLACE and then we could take a vote on what it is!
STAY is, as I said, a grief-and-recovery story, so that does give you a spoiler for the first book (sorry). In STAY, Aud is a much more human, much more approachable protagonist. I liked her very much in the first book, but there she was sort of superhuman and in STAY that isn’t true.
Single best line: “So you won’t be lonely?” Read the book and you’ll find out what this is such a GREAT LINE.
Best plot element: I would never have expected the poor, white, fundamentalist Christian family to be presented so sympathetically and believably. I was amazed and delighted at how this family did not comply with any of Aud’s biases and how the author made each family member a rounded character.
Bottom line: Excellent writing, great storytelling with startling plot twists, not exactly a mystery or a thriller and in fact pretty hard to classify, but a VERY good book.
Note: A lesbian relationship is central to the story, so if that’s a big plus or minus for you, just letting you know.