Thursday, February 28, 2013
Stray by Evan Fuller
If you like: indie authors * magic * secrets
Stray is the sequel to Evan Fuller’s Mutt. (See my review of Mutt here.) A few months after the conclusion of Mutt, we find that Emery is continuing his support of many children from outside the walls of Rittenhouse. His desire to help as many has he can, mixed with the secret nature of his work, is beginning to take its toll. In spite of this, he takes on more than ever in order to right societal wrongs and help anyone he can.
Emery is a fascinating character. He is driven to help others, and selfless to a fault. This humanity is dual-sided. His intense generosity also makes him difficult to deal with. He can be gruff and isolates himself in a ruse of protecting those he loves. This gives him a robust depth. What makes him most lovable is just how human he is. He is not skilled enough to lead the type of elaborate double-life that leaves no one the wiser. He begins looking into the underground economy of Rittenhouse, but sticks out like a sore thumb. The qualities that make him a generous man also make him a terrible liar, and he is completely incapable of the types of cunning required for this type of deception. This detail strongly enhances both his character and the story.
This dystopian world is increasingly complex. Not only are there entire unknown economies in Rittenhouse, but the world outside is much more involved than anyone could have imagined. The multifaceted deceits going on in all aspects of society make it impossible to understand how it continues to function. The corruption at all levels of government is part of the establishment. The multitude of transgressions practiced by all individuals is surprising. When the social codes are as strict as they are in Rittenhouse some infractions are expected, but there is hardly a person who follows the rules. As the truth begins to emerge this society is ripe for revolution. When those outside the walls become empowered to work with the internal sympathizers, there will be no stopping them. Until that time, each interaction leaves the reader on bated breath hoping that this will not be the time Emery is caught. Not everyone can be saved; not every danger is external. For all of Emery’s goodwill, there are those inside his walls that may be his undoing. The big picture is lost on many members of this society, and until they see it it will shackle them in place.
If you could have sworn you heard someone in the basement, read Stray.
Fuller, Evan. Stray. 2013. Smashwords edition. (Reviewed copy courteously provided by Evan Fuller -- Thanks!)