Last night I finished my 2nd readthrough of Stay in preparation for my review. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed both readings. The book continues the story seamlessly while providing further character development in an excellent manner. Throughout this series, I have grown to love these characters and their mesmerizing world. The aptly titled Stay is an homage to a maturity shown in knowing when to stay and when to go.
When last we left Jared at the end of Search, he had been captured by ‘the boss’, a witch who had been posing as Tiffany, and he was being held prisoner in a cave belonging to a bear clan.
In the opening of Stay Jared feels something he has never felt before… weak and helpless. In his elitist attitude, there had been no room for the concept that he might need the help of ‘lesser’ shifters. Luckily for him, Vera stayed and risked everything to help him.
Once freed, Jared stayed true to his duty and set out to save Levi & Allie, the king and queen of The Society. They also happened to be Jared’s best friend and his new wife. Vera chose to stay with him… to help him, to save the king and queen, to assuage some of her guilt and give herself a noble purpose.
During their time together, Jared came to realize some harsh truths about himself, namely how selfish and arrogant he had been. His realizations forced him to reevaluate his behavior patterns and taught him to value others. However, he also started to devalue himself.
Vera began to trust again, not just in others but also in herself. She still felt a need to atone for her choices in the past, but she began to believe that she could be a better person. She began to realize that she should value herself more. She began to come to terms with the consequences of her choice to leave her sister Casey and started to see the benefits of choosing to stay… to remain a part of the family she abandoned years earlier.
Meanwhile, Casey battled the effects of Tiffany’s dark magic as Toby, Georgina and Eric tried to find a way to save her. None of them realized yet that Tiffany was ‘the boss’ or that the dark magic she used on Casey could let Tiffany take control of Casey’s mind.
More than once, Casey thanked Toby for staying with her through all of the craziness that had her surrounded. Toby made it clear to her that he wasn’t going anywhere. His place was with her and there he would remain. When the time came for Casey to go with her mom to her bear clan’s island, Toby felt nearly undone as he was forced to remain behind. His dedication never wavered however. He remained in almost the same spot until Casey needed him.
Although his summoning could have been a trap, he gladly stayed true to Casey and the faith she had placed in him. He willingly agreed to follow Casey into her subconscious mind to give her the strength to break the witches spell even though he could have been subject to the same black magic while there. He stayed strong for her which enabled her to be strong for him.
When circumstances forced Casey to choose family duty or to run, she stayed loyal to her family. She chose to step up and do the thing she truly feared… take over the leadership of a society she didn’t know existed until a few months prior. She became her father’s daughter even though she barely knew him. She stayed, and Toby stayed by her side.
Once it was realized that the king and queen were still alive, Toby asked Casey to stay with him, to be his mate and to spend the rest of her life with him. She said yes.
After all that happened, in the end Jared decided to leave New Orleans and the service of the royal family. He knew he would always be loyal to them but he also chose to focus on finding his long-lost mother. He stayed hopeful that she could be found. Vera chose to stay with him on his journey.
Another theme I noticed in this book was the beginning of change. The interaction with Casey (a Pteron-Bear hybrid), Vera, Eric and some others brought about a new way of viewing the world of The Society. Would the future books of the series (the ones to focus on Jared and Vera) continue to develop that change? That was (and still is) my hope.
Stay was extremely enjoyable to me. All the preceding books of the story were as well. They all received high marks from me.