Oct 12, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent (Shifters #1)

Urban Fantasy
June 1 2007
Mass Market Paperback
624 pages
Mira books

Kick Ass Chick – Faythe Sanders

From Goodreads –
There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . .
And I’m one of them.

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I’d been warned about Strays — werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I’m no meek kitty. I’ll take on whatever — and whoever — I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays — ’cause I got claws, and I’m not afraid to use them . . .


Yes!  I have finally done it.  Actually, I have finally done two things!  One, I have finally read a Rachel Vincent book.  And two, I have finally read the first book in her ‘crazy popular among my friends’ Shifters series.  At last I have met Faythe and company and I must say I really enjoyed them.

Faythe is currently attending school and to her, that is the most important thing in the world.  She is a feline shifter and one of the last remaining females.  If the females go then the race goes with them.  But being surrounded by overprotective men (also cat shifters so you can imagine the testosterone overdose) on a compound all day long is not Faythe’s idea of fun.  So she goes off to school…for 5 years.  She plans on staying there a bit longer too until Marc shows up telling her that danger is coming and that she must return to her family’s ranch.  Now.  Faythe is not pleased by this development and plans on returning to school as soon as she can convince her father – the Alpha – to let her do so.

Often during the first half of this book, Faythe’s burning need for independence drove me a bit bonkers.  While I understand the why behind her constant fighting of the system, I felt she was a very smart girl and didn’t think she would really fight her daddy so hard when she is in clear danger.  Then again, she does flee from the compound after promising not to…  Yeah let’s chat about that for a moment, shall we?

*Warning:  mini spoiler ahead – this won’t take away your enjoyment of the story if you decide to read the book after reading my review* 

What is it with smart and clever urban fantasy heroines going against reason and running away from a safe situation into a completely unsafe one?!  Intelligent heroines fed up with being told what to do – even though they know it’s important that they listen – running off straight into the arms of the very person who wants to kidnap her/kill them?!  Why in the world does this happen so often?!  Faythe is a very intelligent girl and you can tell that from the moment you meet her.  So why in the hell would she flee the safety of her father’s ranch only to get snatched by the men she was not only warned about but whom she has already had to fight off before going back home?  She knows the threats are real – two female shifters have already gone missing after all.  So why run off?!  That just really frustrated me.  To the point where I grunted out loud.  Like this:  “Grr Gah!”  I understand that there wouldn’t have been much of a second half of the book if she hadn’t fallen into enemy hands but couldn’t she have been taken in a more spectacular way instead of just walking right into them because she was too stupid stubborn to listen to everyone and stay home?  “Grr Gah!”

end of rant

*deep breath*

Even with that fiasco, I still enjoyed the ride of the story.  Just that bump…it was way too maddening for me.

Now that I got that out of my system, let’s talk about the men in this book.  Oh…the men!  *pants* Marc is your über Alpha male, and thank goodness for that since he is the Alpha’s second in command.  He and Faythe have some insane history and you can feel it as soon as the two of them appear on the page together.  Their chemistry is amazing!  Marc’s story is a sad one but he doesn’t let his past get in his way.  I really liked that about him.  And I actually liked how he went all ape-sh*t crazy when another man came close to Faythe.  I feel really bad for Jace but the idea behind Marc’s temper was something I sort of found romantic…in a ‘shifter-appropriate but if some guy did that in real life I would smack him’ sort of way.

Jace was amazing!  Sort of a background character but sweet and sexy all rolled into one.  I enjoyed reading Faythe’s brothers too.  Each and every one of them.  Well…maybe not Ryan so much.  He gets himself into a bit of a predicament and I was never completely convinced of his “forced” involvement.  It felt fake, for lack of a better word, and I’m curious to see if things will feel better for me in the next books.

The villain was creepy crazy!  I hated him with a passion.  I would have liked a bit more explanation as to why he was so creepy crazy but…*shrugs* And a little warning:  once you meet him, that’s where this book becomes a true urban fantasy with the scenes getting more graphic.  There is grit and gore but not so much that it feels as though it’s only there for shock value.  It’s grit and gore that makes sense.  Just be warned.  *grin*

Overall, even though there were a few things here and there that I didn’t adore, I was very impressed with this book.  (I am assuming that the things that rubbed me the wrong way are things I assume won’t happen again in the following installments because they did feel finalized by the end of this one.)  Stray’s pace was fantastic – I read it quickly even with its 600plus pages – and the writing was solid.  The characters were well done and I look forward to visiting them again.  And I will visit them again because I am definitely continuing with this series.  I can’t wait to see where Faythe takes us next.  And her men, of course.  Oh…the men.

4 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’So,’ he said, still grinning.  ‘Got your escape planned yet?’

‘Like I’d tell you if I did.’  I curled up at the head of the bed and pulled a small, frilly pillow into my lap.  It was one of those worthless, decorative things that do nothing but get in the way.  My mother bought it, assuming I’d like it because I had ovaries.  She was right, but for the wrong reason.  I used it when I needed something to punch.”

Books in the Shifters series –

  1. I’m super happy that you FINALLY read this one and even more so that you enjoyed it. Hopefully you won’t wait another year before you tackle Rogue. :p

  2. This is one of my all-time fav series…just gets better & better!!

  3. Yay finally!!! 😀

  4. I really enjoyed this one and I confess I need to read the second one as well. I’m just a little late in this series.
    .. The only problem I had with this book it’s just the story is really like Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. But I can’t wait for you to read the others to see your opinion.

  5. I read this series year or two ago and loved it. Be warned. In later books you will need to a box of tissues!

  6. Thanks for reviewing. I had this audiobook for a while in the back burner, I need to to move it up.
    Great review 🙂

  7. I totally get you on your peeves with the heroine. I’ve read this entire series, but they whole time I felt like she was flirting with TSTL. She’s so smart and ballsy, but at the same time makes really irrational decisions both emotionally and in her “fight the bad guys” times. I wonder how you’ll find the rest of the series since you felt that way in the first book. For me at least, it was like I enjoyed the books but never really liked the heroine. Which I think was a first for me!

  8. Carmel – Yes, hopefully…

    Michele – I’m glad to hear that because this one was pretty darned good!

    blodeuedd – 😉

    melliane – I have heard that quite a few times about Bitten and Stray. Fortunately, I have not read Bitten so for me, it was not a problem. But it may be when I finally read that book. lol

    Jennifer – Oh no! Not a box of tissues! *sigh* Thanks for the warning.

    Lupdilup – Yes you do! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

    Jordan – I wonder if I’ll feel the same way about the heroine. I liked her a lot but there was just something…

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