Thursday, 13 August 2009

Stray by Rachel Vincent

"Female werecats are disappearing and the Pride is helpless to stop the stray responsible. Confined to home for her own protection, Faythe Sanders must face everything she went to College to escape: the family she left behind, the love she turned her back on, and the destiny tradition says she s bound to fulfil. And when it all becomes too much to handle, an emotionally charged error in judgment leads her into the unsheathed claws of the kidnapper himself. Armed with nothing but animal instinct and a serious attitude, Faythe must free herself and stop the kidnappers before their horrific plot robs her Pride of its most valuable asset: its own continued existence."

Stray is the first book in the Shifters series by Rachel Vincent.

Faythe Sanders is a werecat. One of very few females, tabbies, in the world, she's highly valued and been well protected by her alpha, several brothers and other enforcers. As a tabby the expectations of her were to grow up, marry a suitable tom cat and give her Pride the next generation of werecats. Instead, she left. After 5 years of almost complete freedom at college, she's...unhappy about being ordered home. But when she learns of the missing tabbies Faythe wants them back as much as anyone. Being the next target wasn't part of her plans though and when she's taken, she's determined to get herself out alive and make those responsible pay.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong was the first book in the UF genre that I read, and it's still one of my favourites. On the surface, these two books appear very similar just with werecats instead of werewolves. Strong independent women, trying to escape their Pride/Pack (and over baring boyfriends there) and live their own lives, only to be forced home by their alpha's because of trouble. For me, the similarities just about finish there. Faythe is just too different from Elena. And the age difference, Faythe's 23 to Elena's 30, creates a different tone as well.

Faythe is impulsive and brash. She doesn't think about the consequences of her actions and usually speaks before she thinks. It constantly gets her in to trouble with her alpha (who is also her father) and the rest of the Pride. But despite her attitude, she does love her Pride and the missing tabbies. She shows potential for growth and development and that's why I could put up with her reckless attitude and apparent lack of care.

Rachel's werecat world is well thought out with clear laws, separate Prides, the way Prides work both individually and with each other. She's created strong, but flawed characters with lots of potential. She also gives good physical descriptions of both the characters and the world around them without bogging the book down. A fantastic first book and the series only gets better.

Rating: 8/10

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