Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shifters #1

Title: Stray
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: SHIFTERS, book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 624 Pages
Rating: 5/5

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 . . .

My Review:
I find it hard to channel my earlier thoughts of this book after having read the next four. I checked my Shelfari from the first time around and all I had in there was "I wasn't expecting such a thrilling read. Couldn't put it down." Which was true enough even the second time through!

Katherine 'Faythe' Sanders is a female werecat who is trying to live a "normal" life, which is next to impossible with a community of male werecats hell-bent on protecting her. Faythe may hate the pressure being put on her by her family as one of the few tabbies in North America to keep the race alive, but she is forced to accept their help when her fellow tabbies start to disappear - along with her freedom.

I loved to hate Faythe, she's stubborn but secretly wants approval, clever but surprisingly blind to her surroundings, and tries to act as if she has it all together when really she's lost and confused. I enjoyed watching her step outside of herself and start her journey toward understanding her place in the world instead of running from it.

The were-cat world was well developed and I loved delving into their messed-up politics and hierarchies. The way the women are treated, with the intention of being cherished and protected - but realistically being controlled and over-lorded - was equal parts understandable and infuriating to me. Rachel did a great job of letting the reader work through the issues with Faythe - I didn't feel like I had it all figured out and was waiting for her to catch up.

The drama of Faythe and Marc's relationship was a bit confusing but I liked it, I think that the reader is kept in the same place that Faythe is, and she is confused too. The element of Jace the third boy in the love triangle was only touched on, but just the few glimpses of him were enough for me to want more.

I don't want to be spoilery but I will say that once the crisis hits it gets pretty graphic. I didn't find any of it to be over-the-top, it was needed to show the seriousness and depravity of the situation.

A great start to one of my favourite series!

*side note: I have seen a lot of reviews nagging on the similarities between Stray and Bitten (by Kelley Armstrong). I personally have read both - and liked them both - and didn't find much overlap besides the obvious (girl shifter). I liked what one reviewer said: "Yes, I see some parallels to Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, no I am not bothered. When you read a book about Vampires, you can't call it a copy of Anne Rice...Similar is not the same." S.P. (click here for her full 5 star review)

My Rating: 5/5

Other books in this series:
#2 Rogue, #3 Pride, #4 Prey, #5 Shift, #6 Alpha

You'll like this series if you liked:
The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent, Riley Jensen Series by Keri Arthur, and ironically: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong.



  1. I'm about to read this series and i didn't know what to think... After reading this review, I'm starting the book straight away!

  2. I'm glad you are going to start the series! I just leant mine to my sister and she is loving them too. Let me know what you think.