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Stray by Rachel Vincent
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Stray (2007)

by Rachel Vincent

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Shifters (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,250746,338 (3.63)52
  1. 41
    Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1) by Patricia Briggs (OmaRoses)
    OmaRoses: Both stories are hot and action packed with a young shifter heroine who is rare and thus very coveted and smothered within her pack/pride. She must battle her family to earn her independence, and fight her heart and instincts to avoid being “owned” by HOT men whom drive them crazy with lust and desire. (Stray is a bit more sensual)… (more)
  2. 20
    Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (scriberscouse)
  3. 00
    The Dream by Zoe Daniels (scriberscouse)
    scriberscouse: A young adult take on werepanthers with a solid mystery and decent characterisation.
  4. 02
    Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur (alesi1)
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» See also 52 mentions

I really didn't like Fythe. I mean, really did not like her and because of her I simply couldn't get into anything that happened in this book. ( )
  Aneris | Aug 12, 2016 |
3.5

When I dig into Urban Fantasy, I prefer shapeshifters to be part of the background, blending in, doing their thing to propel the plot while other supes shine as the star players. I rarely invest in series which focus on shapeshifters as the mains – just not my thing (although Kate Daniels has proven to be a nice exception). This book is pure shapeshifter material – instead of werewolves, you have werepanthers, and there’s no other supe in sight. Still, the back blurb promised an entertaining story that seemed right up my alley – a woman as the protagonist, prized because she’s rare, forced home to a pack she’s trying to escape because of danger tearing through her newly established safety net.

The shapeshifter world in the Rachel Vincent novels are woven creatively enough; society has no idea the creatures exist behind the human faces and swift justice is delivered to those who dare risk the species unmasking. There are divided territories led by one alpha male, who is part of a family unit. Werepanthers are usually born, almost always through the alpha pair since females are so rarely made.

At the timing of the story, there are six tabbies total in population of the civilized surrounding societies. A rogue is on the loose killing kidnapping and killing the valuable females. Faythe is forced home not to just to stop her from becoming another casualty, but to help the pack track down the culprit.

There’s a lot working in the favor for the first novel of the series. Rachel Vincent’s writing style is enjoyable to devour – her writing has humor when it’s needed but gives proper respect to serious moments and solemn tragedy. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s intriguing. The ending is an especially fierce one because the story doesn’t shy away from brutality.

I didn’t enjoy hunting scenes much – again, not a shapeshifter fan, but I do like how werepanthers are portrayed. The family bond is strong and I loved the parents and brothers. Having two strays in the house with their own backgrounds made interesting reading. Of course there is to be a love interest she left behind – could you expect different? – and Marc is worthy as a lead. He’s alpha, yummy, although a little too serious sometimes. I especially liked her mother and father and their different outlooks in shaping everything.

Faythe…well, not as likeable. She’s courageous, sarcastic, and comfortable in her own skin, but she’s also overly abrasive, bitchy, and smug. I really, really hate smug. That is one of the biggest pet peeves I have for real life folks, and this pet peeve bleeds into books to include paper people. That smugness is a turn-off, and I still think she went too far with the foot bite. I mean, ouch? Sure, get irritated, but being smug about it later and still not remorseful? Dialogue is well written in general, but I don’t like her outlook not her lines. Nope, not liking her.

Even if her personality didn’t fit what I like reading, the story was intriguing, with side characters fun enough to make the story work. A large plot obstacle that opens the first book is already resolved at the end of it, which surprises me as I thought it would continue to be an issue longer. For a first novel to open the series, it’s relatively large in length, but action keeps up enough to make it readable. There IS of course emotional downtime and mental exploration, but the author thankfully avoids making it angst-filled.

Oh, and the covers for all books in the series are spiffy. They have an urban, grunge appeal.


( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
There has been a lot of hype about this series and though it was an enjoyable read it just wasn't what I was expecting. I didn't really connect with the characters. But anyway i will continue the series because there have been lots of times when I wasn't wowed by the first book. ( )
  LenaR0307 | May 30, 2016 |
Faythe wants freedom from her repressive werecat family. As one of the very few female werecats, her father and brothers want her firmly repressed, kept at home and quickly married off to a man of their choosing. Faythe wants to go to college and lead her own life as an actual person…

But when other female werecats are targeted by an outside force, Faythe finds herself dragged home

So, Cyna brought this book to my attention with her review. Therefore my suffering through this is all her fault and I will never ever ever let her forget this.

There’s so much wrong with this book that I’m going to have to take it in little bites just to get through it all. Let’s start at the simplest: the protagonist is called “Faythe”.

Faythe? What kind of Originalnamee misspelling is this? Is there a reason why she couldn’t have been called Faith?

Next, let’s take the super shallow world building. We have werecats – yay, original, something different from werewolves. Except not. Everything about the way these werecats are portrayed is pretty much identical to all of the endless troped portrayals of werewolves we’ve seen. The alpha. The Pack (or pride) is the same all-controlling violent unit we’ve seen a hundred times before. It’s a shame- this could have been the opportunity to tell a story about wereanimals that doesn’t revolve around the typical not-even-accurate-for-wolves violent pack model. But this series doesn’t even claim a particular species of cat – they’re just generic big cats. It feels… lazy

And the word for a female cat isn’t a “tabby” it’s a “queen” – or does that imply too much power for these women?

Which is another awful problem with the world building. We have yet another shapeshifter story where for REASONS women are super rare. We’ve seen this so many times – for some reason there is a desperate urge to make women rare in these stories, to have women surrounded by men and, ultimately, it is used as yet another reason to make women vulnerable and powerless.

In an odd “twist” I guess, women inherit the pride alpha status. A pride that doesn’t have a female heir will collapse. But the power over the pride doesn’t go to the daughter – it goes to the man she marries. Why not just have the alpha status transfer to the oldest son and be done with it? There’s nothing empowered about making women “powerful” solely for their relationships, being love interests, being mothers. They’re not powerful, they’re objects defined entirely by the men in their lives, to be used and controlled

This could have been interesting if we’d had Faythe facing down this misogyny, challenging it and working to change it – but the whole point of the book seems to be about telling Faythe how wrong she is and making her get into line.

Like the idea that the “tabby” can choose her own mate so technically chooses the heir – yet it’s made abundantly clear that her parents set her up with Marc from the very beginning, groomed him to be the replacement alpha and pushing him and her together from the time they were children. They have no problem with Marc brutally beating men nearly to death because he shows some interest in Faythe. No, that’s wrong – they blame FAYTHE for that. They blame her because she doesn’t recognise that she belongs to Marc even though she doesn’t want to.

The sad thing is she starts challenging this. When Marc tries to claim her without her consent she reacts with appropriate rage. Yet by the end of the book she is clearly being set up for a relationship with Marc. Any anger she feels towards him quickly fades and she doesn’t remotely feel the same kind of anger towards the other characters (men) for pushing them together. There’s also a nauseating scene where she is deeply traumatised by the death of a friend – a death that indicates female werecats like are being hunted: she’s grieving, she’s scared and she gets drunk. Which is when Marc decides to flirt and initiate sex. This is the level of respect he has for her – waiting for her at her most vulnerable, when her judgement is compromised with alcohol – this is when he goes for sex.

This is never called out – if anything Faythe regards it as another of her mistakes, definitely not his – and it just seals the deal on her being Marc’s property.

Similarly, Faythe begins the book being utterly contemptuous of her mother for being, basically a house wife. She constantly piles on derision on the woman because she cooks and cleans and raises her kids – a classic case of Exceptional Womanhood (especially since the other women in this book, few that they are) are even more victimised than Faythe. But she soon learns her lesson – because her mother used to sit on the werecat’s council! Gasp, shock! She was once a leader but chose to sit down – yay feminism!

Which fails on two levels. Firstly, Faythe can only respect her mother the home maker IF she learns her mother ISN’T a home maker. That’s not respecting other women and their choices – that’s respecting them only when Faythe approves of their choices. And secondly it’s a terrible attempt to absolve werecat society of sexism – see the women CAN sit on the high council. But none of them do. Not one. All of them prefer to stay home and raise the kids. This is like hearing misogynists saying “there aren’t many women in STEM or CEOs simply because women don’t want to! Not because of sexist society/industry!” Bless, women would totally be equal but they’re just not interested in these things and much prefer to let the men take charge.

This is supposed to show Faythe how wrong she is again for assuming that werecat society is so sexist and restrictive for her. But this neither dispels how utterly sexist the society is and compounds it my presenting a sexist (and homogenous) view of women and blaming them for their lack of presence or power.

Then we have her father who locks Faythe in a cage (there’s even a moment where she compares how she’s kidnapped by the big bad guys) if she doesn’t go where he wants her to, if she tries to run away or otherwise act like a person. Her father’s minions and her brother have no problem physically pinning her down and knocking her to the floor if she is anything less than perfectly obedient. While Faythe rails about her freedom a lot she frames it far more about wanting to go to college than actually regarding the cage with anything resembling outrage or horror. She regards it as an annoyance. Even when he threatened to have men watch her when she was in the bathroom to ensure she’s never alone. There could have been some attempt to show that she’s brainwashed or suffering from Stockholm syndrome but there isn’t – and we continually get love and affect from her to her family that kidnaps her and any anger she has is very short lived. The horror, the utter outrage that should be presented in the face of this brutal, kidnapping cult is completely missing. More, her attempts to escape are, if anything, presented as childish, foolish and infantile. In fact, her only successful attempt to actually be alone leads to her being kidnapped.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | May 15, 2016 |
I absolutely LOVED this book! Rachel Vincent has yet to disappoint me with her writing.

The fact that Faythe attends my alma mater is beyond awesome. It's always refreshing knowing the areas Vincent talks about. :D I also found myself trying to figure out what route was being taken when Faythe was taken back home.

Anyway, back to the point. Faythe is a kick-ass werecat. She's strong and independent. She does have a tendency to throw fits when she doesn't get her freedom. But what's a girl to do when she wants something else. ;) I love the fact that she stands up for herself in a male dominated world. F

Faythe isn't happen when she's forced to go back home under her father's order. She's even less thrilled when she realizes her escort is Marc. There's definitely history between these two.

The story is fast paced, and full of warring emotions. Faythe is trying to deal with her loss of freedom, feelings toward Marc and Jace, the disappearance of the tabbies, and the boyfriend she left at UNT. This girl has a lot on her plate, and seems to handle it well considering the circumstances.

I did find myself comparing these characters with those in the Soul Screamers Series. I know this is an adult book, but I see similarities in characteristics. If you've read both and done the same, let me know who you think matches up. Here's mine.

Faythe --> Kaylee
Marc --> Nash
Jace --> Tod
Abby --> Emma

Ok, so um, I guess that's it. Go read this book now! Rachel's writing is amazing and I can't wait to see who's ass Faythe kicks next! ( )
  BookishThings | Mar 23, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rachel Vincentprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Van Dyck, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The moment the door opened I knew an ass-kicking was inevitable.
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Book description
Okay, so cats don t always land on their feet.

I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I ve made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride, and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I m working harder than ever, though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on- and off-duty.

But not all of my mistakes are behind me. We re beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women and that they can all be laid at my feet--two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0778324214, Mass Market Paperback)

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 . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After narrowly escaping an attack by a Stray, Faythe, a shape-shifting young werecat and rebellious member of a Pride, discovers that two of her fellow female werecats have disappeared and launches a personal campaign to find her missing friends and stop the kidnappers before it is too late.… (more)

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