Hey all, it's the turn of Rachel Vincent's Young Adult series. This is Stray, book #1 in the Faythe Sanders series. Enjoy!
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Mira Books
Release Date: February 2009 (UK) | July 2007 (US)
Series: Faythe Sanders/Shifters series, book 1
Source: My own copy
From Rachel Vincent's website:
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.
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...
The Shifters series follows werecat Faythe Sanders as she tries to cope with being one of the few female werecats (tabbies) in the United States. She is an extremely stubborn individual as we find her at college at the start of this book, rather then doing what is considered to be her duty to her species and finding a man, and...well...continuing her species. As much as Faythe values her independence, she must be cautious, as some people will do anything to bag themselves a tabby. Including kidnapping.
While on campus, Faythe is the target of an attack by a stray (a werecat that does not belong to a pride), after surprising him with her self defence skills, thankfully the stray gives up and leaves. However only minutes later, Faythe is visited by the last person she wanted to see. Her ex-boyfriend Marc....and he's come to drag her home. Marc is the last person Faythe want's to see, but when she finds out that Tabbies are disappearing all over America (including her cousin) she reluctantly agrees to return home.
I wasn't entirely sold on Faythe as a character to begin with. She's ridiculously stubborn and will sometimes put herself and others in harms way just to prove a point. She also can come across as selfish, but considering she has had her independence taken from her it's almost understandable. Faythe most certainly isn't perfect, nor is she always likeable...however she is a very real and believable character and her flaws make her easier to connect with. When Faythe arrives home, she discovers she is not the only tabby to have been attacked. And 2 of them are missing - including her teenage cousin. Faythe becomes determined to find out who took them...before they come back for her.
Faythe has alot of people who care deeply about her, her over-protective older brothers, her Alpha father, and lovely mother. I love the scenes with her family, it shows Faythe isn't completely emotionless. Also coming under the over protective section is ex-boyfriend Marc. Marc seems like a genuinely nice guy apart from being a bit hot-headed. Marc want's nothing more than to settle down with Faythe...her father would like the same. He appears to be the perfect boyfriend, but Faythe only wants certain parts of their relationship and certainly nothing more permanent...at least not now. It's one of the reasons I didn't warm to her character, she keeps messing with Marc's emotions and he's such a nice guy...I feel bad for him. I hope, I really hope she makes up her mind and stops being so blind to what she has!
The plot was well paced and kept me interested all the way through. Some of the plot twists I didn't see coming. Although there is a horror film cliché involving Faythe practically running into the kidnappers arms. You can't help but shout 'what on earth were you thinking'...and you know her family will have the same reaction.
One of the reasons I did eventually warm to Faythe was that she learnt from the mistakes she made throughout the story, you can see her potential and I can't wait to see what happens with her character throughout the series. Overall Stray is a pretty enjoyable addition to the Young Adult genre. I will be picking up book 2 in the series to see what happens to Faythe next.
My Rating: 4/5