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Stray (Shifters, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; paperback / softback edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778324214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778324218
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,221,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vincent's debut, an urban werecat fantasy, is a good story that suffers from about 200 pages of bloat. Faythe Sanders is a Texas grad student with a secret: she's a shape-shifting werecat. After she's attacked by a Stray—a werecat without ties to any pride—Faythe's father, the Pride Alpha, orders her to return to the family compound. As it turns out, two other werecat tabbies have gone missing, indicating an organized effort by the formerly go-it-alone Strays. The author's world building is intriguing but overly narrow, reducing the range of jungle feline behavior to a keen territorial instinct. Secondary characters abound, including Faythe's intended, formerly human werecat Marc; five years earlier, she escaped the pride on what was supposed to be the eve of their wedding. Unfortunately, they both have frustrating character tics that are only exacerbated by the novel's length: Faythe is more often too-stubborn-to-live than kick-ass, and all the tears Marc wells up over Faythe don't forgive his insufferable jealousy. A polished tale may hide within this one, but Vincent needs to rein herself in a bit if she wants to build a readership.
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"A high-octane plot with characters you can really care about. Vincent is a welcome addition to the genre!" -- Kelley Armstrong, author of the Women of the Otherworld series

"Compelling and edgy, dark and evocative, Stray is a must read! I loved it from beginning to end." -- Gena Showalter, acclaimed author of Enslave Me Sweetly

"Rachel Vincent is a new author that I'm going to be watching." -- New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison

"Well written, fresh, charming, great voice -- Buffy meets Cat People. I loved it, and look forward to much more in the future from this talented author." -- New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham

Vincent's debut is fast paced and cleverly written, and it should find favor with fans of the shape-shifter subgenre. Even those not usually enamored by it could be won over by the sheer power and clarity of her voice. Plus, some of those male werecats are choice! -- Romantic Times Book Review, June 1, 2007

More About the Author

Rachel Vincent is the author of the Shifters series, about a werecat named Faythe Sanders, who is learning to define her own role in her family and fighting to claim a place in her Pride.

Rachel's young adult series, Soul Screamers, debuted on August 1, 2009. My SOUL TO TAKE is the first in the series, about a teenage bean sidhe (banshee) trying to balance a normal high school experience with the terrifying, hidden world she's just discovered. Soul Screamers Book 5, IF I DIE, will be available on October 1, 2011.

BLOOD BOUND (Unbound, book 1), the first in Rachel's new adult paranormal series, will debut September 1, 2011.

A new resident of San Antonio, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and she consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her workspace with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks-seriously-and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Serene Night on September 9, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Faythe Sanders is a were kitty with a problem. She is one of the few females of her species (ala Elena), and her father sends her ex-boyfriend Clay... Oops... Marc to escort her home. What nefarious reason does Daddy have to do this? He wants to protect her and keep her safe? What an awful guy! The problem is Faythe broke up with Marc and broke his heart and would rather stay at school and be yet another over-educated nitwit than return home and help her people. When Faythe does get back to the ranch, she finds herself the center of a love triangle between Marc and Jace two of daddy's hot bodyguards. Is Faythe happy with the situation? No! She must make everyone miserable, including her father, her brothers, and her mother. Is she satisfied then? No! She must assert her independence AT ALL costs, even if it means risking her life and everyone else's' in the process.

Seriously what the heck? I thought characters like Faythe belonged in 1970's harlequin novels. She never gets off the Self Pity train and her bellyaching about her independence constantly (while consequently relying on her parents to pay for her college education and future grad school) left me cold. Seriously this girl never works a day in her life...She is a total spoiled brat... This would be somewhat more palatable if she changes in the story... But it doesn't happen. Not only is she spoiled but she is TSTL at times. Yikes!

Ironically, I LIKED the male characters. But even they came off as TSTL for their utter love of Faythe which seemed undeserved and frankly a little hard to believe. Considering how she jerks them around.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Neker VINE VOICE on July 2, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel definitely has promise. Granted, the one of the few females in the pack/pride has already been done (and better) by Kelley Armstrong, but Vincent's Stray does manage to produce a book with a lot of action and an interesting plot line. The interaction between Faythe and her brothers is fun. The extra men in her life are sexy. (Makes you wonder what's with the were-cat gene to make all the men beautiful?)

I do have a few complaints about the novel. Granted, I don't find them so unbearable that I didn't enjoy reading the book. First, Faythe is a ginormous B****. She is so stuck up on herself that she puts herself before her family, her friends, and even the people who believe they love her. She realizes in the story what she is doing and has no remorse whatsoever. Yet, later she takes the place of her cousin to prevent her from getting hurt. HUGE contradiction in character. I let it go and hope that the author does this on purpose to show growth of character. Second, is the fact that the were-cats act more like wolves than they do an actual pride of large cats. I don't remember reading or watching any specials were large cats are monogamous. Nor any reasons why there would be so few females (5-1). Also, it's the female cat that does the hunting. Vincent has them at home protected and guarded to the extreme. Why don't more men fight over the women if there were so few? Lastly, what do the other men do for pleasure? For families? Can they have children outside of the pride? For such a long book, she answered few of the questions that I consider important in establishing a new world.

I'll still read the next. I think this book has great potential and I hope to see a marked improvement in the next.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Faythe is not just your average MA student at the University of North Texas. She's a werecat--and one of only eight females in the US of breeding age. It seems, girl-children (aka 'tabbies' in Vincent's parlance) among this species are extremely rare. There are only a few females and daughters are limited to only one girl per alpha were-couple. Faythe's furious when she's attacked by a `stray' werecat and Daddy calls her home to the ranch instead of being allowed to finish out the summer semester.

What Faythe doesn't realize til she gets home is that Sara, one of the other 7 female werecats, has been kidnapped, plus several normal human girls have been mauled and murdered with werecat evidence on them. The family is concerned that Faythe's next and her over-protective father will literally put her in a cage before he will allow her to be at risk.

Faythe's scared, too--not just of the abduction of werecat tabbies, but every woman's primeval fear. She's scared of becoming her mother, as she describes her, `the June Cleaver of werecats.' Her relationship with the Pride's chosen mate for her, Marc, is out of control. That and drunken grief over Sara's death propels her to make mistakes that put her in jeopardy.

At 600 plus pages and approximately 120,000 words, "Stray" is surprisingly long for a new author investment. That number of pages was too long for the plotline. Vincent needs to learn to evaluate her novels more closely to see what is essential and what material could be shortened or cut altogether without any serious loss to the novel.

While the book comes highly recommended, "Stray" does suffer from some debut novel flaws.

One of the most serious of those flaws is originality.
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