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Stray (Shifters Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – January 19, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Shifters Series

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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA; Reprint edition (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778329070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778329077
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
SPOILERS- Not major ones, but a few minor ones. This was an incredibly frustrating book. I wanted to like it. I ALMOST did, but in the end, I was more annoyed with the main character than is reasonable. I will include a few examples (hence the spoilers) to try to explain.

HIGH LEVEL: Book 1 in a pretty standard werewolf urban fantasy, but with werecats... Who don't behave like cats at all, but wolves. Strong female lead character struggling for independence and respect in a Pack system that both cherishes and oppresses the more rare females. The writing is clear, descriptive and accessible. The characters are likeable- even adorable at times...

EXCEPT FOR THE HEROINE. She was ALMOST a solid archetypal female lead. Unfortunately, she was too inconsistent, short sighted and had the impulse control of a 16 year old- which, as you can imagine, doesn't read well when a MAIN THEME is her struggle for respect as an intelligent, independent adult. She continuously demonstrated incredibly poor judgment and a complete disregard for consequences. Look- I'm all for breaking away from the pack story lines, but you have to make me LIKE the girl who is trying to do it.

It was hard to take her seriously as an adult - for instance, despite all the evidence, including something as obvious as INCLUDING HER IN COUNCIL MEETINGS, it never occurred to her that her father might actually be trying to train her to help lead the pack herself instead of just being a brood mare. It took one, single conversation with her ex to bring that to light. Dense as a bag of hammers is the phrase that comes to mind.

Her emotions seemed to dictate everything she did and she was incredibly fickle.
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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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