Stray by Rachel Vincent

June 23, 2015 Reviews 18

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Stray by Rachel VincentStray by Rachel Vincent
Narrator: Jennifer Van Dyck
Series: Shifters #1
Published by Harelquin Books S.A., Mira on May 31, 2007
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 624
Length: 13 hours 53 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased

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 . . .

In May y’all voted for me to read Insurgent, but Stray was second place by only 1 vote and I got so many comments that people were bummed it lost, so I knew it needed to make my list soon. Y’all were right – of course! Stray was the start of what I expect will be a great series, with a great world and complex characters.

For one, I really like this world. I like my werewolf shifters just fine, but cat shifters are a nice change of pace – I don’t think I ever got exactly what kinds of cats they are but I pictured Jaguars for some reason (if there’s an actual type named and I missed it, someone tell me please). There’s a sort of class system – cats born to the families have a higher class than strays, or those that are changed by another cat shifter – and, like all class systems, it has some problems. That created an interesting tension that I think could go far as the series progresses.

I also really like that women are a rarity – they have more boys than anything – and thus females are treasured. Especially since, as is typical in cat hierarchy, they are a matrilineal society. That had had frustrating consequences for the main character, Faith though. She doesn’t want to lead or settle down in marriage and have her life be about giving her pride children – particularly a girl child. She wants to go to school and have a more “typcial” tragectory. I can 100% appreciate scoffing at the responsibilities that she has ahead of her and feeling so trapped by all the expectations that all you want to do is run. Faith apparently has quite the track record of running and I mostly love her for it.

I say mostly because sometimes she goes just a bit too far. Stubborn would be an understatement when describing Faith. She sometimes ignores reason to stick to her guns. And that got a bit irritating. I wanted to shake her and tell her how stupid she was being. Speaking of being stupid – she gets some information at the end of Stray that I’m almost positive will show up in future books because it seemed pretty damn critical and she just shrugs at it and moves on. Yeah dumb move.

But Faith is not a TSTL (too stupid to live) heroine most the time. Most the time she’s a fiesty, smart, tough cat and I loved her for it. Her stubbornness was even endearing, especially since it made her a character that is flawed and has room to grow. I don’t like my characters too perfect after all.

The pace was good and kept me engaged from beginning to end – Stray had elements of mystery, though mainly it was just a bit of suspense and action. I should note that it does have some scenes with fairly light sexual abuse (if there’s such a thing) and mentions of rape, though not graphic. Just in case that’s a trigger for someone.

I listened to Stray and Jennifer Van Dyck did a really good job. I thought the voices were distinct and the male voices weren’t overly feminine. And I was able to listen at 2x speed with no loss of performance, which doesn’t hold true for all narrators. I’m glad I have book 2 on audio too, because I definitely plan to continue soon and I will be listening for sure!

4 stars Pretty Great

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About Rachel Vincent

A resident of San Antonio, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and 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.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

18 Responses to “Stray by Rachel Vincent”

  1. Lola

    Yay I am so happy you read this one as well even though it didn’t win! I love this series, although I did have soem issues with Faythe in the first book, she can be a bit stupid at times, she does grow in the series and learns to pick her battles. I do like her attitude at other times though and it’s nice to see her stand up for what she wants, like going to college and not settling down and making babies.

    I think they are all black Jacquars indeed. I don’t think it ever get’s mentioned, but that’s the feel I got as well from how they are described. That reminds me how the first time I came across this series I thought they would change into house cats, lol, would make for a fun story though.
    The class system will be very important when the series continues and it keeps being an important topic in this series and the spinn-off.

    I am looking forward to hear what you think of the rest of this series. great review!
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #132My Profile

    • Berls

      Yeah, even though Faythe’s stubborness can be a bit obnoxious, mostly I love it. It makes her a very real character and I like that she has so much fight in her. It’s funny that you also think they’re jaguars but don’t recall it being mentioned in the book – it must be very briefly mentioned or else I don’t think we’d have come to the same conclusion, right? LOL house cats would be something else!
      I’m excited to see how the series develops, especially with the class system, that’s a type of tension I always enjoy 🙂

  2. Lexxie

    *gasp* you cheated on your TBR read, Berls? 😛 I enjoyed Faith very much, and Marc, too… I thought the whole hierarchy and ‘caste’ system worked very well with this series, and the writing is really good, too!
    I hope you’ll keep on enjoying the series!
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: Wasted Lust – J.A. HussMy Profile

    • Berls

      LOL sshhh don’t tell! I’m looking forward to reading the rest the series once I get caught up on some review books. I just love Faith and I’m looking forward to getting to know Marc better (on the fence about him at the moment, though he has heartbreak potential)

    • Berls

      I think you did 🙂 I’m really glad I read it too – Faith is a great character. This could be a good one for your next TBR list actually.

    • Berls

      I knew I liked Rachel Vincent, so I was hopeful. I’m glad it turned out so good – I think you’ll enjoy Faith 🙂

  3. Ramona

    Hm…. Stubborn to the point that she’s toeing the TSTL boundary …. where did I hear this before? Oh, I know! It was hubs, describing little old moi! LOL 🙂 Interesting start to a series I haven’t read, so I’m adding it. Awesome review as always <3
    Ramona recently posted…Zen Monday: Essential Daily FoodsMy Profile

    • Berls

      LOL we have something in common 😉 – I KNEW I loved you! Rachel Vincent’s YA Soul Screamer’s is a favorite series of mine, so I’m glad to finally be reading this. I’ve owned it for YEARS!

  4. Zareena

    I’m so glad you read Stray! I read Stray and absolutely loved it from page one 😀 Faith is a great character and her feisty personality is one my favourite aspects of this book. I think I’ve got a few books left in the series so hopefully I’ll get around to reading them some time. Great review!

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf

    • Berls

      Thanks Zareena! I agree, Faith is fantastic! Yes, she went too far sometimes, but who doesn’t love a flawed character? It makes them so real!

  5. Melanie Simmons @ mlsimmons

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed this book. I loved the series overall. Like Felicia said, the love triangle did drive me a little batty. The rest of the story was good enough that I was willing to put up with it. I haven’t tried the new spin off series. I’ve listened to the audio, and enjoyed the narrator as well. I would like to revisit this series one day.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Shadow Sight Audiobook by E. J. Stevens (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Berls

      I’m going to have to see if this love triangle becomes more prominent because I serriously don’t really remember one! I think I remember an inkling of one, but it wasn’t prominent enough to bug me. I agree, the narrator is good – I’m looking forward to continuing.

    • Berls

      LOL you know I didn’t even remember a triangle in this book! I think there is sor of one, but it wasn’t prominent in my mind. Maybe it becomes more pronounced as the series continues? Or I’m becoming numb to triangles?

    • Berls

      I really did – and if I didn’t have a ton of audio review books to go through right now I’d be readng the next one already! I’ll be getting to it soon though 🙂 Just love strong characters!

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