Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Mira, 2007
Page total: 618 pages
Date read: December 10, 2010
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy; Adult
First line of the book: "The moment the door opened I knew an ass-kicking was inevitable. Whether I'd be giving it or receiving it was still a bit of a mystery."
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… (from the blurb)
Finally I can say that I’m a proud owner of a copy of Stray. My mom gave it to me as an early Christmas gift, and I read it in less than 5 hours. I have never entered a world of shape shifters before, and I found it fascinating. Vampires are old story by now, werewolves are catching up and I’ve seen many fairy books coming out lately although I’m not exactly fond of them due to some negative experiences. Anyway, I enjoyed exploring the world of Faythe, one of the eight unmarried female werecats in USA. While I’m tempted to tell everything I found mesmerizing, I wouldn’t want to spoil the opportunity to do it yourself.
This book contains lots of actions, sexy scenes and you can literally feel your adrenaline running through your vein although you’re not the one who’s fighting. What irritated me quite a bit was a) the lack of explanations of terms that are not very familiar to us, such as tabby, tom, Pride and Stray; and b) the heroine.
The terms aren’t the only thing the readers will learn later as the book progresses. When the book starts, you have no idea in what kind of situation the heroine is, much less her background. It all comes in flashbacks later on, which didn’t exactly bother me, but it sure had my mouth hanging wide open. I won’t tell you what had made me gaping stupidly at the book, but I can at least explain a few terms briefly, so you don’t get confused when you read the book for the first time:
tabby: a female werecat
tom: a male werecat
Pride: a group of werecats with one Alpha ruling over them and their territory (You might find a map of Pride territories in USA useful)
Stray: a human turned into a werecat by a scratch or bite of a werecat in their animal form
Now, the heroine, Faythe Sanders. As I said before, she irritated me. She has so many… sides. You can’t exactly say what kind of person she really is because she’s smart, stupid, bold, coward, brave, whiny, strong and stubborn, all in one. Overall, she’s a strong, stubborn and mostly smart woman with a tendency to behave like a teenager. (I have to remind myself over and over that she’s 23, not 17 although her poor judgment on what her heart says indicates that she has yet to outgrow teenage stubbornness.) She’s reluctant to get involved with Pride’s business first because she wants to have a normal life but when she finally realizes that she does have the potential to become a good Alpha (after her dad steps down or dies, of course), that’s the part where I like it best. It doesn’t happen until toward the end of the book, but there’s the promise that I won’t be disappointed in the following books. I really love it when I know from the very first book that I’m gonna love the series, don’t you?
Also, I loved almost every character Rachel Vincent has created in this book, including Faythe’s brothers, Marc, Parker, Greg (Faythe’s father and also the Alpha of South Central Pride) and Abby.
All in all, I definitely recommend the series to everyone looking for a good urban fantasy with an ass-kicking heroine and steamy romance. That being said, I feel obliged to add that this book is aimed at older readers than, let’s say, Twilight or City of Bones.