In Review: Rogue by Rachel Vincent

Released: 4/1/08 400 pages
Publisher: Mira
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-07787329145

The second outing of Rachel Vincent's Shifter series, still doesn't have me completely sold. The writing and plotting of this book was much tighter, but it seems like I'm having the same information shoved down my throat constantly. I get it that the females of the species are rare and precious, but why does that mean that this particular one has to be not only selfish, but borderline retarded. None of the rest of them seem to be. I get it, she thinks she can take care of herself, that she doesn't need anyone, but she can't be more worng. And what is the point of an Alpha if he and every other male involved is ineffective against one single female?

It's been 3 months since the first book, Stray, and not a whole lot has changed. Faythe is still Faythe, making messes and mistakes all the while thinking that she is in the right. But she's starting to grow, just enough to give you hope.

She now an enforcer, hired muscle, for her father, and she's partnered up with Marc in every way possible, and there's are killers on the loose, killing Toms and strippers who look a lot like her. Are the two connected, or is that just coincidence? Well of course they're connected, why mention them otherwise. An ex boyfriend rears his ugly head, and her relationship crumbles because she isn't willing to give Marc an inch when he's given her miles. After an ultimate Faythe moment he walks out on her, and I found myself thinking "Finally! For a dominant cat he lacks a backbone or common sense in anything Faythe related. It's not rose colored glasses, just delusional."

Ms. Vincent does a good job of following up on the bread crumbs that she sprinkled through the first one turning them into a solid trail here. This second book was miles ahead of the original, delving the reader far deeper into the world, with research, twists and finally showing that you can be tough and have a head on your shoulders like Faythe's mom. And paves the way for the next book.

What happens when Faythe commits one of the few capital crimes punishable? Especially in light that there's a new tabby in town, with no ties, and willing to bear children? I know the tabby isn't going to replace Faythe, but maybe just maybe it'll open up her eyes to the possibility that she isn't as valuable as she thinks she is. Here's looking forward to the trial.


In Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent

Released: 6/1/07 624 Pages
Publisher: Mira
Format: Paperback
When one of your favorite authors tells you to read an up-and-coming author because she is incredible, and more imagnitive...far better than me," you listen and read as you're told, but that whole better part is still up for debate.

Rachel Vincent's first novel doesn't exactly run out of the gate, but it almost fools you into believing it does with a quick fight scene with a Stray werecat, one not borne but infected, at the beginning of the story. However Ms. Vincent does consistantly throughout it, create a rich, believable atmosphere with characters that are truly flawed and human with just enough pretty faces to keep you distracted. Because, I've said it before and I'll say it again a pretty face in the right situation can overcome many flaws in a story. It's not an exact science, and hell, many accomplished writers don't believably pull it off or they oversaturate the scene with pointless nudity, but Stray is a good example of pulling it off.

Enter our "heroine," Faythe Sanders. She's young, perky, tough as nails, which I love, but she has a selfish streak wider than an ocean. And since the entire book is from her point of view she takes the whole me me me attitude to a brand spanking new level. See, Faythe was born a werecat, a nice little ball of sharp claws and black fur, but she's special because she's a tabby. These cats are gold, they're the lifeblood of their families, their Prides. These girls are the ones who will determine who will rule simply by marrying and baring, well, kittens. And they are in short supply, only 8 in the country of childbearing age, one in each Pride. But Faythe doesn't want to hear that, she doesn't want to hear much unless it's someone saying that she's right, but she almost never is. All she wants is her freedom, no matter what the cost, which in this case is her entire family, because without her they lose everything. So when someone snatches one of the other Pride's tabby cats she is forced to return home from college, while they search for the missing girl and catch the culprit.

And the one to drag her home is the guy she left at the altar, as she smashed his gorgeous heart into little pieces, Marc. He's attractive, and temperamental, strong and passionate. He's also the one that her father pushed her towards before she realized what he was doing, grooming them both for the future, the one who smothered her with his love. Of course, when she gets home, what story would be complete without throwing in a lopsided love triangle? This one comes in the shape of the equally gorgeous, a possibly better catch, whose only flaw seems to be who he loves but doesn't really have a chance with, Jace. He's not alpha material, but she claims to not want the responsibility, so it really shouldn't be an issue.

Faythe causes calamity wherever she steps. She's argues for the sake of arguing, she says she doesn't want to hurt anyone, but that's all she does. Her heart is made up from the start, she's already chosen, no matter the circumstance, but her head is too stubborn to admit it.

The story at times feels forced, the action is stop and go until the last 1/3 of the book, and Faythe is the least likable character. her antics at time make you want to slap your forehead in disbelief, like when she gets kidnapped. Because a girl in danger, in the middle of the night should always leave her protectors to take a walk. Everyone saw that one coming a mile away, except Faythe. You want to root for her, because you know you're suppose to, but she goes out of her way to make it so hard to do so. But she did make a deal with Daddy to work for him for the next 2 1/2 years, so it's likely she'll have time to outgrow her selfishness. Don't get me wrong the girl has potential, but she really needs to be able to see beyond herself.

From the begining you can see where the story is leading, where the series is headed, but the twists and turns, the very subtle hints are what make the ride enjoyable. So while I'm not sure that the story is "better than," as I was told it would be, it was a pretty good start, and I will be picking up the next book to see where it takes Faythe.


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