Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Review - Stray by Rachel Vincent
Rating: 3/5 stars (although 1/2 way through it would have been 1 star)
Rec for people who love: Cats, kick-ass females, and cats (loving cats is kinda key for this book).
First Line: The moment the door opened I knew an ass–kicking was inevitable.
Summary: The difference between the movies and reality? In real life, I was the monster.
Faythe Sanders looks like an ordinary student, but she’s hiding a dark secret: she is a werecat, a powerful supernatural predator. Yet headstrong, independent Faythe resents her power, heading to college to escape her family and her overprotective ex, Marc.
That is until a stray – a dangerous werecat without a pride or territory – catches her scent. With two werecat girls already missing, Faythe is summoned home for her own protection.
But Faythe will do whatever it takes to find her kidnapped kin. She has claws – and she’s not afraid to use them.
Thoughts: Let me start out by saying that I did enjoy this book. Quite a bit by the end. But I am still pretty conflicted about the main character, Faythe. The book opened with her being as a rebellious werecat, pretty flighty and, erm, completely irrational. The only thing that made me feel better was the fact that she realized how juvenile she often sounded – but was just unable to hold herself back.
Also, her relationship with Marc, the overprotective ex in the summary, was bizarre. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Marc. He is exactly the type of traumatized-but-noble hero that I fall in love with. But she just kept flip flopping between being furious with him (for no particular reason) and being completely understanding. It drove me slightly mad.
Her behavior towards her family - her father in particular - was also irrational. Especially considering how much danger she knew she was in. While I understood that she felt like she was trapped by her family – and she was, literally at times – she also understood their motivation. To me, if you understand the motivation and even agree with it, shouldn’t you approve?
Well, I continued reading the book despite this rather intense dislike. I felt they really couldn’t do anything to make me dislike her any more, so the only way forward was up.
Let’s just say I was right. Without giving away too much of the plot, Faythe grows up quite a bit by the end of the 600 page novel. It’s a natural development that keeps her tough-as-nails personality intact – which even I appreciated. By the end of the book, I actually liked Faythe – so if you dislike her while reading, I would recommend you stick it out.
On a different note, this was a pretty violent book. Death, rape, kidnapping, torture – the whole shebang. I expected it to be since, hello, werecats? But I know that some people will be pretty disturbed by a lot of the themes. Some of which – women in cages, raped and brutalized – will probably resonate more with female readers. Vincent does an amazing job describing violence without loosing the reader – to either the fear or to the plain old “but I thought he had a broken arm” confusion. I could really visualize what Faythe goes through from the sound of breaking bones, to the smell of blood. Let's just say the excruciating pain seeped naturally out of the pages. But unlike some horror authors, the trauma was bearable and won’t turn your stomach.
At least, hopefully it won’t.
I will be getting to the next books in her series. Although I might wait a month or so. There is only so much werecat I can take.
I really am more of a dog person.