Book Review: Rachel Vincent’s Stray

Posted January 10, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Rachel Vincent’s Stray



Rachel Vincent

urban fantasy that was published by Mira on June 1, 2007 and has 618 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Chicks Kick Butt, Rogue

First in the Shifters urban fantasy series that so far seems to revolve around Faythe, a werecat irked at her independence being reined in.

My Take

I’ve realized I’ve been somewhat unfair in denigrating books whose characters I find stupid. And Vincent’s Faythe did make me hope she would disappear into the jungles of South America, but I kept reminding myself that she is a, okay, not a teenager exactly even though she does act like one. It’s more that she is incredibly spoiled and self-obsessed. As her observations change toward the end of the book, I’ve come to realize that Vincent is setting the stage for her series. I’m still gonna whine though! And hope I can do as well in writing a teen’s behavior should it ever come to that!

We’re one-fourth into the story before Faythe realizes that her father has been grooming her to take over for years and that Marc was also her father’s choice.

Arghh! Faythe relates all the tricks she pulls, the number of times she’s driven Marc nuts and then complains when she gets penalized. It’s just not fair! Bitch. She talks about how hard she works to make them respect her. To give her the same respect they’d give each other. Just don’t make her do something she doesn’t wanna do…wahhhh… Then she decides she wants out. Out of the Pride. She wants to go Rogue. And she announces this in the middle of the kidnappings. After a bit, she realizes that “well, she just can’t back down now…” Well, duhhh, wait to make the announcement AFTER the kidnappings are resolved. What??? Is she 8??

She encourages Jace to kiss her, touch her, and Marc comes storming in, throwing Jace into a wall. The other guys are angry at her for instigating this and…wahhh…everything’s always Faythe’s fault. Wait, how old is she again?? Yes, Marc does have anger issues. Which Faythe knows about. She is also quite well aware of the possessive nature of a cat. But, hey, this is Faythe.

I can’t help it, she drives me nuts. Here her father has been teaching what’s at stake and how to rule. She knows about the danger stalking all the unmated female werecats—both Abby and Sara have been kidnapped and there are probably two psycho strays roaming around.. So, naturally, she takes off in the middle of the night to “take a walk”. Ya almost want her to be taken far, far away.

Stray is a weird combination of the practical and the huh-what??

The Story

As Faythe bemoans how awful her life is what with Daddy setting all these spies around her, she’s about to be hit with a one-two punch: a stray attacks her and Marc has arrived to take her home for Sara Di Carlo has been kidnapped.

It’s primarily a bitch-fest of dramatic proportions in which Faythe continues to whine about her her lack of independence; how awful Marc is for being so attractive, wanting her, and being so incredibly possessive about it; how badly she doesn’t want to turn into her yes-sir, no-sir mother; and preening herself on how clever she’s always been to escape her family’s watch even as they’ve always managed to track her down. A constant she must suddenly rely upon when Faythe is kidnapped by the same men who raped, tortured, and murdered Sara.

Faythe does at least fight back…daddy should provide Faythe with lots more lessons in practical tactics in fighting. Ya just don’t take time out to translate when you should be takin’ ’em down. She also spends too much time thinking about victory dances when she should be ensuring her safety!

The Characters

Faythe Sanders is a werecat proud of her ability to do an end-run around her father in staying on at school after her initial graduation. She’s currently enrolled to achieve a master’s degree.

Marc Ramos is the heir to the Pride and Faythe’s ex-boyfriend. Taken in as a stray when he was 14-years-old, he has the drive, the ambition, and the decisiveness needed to lead; now he works as Sander’s head Enforcer for the Pride. Michael Sanders is the oldest brother, has a law degree, and is married to a full-human supermodel. He has his own home within Pride territory. Additional brothers include Ethan (Jace is his best friend) and Owen; they and Parker Pierce are enforcers. Technically, Ryan is another brother but he chose to go Rogue and no one is allowed to mention his name. Jace is another enforcer and he wants Faythe. Daddy (Greg Sanders) is an architect and the alpha for his Pride. Faythe’s mother is “a remnant of the June Cleaver days of intact families and repressed emotions”; a woman Faythe almost despises for her spinelessness, at least until Faythe has one of her rare fits of growing up!

Vic is Sara’s brother and one of Sander’s enforcers. His father, Umberto “Bert” Di Carlo, is a friend to Greg Sanders and the Alpha for a neighboring territory; Donna is the mother. His daughter, Sara, has been kidnapped just before her wedding to Kyle. Sean had been a contender for Sara.

Seventeen-year-old Abby Wade has also been kidnapped. Her parents, Rick (Faythe’s mom’s brother) and Melissa. Nikki Davidson is another target.

Dr. Danny Carver is a forensic pathologist working as an ME for the state who runs interference when strays or pride members show up on his slab. Miguel is a South American werecat plotting the kidnappings of all unmated tabbies. He prefers to sample terrified wares. One of his confederates is Eric, who wants Abby.

Sammi is/was Faythe’s roommate in college. Andrew was her human boyfriend.

The Cover and Title

The cover is quite colorful in its green background and the red and navy of Faythe’s cropped top and low-slung jeans with a fall of her dark brown hair over one shoulder.

The title is the topic for the Pride is definitely concerned about Strays.