From the back book cover:
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 whomever--I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays--'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them--
Awkwardly enough, and has happened with most of the new series I've discovered, the only books I could actually see in person with my very own eyes have been the later books in the series, never number one. I've come to accept this as the quirk of my life. At least it makes things interesting, right?
While waiting and wishing for Stray to show its little whiskers to me (because, for once, I was bound and determined to start at the beginning), I stumbled upon Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series. Or, more accurately, the first in the series. A fast read (the good kind, with an easy flow that kept me turning the pages not out of automated motions, but the need to read more....NOW! kind of way) that I found myself truly enjoying the story, and it only made me want Stray even more.
Which, could be a double edged sword.
I like to call it the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
The Good...It's an interesting and fresh take on the shift shaping phenomenon. Don't get me wrong, I loves me some wolf growlin', but kitties are different. And sometimes, different is a good thing, especially when the story doesn't feel like you've read it over...and over...and over. A pride of kitties (not sure if I should use cats here...plus I like kitties) makes dynamics interesting. The senses used by the werecats made the world seem richer. Plus, the back story of the Pride and Faythe's place was told in an easy way, revealed bit by bit through emotions rather than the author flat out telling the reader. And the toms in the Pride...let's just say, meow.
Now for the Bad. (Which, I must start with a disclaimer. For me, Bad isn't necessarily BAD. It's kind of a grumbly thing.) It took me a few times meetings the toms of the Pride to keep them separate from one another. The pace was still there, but in an entirely different way. And it entirely relates to...the Ugly.
The Ugly...I really started out liking Faythe. Independent, strong...and then, she seemed to just kind of deflate in my eyes. I wanted to shake her, make her understand she didn't have to accept the ego inflated macho attitudes of all those toms around her. Yes, I am a little old fashioned. I like the idea of being protected and treasured. But don't treat me like I'm helpless or have no choices. It makes me want to kick you. (But, I'm also a lover, not a fighter.) So, I wanted Faythe to kick...someone, anything. And maybe love on something.
Now, here's the twist. I stuck with it for two reasons. One, I was invested and hoped our heroine wasn't as silly as I hoped, and two, the word on this series is just that good. Confronted with the attitudes of the Pride and how absolutely ludicrous I kept finding the whole thing, I yelled. A bunch. And I'm glad I did. While not entirely satisfied with Faythe's decisions or the attitude of the other kitties around her, I learned a little about the Pride in the same way she did. (I grew up in an over bearing Italian family...and my toms were my uncles, all fierce, over protective and playful. And it wasn't until I entirely understood that I truly had each and every one of them twisted around my little finger that I truly appreciated those big lugs. So, in some ways, I understood the Pride and their treatment of Faythe all too well. But I still wanted to yell at her. She needed a little more twisting around her finger happening.)
The hardest part of all of this, of course, is that the end barely pulled this together for me. What is my final thought? Rachel Vincent makes me want to check out the werecats of Faythe's Pride to make sure they behave themselves. (Or how some of them don't...)
I may still yell at them, however.