This is my second post for my new monthly blog on book series and what makes them so special. Last month, Igave my views on Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, and this month’s series up for scrutiny is:
SHIFTERS by RACHEL VINCENT
***WARNING: Mild spoilers***
This one grew on me the more I read. Whilst I did kind of enjoy Stray, I did find the pace a little slow for my liking and the story to be somewhat over-told, and found myself wishing that Rachel Vincent would trust the reader to remember stuff instead of constantly feeling the need to remind them. However, I found the story revolving around shifter panthers to be a refreshing read after so many commonly done supernatural creatures, and enjoyed learning the setup of the world of the MC and the introduction to everyone important in her life.
As the only daughter of the Pride Alpha, she is somewhat coveted—not only by members of their own Pride, and certainly not for her charm but for her breeding potential. I say the last comment, because Faythe Sanders is not your regular tabby. She doesn’t want to just settle down and knock out kittens for all she’s worth. She wants independence, a right to a voice, and she also wants to be a bigger representative of her father’s Pride than as a procreational tool who is kept locked indoors for her own protection. And whilst I champion her reasoning and resolution, it also played a part in why she was a little difficult to connect with. Because she definitely had the wrong size boots on, which resulted in her making quite a lot of mistakes. In book one, she doesn’t tend to show a lot of remorse for said mistakes. She seems to prefer the route to Self Pity. Throughout the series, though, the reader follows the (albeit slow) shift in character as her attitude changes. She gets tangled up in a love triangle which leaves her confused and frustrated (it did me, too, because I was pretty much in love with both guys and totally got her predicament). She remains with her Pride after book one, where she is given more responsibility, treated with the respect she hoped for, and given a little more freedom to be who she wants to be (or thinks she wants to be). But in the background, her father is priming her into Alpha material, which is what the final book—aptly named Alpha—brings us toward. The first book would certainly work as a stand-alone—which you find a lot when it comes to series’ as publishers won’t take the risk until they know you have something that will sell—but each of the successive books leave you in no doubt that there is more to come and worth reading on for. Which is possibly why I kept going until I’d hit the very end.
The series in order:
Stray. Slowly paced, but not a bad read.
Rogue. The pace was a little better. The storyline was much better. Certain parts of this one made me mad, because I didn’t want the story to go that way—which meant this was the first spot where I began connecting with the MC because it was her all the bad stuff—that I didn’t want to happen—was happening to.
Pride. Direct quotes from my review: ‘THIS is the book where Rachel Vincent finally gets it together. There’s no back story slowing the opening pace. There’s no mamby-pambying about. We’re taken straight to the heart of the matter and one mishap follows another in a roller coaster of excitement and action … This is the book that 100% had me sold and where I failed to wonder if I should read on–I now have to read on.’
Prey. This one was an emotional roller coaster. I blarted. And it takes a lot to make me blart. Other notes: this is also the book where I fell in love with Jace. He’s just so adorably cute, and I wanted to scoop the darling up and kiss him better. And let’s not forget the humdinger of an ending that leaves you scrabbling for the next book because you sit there in a ‘holy sh*t’ kind of fashion just staring at the page.
Shift. I’ll admit, I found myself a little disappointed in the opening, simply because the clanger dropped at the end of Prey isn’t even mentioned, but with flying foe, and the s**t hitting the fan when a secret is exposed, I was pretty much entertained. Besides the reader comes to understand just how much resolution will be needed in the final book for the personal issues Faythe is dealing with—as well as Pride politics that are threatening the lives of herself and those she cares about. At this point? I worried the series couldn’t possibly end on a good note.
Alpha. You reach this one? this is where you thank the lucky stars that you persevered. This is the one where you understand just how awesome this series truly is, just how much effort Vincent has put into her character development, where Faythe truly becomes the woman she needs to be to fulfil what can only be described as her destiny. Relationships are formed, moulded, rekindled, and attitudes have no choice but to shift in order for those to be pulled off. I LOVED this book. 100%. Alpha had me by the short and curlies and I’d become so emotionally invested in the characters that I talked to my friend on our shopping trips along the lines of ‘OMG, what should she do? I don’t know what she can do for the best? If she does X, this’ll happen. If she does Y, that’ll happen. And if she does Z, I’ll be left blarting like a baby.’
So, yeah, if you’re struggling with Stray then pleeeeeease keep going, because this series really does get better and better.
If you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on each individual book and seeing how my mind has been changed as I’ve worked my way through the series, each book link will take you directly to my (Goodreads) reviews.
Hopefully, I haven’t given too many spoilers—I have a personal hate for those blasted leaks—but I hope my waffling has been in some way helpful to you or will help you decide whether or not this sounds like a series you might consider reading.
My rating for this series:
Maybe you’ve read it already, have it on your TBR pile, or have heard lots about it but don’t know if it’s for you. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts.