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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic First Book
I love Kelley Armstrong's books, Bitten, Stolen and Broken in particular, so it would be silly of me to not mention the similarities between Bitten and Stray. Both focus on strong females, rare in male dominant worlds, both away from their pack/pride and unwilling to return. Both have a man back at home who would do anything for them and both are called back to because of...
Published on 22 May 2009 by Claire Mill

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Faythe Sanders" series book 1
Faythe Sanders' five years of freedom from her over protective family is about to end. A rare female werecat, Faythe is all too aware that she will be brought back kicking and screaming to her Pride if necessary once it is learned a Stray (a turned werecat rather than a born shapeshifter) is kidnapping tabbies.

Faythe is soon quickly drawn back into Pride life...
Published on 15 Aug 2010 by Book Addict


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic First Book, 22 May 2009
By 
Claire Mill "Cem" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Stray (MIRA) (Paperback)
I love Kelley Armstrong's books, Bitten, Stolen and Broken in particular, so it would be silly of me to not mention the similarities between Bitten and Stray. Both focus on strong females, rare in male dominant worlds, both away from their pack/pride and unwilling to return. Both have a man back at home who would do anything for them and both are called back to because of a crisis. For me, the similarities end there.

Faythe is 23, a college student, and determined not to be the baby making machine every other US Pride believes she should be. She's fighting for independence with no real understanding of just how much is at stake. Faythe is bratty, can be annoying at times, and she can be very naive as well. She tends to rush headlong in to things without thinking of the concequenses, but her heart is in the right place. She'd do anything for those she loves and shes willing to try.

The plot moves at a good pace, and flows really nicely. There is a lot of action and certain twists I really didn't see coming. I love Faythe's attitude because she also shows her ability to learn and grow, something you see much more clearly in the following books. The writing here is good and solid, and it's improved with every book so far. There are some really great one-liners that help keep the book from being too dark, but the dark stuff isn't shied away from. A really solid debut and it only gets better. 4.5 stars.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling Debut, 24 July 2007
This review is from: Stray (Mass Market Paperback)
I'd been awaiting this novel for months. I had my local bookstore import it from the U.S., even though it cost me $20.50. ($1 Aussie is circa 80c American, and the U.S. RRP is $6.99 - you do the maths.) STRAY is 618 pages, so I definitely got a lot of bang for my buck. I'd read about shape-shifters before, but not werecats. This is a society where females are rare, and thus highly valued. But Faythe Sanders needed distance from her Pride, and so attended university for five years. But when she's attacked by a stray (a bitten werecat with no Pride), and her fellow tabbies around the country go missing, Faythe is dragged back to her Pride. Pissed off with her all-hours watch, she's overdue for some time to herself, but when she finally gets it, it's at a dangerous price. Without all her guards, it's up to Faythe to save herself and her fellow tabbies. The second half of the novel is worth the cover price alone. Greg Sanders is the most admirable character by far: parenthood and team-leading is difficult enough without all the werecats, ferocious tempers and territorial disputes he has to deal with. Add all that to keeping his own emotions at bay, and he's overqualified for the Father of the Year award. Who needs Hogwarts when you can have the Pride? The release of ROGUE (and any other works by this fabulous author) can't come soon enough.
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stray - Rachel Vincent, 12 Jun 2007
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This review is from: Stray (Mass Market Paperback)
I feel like I've been waiting forever to read this book. Since I stumbled across Rachel Vincent's blog last summer, I've been checking Amazon frantically for "Stray" to become available. It was well worth the wait. As a fan of all things shape-shifter and were-related, I found this an exciting and gripping read.

Faythe Sanders is trying hard to be a regular American grad-student. That's not easy to do when you're really one of the last eight breeding female werecats in the country. And when a stray werecat attacks her on campus, she's pulled back home by her overprotective family for her own safety. It seems that she's not the first to be attacked - two of her fellow tabbies have gone missing as well.

In the high-energy story that follows, Faythe is determined to prove herself capable of the independence she so desperately craves. Clashing with parents, her brothers and her ex-boyfriend Marc, she ultimately makes a fatal error in judgement that lands her in the hands of the stray. Can she escape, save her fellow tabbies and prove herself worth more than just marriage and kittens?

Rachel Vincent has a lush, evocative voice that perfectly captures Faythe's character and world. The atmosphere and mood throughout the book is richly described. I was swept along, unable to put the book down because I became so absorbed in Faythe's journey and experience. The family structure of her Pride is at once familiar and alien, and her relationships with her loved ones are well-portrayed and utterly believable.

Although Faythe does prove herself to be capable and kick-ass, she's far from a flawless character and this serves to make her seem very real. She does make mistakes, she can be unlikeable (though never unsympathetic) and I was left with the feeling that I'd like to be friends with her. She'd be a lot of fun to hang out with. I'm now frantically checking Amazon for "Rogue," the second book in this series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Faythe Sanders" series book 1, 15 Aug 2010
By 
Book Addict - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stray (MIRA) (Paperback)
Faythe Sanders' five years of freedom from her over protective family is about to end. A rare female werecat, Faythe is all too aware that she will be brought back kicking and screaming to her Pride if necessary once it is learned a Stray (a turned werecat rather than a born shapeshifter) is kidnapping tabbies.

Faythe is soon quickly drawn back into Pride life and her attraction to Marc; a Stray she left at the altar when she ran away five years before, is a strong as ever. Yet danger threatens Faythe and not even Marc or her father's other enforcers can help her when she is foolishly caught by a South American jungle cat.

This book has everything I like in a paranormal romance, plenty of action, some hot romance and a strong paranormal theme. Yet I was ultimately disappointed and left with no intention of continuing on with this series. This is predominantly due to Faythe's character, which I found increasingly annoying the more I read. At the age of 23 she is still acting like a moody, wilful teenage who wants to test the boundaries set around her for her own protection, which leads to not only her own kidnapping, but the injury or death of other characters. Poor Faythe, all beaten up with guilt over the events that surround her, but HELLO, if she'd just acted sensibly in the first place she could have saved herself a lot of heartache. Faythe is also supposed to be a strong, independent character, and disregarding a couple of fight scenes when she is imprisoned, she actually comes across as somewhat cowardly (always running from her responsibilities) and when something blood thirsty occurs, she's falling into the arms of Marc or a brother crying her eyes out. Err she's a meat eater in her cat form and certainly enjoys the hunt, so why is she overly squeamish as a human? Don't even get me started on her relationship with Marc. She's got a human boyfriend, but quickly brushes him aside to flirt with another werecat Jace or fall into bed with Marc, leaving me feeling she's not only stupid and unready to take responsibility for her actions, she's also fickle and lacks any sense of loyalty to those that think they are important to her. All I can say is that Marc could have done much better if female werecats weren't so rare. Phew that was a bit of a rant, but you may have guessed by now that Faythe is by far one of the poorest leading ladies I have come across, which thoroughly tarnished my reading experience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars immature lead character ruins book, 21 Oct 2009
By 
Anya D. (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stray (MIRA) (Paperback)
I bought this book after deliberating over it for about a year, a big mistake! An even bigger mistake is that I bought the next two in the series at the same time!!!
Rachel Vincent has taken the basic (no, actually the detailed) storyline of the brilliant 'Bitten' by Kelley Armstrong and totally runied it.
Not only that but the female lead of Faythe is one of the most irritating heroines that I have ever come across, realistically she should be aged about 14! Everything is supposed to show how hip and cool Faythe is and how hot she is, all the men want her - she is annoying, self-centred and seems to speak like she was a spoilt teenager not a woman in her twenties.
For me the worst part/most unrealistic of the story is when a character has been gang-raped and escapes and then within hours breezes to the shopping mall to buy clothes for Faythe????
****AN ADDITIONAL COMMENT AFTER READING MORE BOOKS IN THE SERIES - stick with it as the books do get better and Faythe does grow up. Would give the series as a whole 3.5 stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining way to pass a few hours, 27 May 2008
This review is from: Stray (Mass Market Paperback)
When this book was recommended to me by amazon I was initially reluctant to read it. I had the distinct impression that it was just going to be a poor Kelley Armstrong rip off featuring cats instead of wolves. I'm not exactly fond of cats and my opinion of werekittys has been badly tainted by Laurell K Hamiltons drivel so I had pretty low expectations for this book.

I was actually pleasantly surprised. It was very similar to Bitten and Stolen but not a totally shameless rip off. The plot in a nutshell - Faythe (one of only a handfull of female werecats) is summoned home from college by her family after another female werecat is abducted. Conflict with her (understandably) protective parents, brothers and the ex boyfriend she left behind ensues. Through her own stupidity Faythe then manages to get herself kidnapped.

Despite some irritations that I had with the immaturity of the main character the book was pretty well written and it moved at a good pace. The action kept developing and I kept reading. I've given this 4 stars - amazon's rating description has four stars meaning I liked it, which I did. I'll probably be buying more from this author but I hope the plot of her next book will be more original than that of this one as I think this writer show a lot of potential.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It got better..., 8 Sep 2007
By 
This review is from: Stray (Mass Market Paperback)
Like others I found that the start of this book 'Stray' had much in common with Kelly Armstrong's Bitten; Females striking out on their own against pack advice; and male boy-friends not born pack and being usurped by human boyfriends in the new life of women they felt were theirs; plus it had the whole pack non pack members going on too. I have to admit that this did not, in my opinion, work in the favour of the author or characters initially. Not because I have a problem with the premise of Armstrong's world becoming the norm - just that initially the characters of Vincent's world were stilted and immature both female and male. Thankfully, once the real action stared in the second half of the book one could stop comparing the worlds and could become embroiled in the action and a rather good story. Strangely it was the partially drawn characters that will have me looking out for the second in the series rather than the main protagonists ... however, this seems like a series with possibilities.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittten with Cats, 22 July 2009
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This review is from: Stray (MIRA) (Paperback)
I will begin by dividing this review into three sections - the good, the bad, and the ugly. With a bonus section too.

The Good -
Werecats. How often do you come across those. The werecat politics is particulary interesting to learn about, it's like dipping into a different world.
It was rather amusing. Made me laugh out loud a few times.
Is a certifiable page-turner. I couldn't put it down.
It contains many different and likeable characters with believable dynamic relationships.
Gripping storyline.
Villianous villains, along with some villains who somehow deserve sympathy, too.
Satisfying beginning, middle, and end.

The Bad -
For a shapeshifting novel, not nearly enough time was spent shapeshifting. The cover states `full time werecat' despite the contents only containing roughly three instances of shifting amongst 600 + pages of talk. Too much talking about werecats, not enough being one.
Why does every single werecat who is not related to Faythe want to sleep with her?! She's as mature as a peanut. I wouldn't be surprised if her brothers started sniffing around her next.
The book is incredibly trendy/preppy/whatever your definition of `trying too hard' is. Every second page, there is a phrase along the lines of `I popped open a chilled can of soda' and a description of the trendy clothes they are wearing and the casual ways they sit on sofas and the expensive computer games they play. It's horribly superficial. It's a little like an escapist utopia (I can eat and drink crap nonstop yet still maintain a buff physique and wear cool stuff every day and I'm rich and surrounded by male models) but, utopias used to include some kind of relevent hidden societal commentary. This one, does not. Unless you consider `Gratuitous self-indulgence' to be meaningful.
Faythe is like a feminist who tries very hard but sadly only manages to provide us with many reasons as to why women should be seen and not heard. She constantly moans about being treated like a child, but somehow overlooks the fact that despite being grown she refers to her father as `Daddy' and runs away from home rather than deal with her problems. She needs to learn to keep her mouth shut. `Stray' quotes "With a mouth like mine, who needs enemies?" a truer word was never spoken. She could avoid all her troubles if she just stopped talking for one moment and thought about things for a second.

The Bad -
Marc. Marc is as attractive as a wasting disease. Marc is clearly meant to be a repeat of Kelley Armstrong's `Clay' (unsociable, gruff, overly possessive but somehow loveable) but he fails. Dramatically. Marc has temper tantrums when he doesn't get his girl. Not only this, but he scent-marks her. Oo, attractive. I'm weak at the knees. And if I hear one more description of `the raw lust in his eyes, his rippling abs, his gold-flecked eyes' I am going to set something on fire. Marc is aggressive, territorial, possessive, childish, dumb, sarcastic, annoying, and a thorough uncivilised Neanderthal brute. He only has such a high status amongst the Pride because he's got muscles, is predictable, and ain't too bright (therefore easily manipulated by the ones in charge). I keep hoping he will die. And, despite the fact that I am an English Literature major who has read more books than she has cells in her body, Marc is the one single literary character who I hate the most. This is saying something.
Almost as bad as Marc are the similes. They're...awful. Favourites include -

'The doctor spent more time around dead bodies than a dog does licking itself.'

..this came out in the middle of otherwise serious prose and made me almost fall on my behind in disbelief. Which, by the way, is something that Fayth literally does every single time she is surprised. Oy..

Also, in order to explain the complex difference between the innate scent of a hereditary werecat and an infected werecat, Faythe states -

'It was like getting a mouthful of Pepsi when you're used to Coke.'

..why do they have any teeth left? All they do is sit around drinking pop!!

Finally

`I ran after Marc while my soul broke in two.'

Ouch. For me to read, not you to experience.

The Painful -
The fact that my friend picked this book up and idly flicked through it to discover that Vincent refers to male werecats as `toms' and female werecats as `tabbies' has led to her mercilessly teasing me for reading a book about kittens.

This is utterly undeniably heavily influenced by Kelley Armstrong's `Bitten', as many reviewers have already pointed out. Fortunately it manages to create enough unique material and maintain its own style enough to stand alone, even though it would take half an hour to list all the similiarities between the two. To simplify,

Mutt = Stray
Clay = Marc
Elena = Faythe
Pack = Pride
Change = Shift
Only female werewolf = Almost only female werecat
Youth and metabolism = Youth and metabolism
Alpha = Alpha
Territory = Territory
Cage = Cage
Etc etc

Despite my scathing review above, I love this book and I recommend it. Hence five stars. Really, I just like complaining about things. Vincent does improve as an author as her books progress. I adored her most recent works. Give her some time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 14 Nov 2012
This review is from: Stray (MIRA) (Paperback)
This is a great series of books and Stray in particular has got to be one of my favourites of the series as it introduced me into the difficult world of the werecats. Like many of the other reviews I have to mention how similar these books are to Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. I have to say I read those books before this series so I can't help but detect the similar characters and plot lines. Unlike the Otherworld series however, this series sticks to mainly werecats and doesn't concentrate much on other races apart from Thunderbirds and Bruins towards the end of the series. I have a slight dislike to the main character Faythe as she is very selfish and has a disregard for the other characters feelings, especially Marc who I'm quite surprised didn't leave her after all the trouble she causes, and the way the book is written seems to say that her way of thinking is right which annoys me a little bit. Overall the whole series is still great despite it's annoying main character and is definitely worth reading, I would say especially if you are a Kelley Armstrong fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat dissapointing. Good writing, but characters and plot lacking., 11 May 2012
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This review is from: Stray (MIRA) (Kindle Edition)
I liked this book. It is well written and professionally edited. But I found the characters and plot to be weak(Dissapointing since it is advertise as having a high-octane plot). The main character had promise but she never came into her own. I enjoyed some of the 'negotiation' between her and her father, but the rest of the action/mystery/plot/romance was really weak.

There are a few intrinsic problems.

1. The main character is weak and inspiring. She has no talent or abilities, she acts hard but never backs it up.

2. The action is always anticlimactic. Fighting happens but there is a lot of struggling and not much damage. The fighting is never decisive.

3. The world is boring. The pride of werecats are more like the mob, except there aren't many of them. There is no other supernatural anything, apart from said wercats(who act like the mob, and generally dont have superpowers or transform).

4. The romance is very, very unconvincing. The man, the love interest is a real ass and after she decides firmly that she doesn't want him he goes back to him repeatedly. It was a betrayal, I couldn't believe she went back to him, except he never had any positive aspects apart from being a grumpy, violent ass who beat up other characters and growled a lot.

5. The plot just wasn't there. It was all about a kidnapping attempt, the bad guys were unconvincing, the good guys were a bit pathetic and the 'plan' the the main character launched was weak.

6. The bad guy is always dropping back into Spanish dramatically. 'Watch yourself, mi amor'. It gets irritating after a while, because every sentence he utters contains some Spanish. I speak Spanish, but that makes it no less annoying.

In summary, the writing is good/okay, the book had me interested to start with but it just didn't progress, and I see no real future in this world. The main character is female, incredibly valuable and excessively vulnerable. Nothing that happens seems to make her less vulnerable. The plot was mediocre at best. Just be warned, this book is okay, and might be worth four stars, maybe. Read this at the risk of being disappointing towards the end. I skipped the last 20-25 pages because I lost interest. I wanted to care, but I just couldn't.
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Stray by Rachel Vincent (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Jun 2007)
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