Alpha by Rachel Vincent

Werecats book 6 I bought this book. I have been, since book 1, an avid and vocal supporter of Vincent’s work. I am sad to admit that I did not like Alpha. My two big beefs of the whole series have been the overwhelming anti-feminist=evil diatribe (which largely remained balanced with other things in previous […]

My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

ISBN: 9780373210046

I borrowed this book.

Soul Screamers #2

For a book all about death, demons and soul selling, My Soul to Save isn’t that dark of a book. The second book in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, it again follows Kaylee, a bean sidhe (banshee) by birth who is quite new to her powers. Still sensitive to her habits of screaming uncontrollably when someone is about to die, and how that leads to time in mental wards despite that it’s completely normal for her, Kaylee is now in bean sidhe lessons with her boyfriend’s mom (and 80 plus year old bean sidhe) Harmony. She’s also finally living with her dad, who has sacrificed a higher paying job in Ireland for an attempt to raise his daughter.

But no one approves when Kaylee discovers and decides to help a pop star (and ex-girlfriend of her boyfriend’s brother) who has sold her soul to hellions and only has four days before she dies (and her soul is sentenced to eternal torture for the hellions’ pleasure). While bean sidhe do have powers, and can walk into the demonic Netherworld, they aren’t exactly big guns there, their powers put them directly in opposition with most of the Netherworld creatures and Kaylee herself is so new at being a bean sidhe she still smells like the packaging.

My Soul to Save is off beat compared to the larger slice of urban fantasy YA books out there. No vampires, no teen family angst, no torn between multiple boys, popularity issues, etc. Kaylee has a pretty good head on her shoulders. She’s clever, sweet and smart. Her biggest failing is not using the knowledge of the adults around her and instead trying to do everything herself. While Vincent does imply that asking for help might not have gotten the plot resolved, one can’t help seeing how Kaylee does put herself in incredible danger, out of not just naivety, but at times a refusal to believe things are as dangerous as they are. To Kaylee this adventure is dangerous, but something she has to do. To the adults, and even the more knowledgeable teens, Kaylee’s actions are DANGEROUS. The difference leads to readers wondering if Kaylee just doesn’t understand, or isn’t listening about the danger she’s putting herself in.

In a way this is the opposite of many UF tales, where the tension and danger are part of the story drama. Kaylee ends up with a very white knight feel, noble, but mere steps away from being high -horsed (if she developed a chip on her shoulder, or had the thought of her actions making her better than the people around her) or naive to the point of stupidity (if she doesn’t learn anything from her very close brushes with death in this book). Overall there’s a feel of idealism to Kaylee and this series that will appeal to readers who might be tired of dark, nihilistic paranormal adventures, but there’s also real danger which will appeal to readers tired of convenient plots or fluffy paranormal worlds.

The Soul Screamers series is different from the popular styles today, so readers really should take advantage of Vincent’s free prequel novella on her website before deciding whether to continue the series or not. The books are good, but are poised to shift the focus of what’s popular in the YA genre rather than following or expanding current trends. As such readers stuck in the popularity mindset might not find the Soul Screamers as appealing at this point, but the writing and story are there and quite enjoyable.

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ISBN: 9780373210046 I borrowed this book. Soul Screamers #2 For a book all about death, demons and soul selling, My Soul to Save isn’t that dark of a book. The second book in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, it again follows Kaylee, a bean sidhe (banshee) by birth who is quite new to […]

Shift by Rachel Vincent

ISBN: 9780778327608

I bought this book.

Since this is the fifth book in the series readers really should be familiar with Faythe, Marc, Jace and the shifter world before picking this volume up. If you start here you should be able to pick things up, but the true levity of the situation is more complicated than this one book can explain. In fact, when compared to the rest of the series Shift is clearly a focusing book, eliminating some plot lines and focusing as the series comes to an end.

Faythe Sanders is a werecat, the prized female of her family, but abhorred by much of the rest of werecat society, which holds females to be used and manipulated for power (and to pop out babies to get more of the rare “tabbies”.) But in her family Faythe is an enforcer, bodyguard and extension of the alpha (her father)’s rule, and an unheard of position for the valuable females of the species. But living in a society that has fallen to such extremes such as women being kidnapped and bred over and over like in puppy mills, children being snatched to be raise to be broodmares instead of real people and women’s voices being overridden by any male in the area, has made Faythe unwilling to let herself of her cousins and extended family to continue being treated unequally. Her father has risked much to train her to be his own replacement, rather than forcing her to marry off. And for his own choices he’s now facing a full on werecat civil war against the clans that want things to remain as they are (with the power where it is as well).

However, Shift tones down the gender play and focuses on the family and pride dynamics. This book almost side steps from the direct plot arc to the werecat civil war and instead pits Faythe’s pride against a rookery of thunderbirds, avian shifters not seen in decades, who suddenly descend on the pride’s ranch out for blood.

Shift is partly side quest, part calm before the storm, which is saying something since most of the book is spent with the werecats fighting the onslaught of werebirds. But the focus is on untangling the depth of the situations Faythe finds herself in and in her learning how to work autonomously, making her own decisions. In essence, Faythe by this book is no longer working on defending her own right to be a valuable member of her pride rather than a valued possession of it, she’s learning the complications of being an alpha, no doubt preparing her to face the man out for her father’s blood.

Readers might find this the weakest book in the series, since most of the tension comes from an entirely new adversary and most of the drama comes from Faythe being torn between two men. It is still a fast, enjoyable read, pushing the series to a (hopefully) powerful conclusion. The growing up is hugely evident in this book, as is the focusing and accumulation feel to the overall plot line. Readers should savor every word and be ready for the final scene, Alpha, the sixth and last book due out this October (2010).

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ISBN: 9780778327608 I bought this book. Since this is the fifth book in the series readers really should be familiar with Faythe, Marc, Jace and the shifter world before picking this volume up. If you start here you should be able to pick things up, but the true levity of the situation is more complicated […]

Prey by Rachel Vincent

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Paperback: 9780778326816, $7.99 With her life no longer at the whims of the werecat alphas, Faythe Saunders, the first female enforcer, and if things work out the first female Alpha in North America, thinks she’ll be able to focus on helping her father face a political battle that started (last book) with his top enforcer […]

Pride by Rachel Vincent

ISBN: 978-0-7783-2649-6, $6.99 Pride is the third book in Rachel Vincent’s werecat series and like the ones before it, it begins in the middle of a mess and ends with the characters looking forward to the next challenge. Faythe Saunders is on trial for accidentally infecting her ex-boyfriend and being forced to kill him in […]

Rogue by Rachel Vincent

This is Vincent’s second book starring Faythe Saunders, one of the only female werecats in the U.S. Faythe is training to be an enforcer for her Pride. After cleaning up the discarded body of a stray, Faythe and her boyfriend Marc return to the Pride’s ranch to discover the corpse was not one of a […]

Stray by Rachel Vincent

Faythe is a sassy werecat searching for freedom in an environment where females of the species are rare and desirable. She’s in college, trying to live a normal life when she is attacked by a stray werecat on campus… Full review at MonsterLibrarian.com