Rachel Vincent is one of the more recognized names in the urban fantasy community, although so far she had only one book in print, two right now but that is beside the point. The reason I give for her somewhat immediate plunge to stardom and bestseller lists lie on her idea to use big black cats instead of wolves as shapeshifters in her world. With one of the few strong heroines, who actually have coverage for their badass behavior, it was no wonder that Rachel Vincent has come and plans to stay.
“Rogue” follows the life of Faythe Sanders after she has returned to her Pride in Texas. Her stay is involuntary, being forced by her father to serve her Pride for three years before she could earn her freedom. However she does feel the perks of it working as the only female enforcer ever, monitoring the borders and getting rid off stray cats, who have no business in her Pride’s territory. Everything starts off blissfully enough. Faythe is content with her life and relationship with Marc, her long time lover, but when a series of murdered tom cats start appearing out of nowhere every second matters and peace is a very abstract and far away concept. Parallel to this unnerving commotion in the werecat community, humanity takes notice of a strand of missing stripers. The disappearances overlap with the locations the dead toms were found and a frightening pattern is established. There are two criminals on the loose and one is after the other.
[Due to some spoiler alert, I would try to convey as less as possible from the plot, but whatever is revealed I urge for people, who would like to enjoy these discoveries of their own to skip as much as possible.]
Responsible for the death of the werecats appears to be a mysterious tabby, which elevates the situation at hand to a new level of complicated. Tabbies aka female werecats are a rarity among werecats and thus are handled as if made of glass. Having a tabby committing several capital crimes sets a dilemma, which only heightens the excitement of reading the novel. As far as the stripper kidnapper goes there are some unsettling revelations, which date pack to the first novel from the series “Stray”. Old villains resurface with a brand new weapon in the face of Andrew, Faythe’s human boyfriend.
This novel is a success in pretty much every way imaginable. I was curious to know what will Faythe get herself into, because after “Stray” there wasn’t much plot to hold on to. Most paranormal series have characters with a job, which can act as a plot finder. Faythe has still to finish college. Others use an arch villain in a grand good vs. evil battle; “Stray” ended quite definite although that was not entirely the case. In using the thinned tolerance towards about territory, the controversial regarding of female werecats and judicial system of the Pride Council Rachel Vincent draws the plot. Solely using world building as to move characters and tell new stories has yet to occur often.
Small details barely mentioned in “Stray” and “Rogue” sew together both books tightly. Both stories melt together in one rounded experience for Faythe. The wholeness and interconnection of what was and what is happening in both titles contribute to the pleasurable experience of reading Rachel Vincent. The three month silence period from Luiz, villain one from book one, happens to be the period to nurture Andrew through scratch-fever. This same Andrew we left with a cold in the first book. I rediscovered how such buried bits and pieces spring back to life to kick my head. This I call the Why-the-heck-didn’t-I-think-of-that effect, where the answers lay in front of you and yet you stomp through. In this regard Miss Vincent has utilized techniques, which would fit perfectly in a mystery novel ala Agatha Christie.
The prose involved is certainly another aspect I enjoy greatly as Rachel knows how to write a fighting scene and is the mistress to explain how pain can feel, spread and disable the body of its functions. Hand to hand combat hasn’t been depicted as clearly as in the Rachel Vincent novels and it’s diverse and entertaining at the same time. This I think is hard to pull off, since I have had my share of writing some fighting scenes and you have to admire the perfectionism in getting everything right to the very last comma. Plus I think the balance between what goes inside the character’s head and what he is doing or enduring is equally hard to pull, but effortlessly demonstrated.
However I could have been more satisfied, if Faythe hadn’t been a tad too stubborn in her relationship with Marc. I like Faythe’s hard character usually, because it’s totally explained. Living with almost only men, tends to give you a testosterone rush, which explains Faythe being a tomboy. She is rough around the edges and it feels natural, a quality most authors can’t quite deliver to their heroines and urban fantasy can’t suffer more. But, there is that word, when it came to make and making a commitment, her love and feelings would have prompted her to take the risk, which would make her character fuller instead of going in a rut about no strings attached. I perfectly understand that Rachel needs some base for further material on their relationship for the next installments, so the newly created rift is like a gold mine. My opinion on the matter would be to take the step further and see how she deals with the attached strings. Later when disaster strikes and a new rift opens, I would like to see the new problems, which in my opinion would be an even bigger gold mine. Of course this is just a minor glitch, which shouldn’t spoil “Rogue” too much.
And I want to synchronize this post with the official giveaway of “Rogue” by Rachel Vincent. I know I won this off in a giveaway and it doesn’t seem as the most moral thing ever, but I have almost to none space at home to herd all my books. Besides the copy is almost new, spend in my hands only three days, so I hope you won’t lynch and crucify me. I bet all you have read used books *points at the library*.
So let’s start the party with some party rules and they do not involve not eating snacks on the good couch.
1) You can either comment here on this post or write me a nice e-mail at likenion(at)gmail(dot)com with subject title “Giveaway – Rogue”.
2) You have only one entry per person and people schizophrenia is no excuse to enter more time. My head is crowded too most of the time, but I resist the temptation.
3) This time I am expanding the period for entering till August the 31th. Yes, a whole month to enter. I am doing this mainly because I want to see how many different people will read this and because I love to make numbered lists.
4) Mark the end date on your calendar and then dash to send me your mailing address, if you win, because if you snooze you loose and Faythe will kick ass in somebody else’s hands.