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Friday, March 12, 2010

'Shift' Werecats #5 by Rachel VINCENT


From the BLURB:

Being the first female werecat enforcer isn't easy. Scars accumulate, but I'm stronger in so many ways.

As for my personal life? It's complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother's death and my father's impeachment, it's all I can do to prevent more blood from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.

With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option…

‘Shift’ is the fifth book in Rachel Vincent’s ‘Werecats’ series.

Book #4, ‘Prey’, left fans with one hell of a cliff hanger. Psychotic Werecat councilman, Calvin Malone, murdered Faythe Sander’s youngest brother, Ethan, and the entire South Central Pride was on the precipice of Civil War.
Not only that, but Faythe and fellow enforcer Jace Malone caved into their feelings for one another and had sex after drowning their sorrows in tequila.
At the end of ‘Prey’ the Werecats were going to Civil War, and Faythe was grappling with her newfound romantic feelings for Jace, while heartsick at having to confess her adultery to her Werecat mate, Marc.

This is where ‘Shift’ picks up. Faythe’s father and Werecat leader, Greg Sanders, is preparing his troops for an attack on Calvin Malone. Marc’s previous banishment is void in the face of civil outbreak, and he is back living on the Sanders property, which makes things awkward for Faythe when she’s trying to quell Jace’s heated stares and insistence that they confess their indiscretion to Marc.

Right in the middle of all this chaos the littlest Werecat, Kaci, is nearly abducted by a flight of thunderbirds. Thunderbirds are Werebirds. Falcons, eagles and vultures – the last Werecat sighting of a thunderbird was nearly a decade ago, and their reappearance and attempted kidnapping spells doom for the Werecats.

This is a real helter-skelter plot. Right from the first page the storyline is intense and the pressure only increases. The Civil War looms, thunderbirds are picking off Werecats one by one for no apparent reason, and Faythe may have to choose between the two men she loves… WOAH!

First off, the thunderbirds plot is amazing. Rachel Vincent is absolutely in her writing element with the action scenes involving the swooping, clawing thunderbirds. I had goose bumps when reading all those combat scenes - absolutely enthralling and hair-raising. I especially liked the thunderbirds plot because Vincent did such an amazing job of describing and detailing this new ‘Were’ society.

I rolled my eyes. “We’re not going to kill you.”
“Right. You’re going to fix me up and toss me out the window with a Popsicle stick taped to one wing.” He shrugged awkwardly with the shoulder of his good arm, leaning against the cinder-block wall for support. “I’ve seen this episode. This is the one where Sylvester eats Tweety.”

Secondly, the Civil War plot is shaping up to be a doozy for the 6th (and final) Werecat book. In ‘Shift’, Vincent adds layer upon layer of political intrigue and power plays – it is a beautiful set-up for the 6th book and a fantastic cliff hanger at the end of ‘Shift’.

Lastly, the emotional stakes are higher than ever for Faythe Sanders. I’m still not much of a Faythe fan, because it still sticks in my craw that before she became an enforcer and accepted her role as Alpha-in-training, she was a spoilt little brat. Books 1 to 3 had me gritting my teeth at all of Faythe’s selfish and stupid actions. But I started to warm to her in ‘Prey’ and even more so in ‘Shift’.

Faythe’s made a *LOT* of stupid mistakes. Not least of which is cheating on Marc by sleeping with Jace in ‘Prey’. Unfortunately for Faythe, she attracts orphan men who find their lives revolving around her and her love. Jace is estranged from his family, since his step-dad is Calvin Malone. Marc is a stray whose family were brutally murdered, after which he was adopted by Faythe’s family. In ‘Shift’ it becomes brutally apparent that in choosing one of these men, Faythe will be banishing the other. Jace and Marc are both Alpha males, and they will not be able to live together in harmony if one of them is Faythe’s mate. Unfortunately neither man has any family beyond the Sanders, and Faythe’s choice will weigh heavy on their futures.

I know Faythe has cooked up quite a mess for herself, and these two men. But where I once would have been very harsh in my judgement of her, in ‘Shift’ I found myself just sad for her and her future decisions. She is in such a predicament, and no choice is going to be easy or without consequence. Faythe’s emotional turmoil is so gut-wrenching that I had to put aside my previous prejudice and just sympathize with her.

Vincent does a good job of gaining reader’s empathy for Faythe by making her love triangle a real conundrum. Jace and Marc are both great guys. It’s not a clear-cut case of HEA, because I could easily see Faythe choosing either guy. I would be happy for Faythe to end up with either of them, but I am leaning a little towards Marc - mostly because Faythe has put him through the ringer in the past. First, she left him at the altar and vanished for 5 years with no communication. Then in ‘Prey’ when Marc is banished and kidnapped, Faythe cheats on him. And to top it all off, if Faythe chooses Jace over Marc, Marc (being a stray) will have the hardest time finding a new Pride and may even have to rejoin other strays. I think Faythe has put him through enough, choosing Jace would be just too much heartache for one guy.

But on the other hand, Jace is a viable love interest in ‘Shift’. Where he was previously cocky and flirtatious towards Faythe, in ‘Shift’ he shows his serious side and reveals just how much Faythe means to him;

“Hell, Faythe, I’m pretty sure that never touching you again would hurt worse than the nastiest death Calvin could think up for me.”

I just don’t know!
I, like everyone else, will be chewing my nails in the lead-up to October 1st and the release of 6th and final book, ‘Alpha’. I don’t want the series to end, but at the same time I *need* to know what happens!



  1. Danielle,

    Great review. I have no idea who Faythe should choose - sometimes I feel like she doesn't really deserve either Jace or Marc. :) She has shown in the past that she is selfish - she left Marc and went off to college. She slept with Jace knowing he is in love with her - and she was supposed to be in love with Marc.

    I think because the ratio of tabbies to toms is what it is - the toms are willing to put up with a lot - and Faythe takes advantage of that. It would serve her right if both Jace and Marc decide to walk away....but they won't.


  2. Awesome review!!! I LOVED this book! Vincent is such a great writer...

    Im with you I DONT KNOW who she should choose ARGH!!! i so agree with you that Marc has been through hell and deserves it for it... but Jace is pretty amazing... LOL hell!

    its hard for us, can you imagine for Faythe hehe =)))

  3. I'm so glad you decided to go back and revisit this series. This book really was great. I think Faythe is going to choose Marc and Jase is going to take over Malone's pack. But, Ms. Vincent may have a surprise or two up her sleeve...we'll just have to wait and see!

  4. It was a great book wasn't it? I loved it. I find myself leaning toward Jace but I can't really explain why. *sigh* It hurts just thinking about it.

  5. Michelle G - I know *exactly* what you mean! I think Marc and Jace just have to deal with her because there are so few tabbies. But if that wasn't the case, I don't think either of them would stand to be jerked around so much.
    And I do hope that Vincent doesn't take the easy way out and just kill one of them off. I really want to read Faythe's battle and her indecision... and finally, a choice. I really, really want that from 'Alpha'. Plus, I don't want to see Marc or Jace die!


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