When this book begins, it’s nine weeks after the events of Pride. Faythe is on her way to see her boyfriend Marcus, who, as a result of events in the second and third books, has been exiled from their territory.
While on an escort trip from Texas to Atlanta, the group arranges a stop in Mississippi to pick up Marc so he and Faythe can have some time together. Marc has acquired a shadow named Dan, a Stray who is curious about how Prides are structured and operate.
While driving, the car malfunctions and the group is ambushed by a dozen or so Strays. Strays are loners, so this is highly suspect, and Dan reveals that a Stray friend wanted to meet some Pride members but never showed up like he said he would. Marc yells at Dan for being stupid and kicks him out of the hotel.
Marc is limited in his ability to travel in Pride areas, and leaves the escort in Alabama. In Atlanta, Faythe learns that her brother Ryan has managed to escape from the cage in her family’s basement. This would have required outside assistance, and Faythe hopes it wasn’t her mother who helped him escape.
When Faythe returns to Texas, she resumes working with Kaci, a tabby who was born to human parents with recessive Shifter genes. When Kaci had her onset Shift, she didn’t know what was happening to her, and she killed her mother and sister, and took off for the mountains.
Faythe taught her to change back to human form, but Kaci is too frightened of her cat self to shift again, and as a result, is slowly dying. Faythe is trying to convince her of the necessity of shifting between forms when she gets a call from Dan telling her that three toms broke into Marc’s house and took him.
Marc was wounded in the fight, and the amount of blood he lost could mean that he’s already dead. The rest of the book follows Faythe and the rest of the enforcers as they attempt to find out who took Marc and where he is.
Mixed in with this are some subplots that carry over from the previous books: the leader of another Pride is trying to discredit Faythe’s dad and take over the Council leadership; a tabby from another country is on trial for killing her abusive husband in self-defense and may face a death sentence; someone is killing off Strays and they think it’s the Pride; and Kaci’s inability to shift.
All of these plot threads tie in with what happened to Marc, and it made for a page-turning read. Since this is an urban fantasy/paranormal book with fighting animals and a turf war, I will say that people die, and not just the bad guys, so if you’re someone who gets really attached to characters, you probably don’t want to read this series.
As I got closer to the end of the book, I had to accept that there were going to be some parts of the story left open-ended, along with a cliffhanger that I totally didn’t see coming.
I will say that I’m glad I kept reading after I had such a bad experience with the first book. Faythe has grown as a character, and I don’t want to hit her with a stick anymore. She has matured from the whiny beast she was in the first book, and it shows in her actions and her thought processes. She’s also a great enforcer, and not afraid to break other people’s bones in the line of duty, which was refreshing. Grade: B
This review was written by fellow reader, Senetra. For readers interested in this series, the first book is Stray and you can read the excerpt here. The next book in the series, SHIFT, will be released March 2010.