Shift is the penultimate book in the Shifter series by Rachel Vincent. The action picks up shortly after the events of the previous book; the Sanders Pride is still banged up from and in mourning from the attack and its aftermath.
Pride council member Paul Blackwell has arrived to ask that the Pride not rush out and attack the Pride they think is responsible and also remember that Faythe’s dad’s seat on the council is at stake. Given the events of the other books, and the current council intrigues, the Sanderses and their allies from other Prides are incredulous.
While the councilman is there, Kaci is carried off by a pair of Thunderbirds, beings that werecats believe to be alternately extinct or mythological, ensuring a lack of knowledge about them. Kaci is rescued, more cats are hurt, but they manage to capture one, Kai, who answers their questions and leveling an accusation against the Pride.
One of their young was killed nearby while hunting, and the Sanders Pride was named as the killers. The person who told them that it was the Sanders Pride made a deal whereby all of the tabbies would be taken away before the birds descended to take their revenge on the Sanders compound.
The hows and whys of the accusation is debated and discussed, suspects are named and the councilman asks (again) for restraint until proof can be found. Too bad the people with the proof keep dying. This cycle of attack/accuse/prove it/council says no retribution has been ongoing in all of the books, and if the Sanders clan is half as frustrated with it as I am….
Soon the birds have the cats holed up in the house with no electricity, no way to leave, and only cell phones for communication. Faythe, Manx, the baby, and Kaci manage to sneak out of the back and make it to a nearby getaway car. More birds appear and take Faythe and Kaci to their nest in New Mexico.
Faythe manages to piece together what actually happened to the young bird, and they confirm Calvin Malone as the accuser. Faythe convinces the nest that she can find proof that the Sanders Pride is telling the truth. They agree, giving her 24 hours to do so or they will kill Kaci as retribution for their young’s death.
The birds back at the Sanders compound will also stand down as part of the bargain. Faythe is picked up by Jace and Marc, and they head to Jace’s stepfather’s place, the source of the trouble and the location of the proof they need. This trip also advances the Faythe/Marc/Jace relationship conflict, revealing secrets that no one was eager to reveal just yet.
This book ends as expected, with Kaci returned and the Sanders vindicated, but as I read, I kept wondering what the birds real purpose in the story was. Then, as the story played out, I saw potential for another character to come into his own as an Alpha, which I would love. We’ll see. I’m also anxious to meet two frequently mentioned but never seen characters, Michael’s supermodel wife and Ethan’s pregnant girlfriend. I’m mulling the possibilities for their appearances, and hoping for the best.
I am conflicted about this series. I am enjoying it, bar the first book, but the pacing (bursts of action followed by pages of “we know who did this but we need proof!”) frustrates me, along with plot threads that keep dangling, but I also want to keep reading and find out how everything shakes out.
Faythe has really grown as a character, and she’s learning to deal with her society’s limitations and work within the framework to her advantage. While his novel is Urban Fantasy and not Romance, there is a romantic subplot. I have no real preference for Faythe choosing Marc or Jace, because they bring different experiences to the table, but I really want them both to live through the final book. Grade B-