Michele Lee's Reviews > Shift

Shift by Rachel Vincent
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May 18, 10

bookshelves: 2010, urban-fantasy, reviewed, favorites
Read from April 03 to 08, 2010

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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