Review of Pride – Book 3 in the Shapeshifter series by Rachel Vincent

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This is yet another series of paranormal fantasy about the highs and lows in the life of Faythe Sanders, a shape-shifting human/cat. You either like or loathe this currently fashionable sub-genre, and I thoroughly enjoy it – so long as the books are well written. And Vincent’s slightly spoiled, feisty girlie is depicted with understanding, humour and energy that has her leaping off the page, grabbing me by the throat and not letting go until I’ve read the last page.

prideThe werecat council has three cardinal laws and headstrong Faythe stands accused of breaking two of them: infecting a human with her supernatural skills and killing him to cover her tracks. With the death penalty hanging over her head, Faythe has no escape route left. Until a shapeshifter informs the pride of a rash of rogue strays terrorising his land. Yet this threat is nothing like any they’ve seen before. Only Faythe has the knowledge to save the pride, but can she prove her worth? Or will the council s verdict condemn them all?

Vincent’s paranormal tweak has werecat society rigidly organised by a cabal of Alphas – a bunch of elderly men whose political manoeuvring impacts on the prides who provide them with their powerbase. So Faythe’s rebellion is also an expression of frustration when she sees women of her age able to enjoy a level of freedom that is denied her. I both approve of and acknowledge Vincent’s skill in bringing the issue of feminism into her work – and clearly illustrating to her target audience, young western women, just how confining and dangerous it is to be a high spirited, intelligent girl in a number of societies around the world, these days… It is all the more effective for being implicit in the plotting and not at any stage waved under our noses. Nicely done, Rachel.
Like all the better multi-book series, Vincent allows her cast of supporting characters to also develop and deal with their own issues. So we get to know Faythe’s ex-lover a lot better, as well as other members of the pride, in addition to watching her deal with her father, whose authority she resents almost as much as she loves him. The story is well paced and slickly told, with the unfolding drama about the newcomer discovered in the woods very well handled. Yes – I did guess some of it before the reveal, but the extra political ramifications around the discovery were slickly executed and added an additional layer of interest.

All in all, this latest addition to the series is an enjoyable page turner that under all the apparent fluff and paranormal nonsense, has some dark and pertinent things to say about the status of far too many young women whose lives are in the hands of misogynistic men.
8/10

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