Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Review: Alpha by Rachel Vincent

First, I must wipe a tear from my eye. The book I am about to talk about is the end of a great series. It is one of about three series that I suggest to everyone, no matter if they want to hear about it or not. I have even given my cherished copy of the first book to my co-worker hoping that if she ever finds time to read it she will be hooked. I am of course talking about the Shifter Series by Rachel Vincent. I am almost to full stalker status for this poor young lady and I have a feeling that is why she never seems to visit Dallas. I was caught up in her whirl wind of a writing style when I bought Stray off of a suggestion I received on Goodreads and I have been hooked ever since. The Sixth and final book of the series is Alpha, and once again I have been left breathless.

A little background on the series with as few spoilers as possible. Faythe Sanders is your typical Texas girl. She loves her family, especially her father, but she struggles with how how much they control her. She goes away to college instead of marrying her High School sweetheart and starting life on the ranch owned by her family. The one difference between her and any other twenty something across the country is the fact that Faythe is a Shifter. A werecat to be precise. In her tightly controlled society the only thing she is expected to do is marry a strong werecat and make babies. Female werecats are so rare, for the sake of her species, it is her duty in the mind of some to keep trying until she has the much sought after baby girl. Faythe decides to be more then a baby maker and revolts and in the process makes many powerful enemies within her world.

Poor Faythe has had a hard nine months (the length of the series). Not only does it seem that everyone is trying to either imprison or kill her but she has lost those that she loves in the process of fighting back. Not only are her enemies trying to subdue or kill her but it seems they are content with bring down her family in the process. On top of all that, Faythe has made some really stupid decisions throughout the entire ordeal which has turned her life even more upside down then it already was. On the brink of war with her own kind, will Faythe have the control and knowledge needed to save everything she considers special in her life? No matter what you know this fiery feline will not go down without throwing her claws around.

Rachel Vincent has created a world of powerful characters. With every turn of a page, you feel the emotions they are going through. I will not lie and say I did not shed a tear or two while reading Alpha. I cried a bloody river! The sadness, pain, and fear of what is going on around these characters is so well expressed that you would have to be an android not to feel it as you read. You want the good guys to win and you want the bad guys to feel more pain then they have ever had to deal with in their pathetic lives. This is not a fairy tale where the immature main character makes a few mistakes and then lives happily ever after. This story is full of sorrow that changes the characters down to their little fictional souls. At no point in the book does the reader get the feeling that the good guys are going to win. You are just wishing and praying they will get out of the mess in one piece.

The relationships that are developed between certain characters is another amazing feet. There isn't just one knight in shining armor and the stain between the triangle that has been developing over many books as reached a boiling point. There is Mark, her first love and the foundation of her strength. He would go to the moon and back for her, and pretty much has since she left him at the alter before disappearing to college hours away. Then there is Jace. The guy who has always been in the family as her brother's best friend but she has only recently realized that she had more then brotherly feelings towards him. Both characters make you want her to choose them but there is a strong possibility that the boys will kill each other before she ever makes up her mind.

I know I haven't hidden the fact that I am a huge fan of Vincent's writing, but there is a reason for this. When I open one of her books, I am transported into the world she has created and feel as if her characters are real, flaws and all. I am sad that she has closed this chapter in her literary worlds but the way she finalized everything was perfect. Not everyone had the happy ending you may think they deserve but all loose ends were tied up and overall the endings of each part of the story just fit. Sure I wish some characters did not have to go through what they did but these books are developed on realistic human reactions and emotions and had realistic endings even if the characters are based in a Paranormal world. I am more then happy to give Alpha five out of five stars. This series has easily found a place on my re-read shelf.

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