ROGUE by Rachel Vincent
Paperback from Mira Books
The second book in Rachel Vincent’s werecats series doesn’t pull any punches (or indeed claws). Pretty much as soon as you open it, you’re thrown into the action straight away. The style of writing is very much in the Laurel K. Hamilton/Kelley Armstrong vein, but in this example of the burgeoning shapeshifter/Paranormal genre, the emphasis is on much more animalistic behaviour. There’s much more passion in the writing, the action and indeed the, erm, passion in this book, making for a gritty, greasy and sometimes downright nasty (in a nice way) read. She doesn’t hold back on the horror, or the violence, or any other potentially controversial aspect, but they are dealt with in a remarkably matter-of-fact manner, which is most refreshing.
The cast of characters is strong, particularly the leads Faythe and Marc, who come across as genuinely rounded characters who are both appalled and fascinated by their life as werecats and hunters. The urban setting in which most of the action takes place is dank and litter strewn, daubed with graffiti and broken lightbulbs, and this gives the book a real sense of atmosphere amid the frenetic pace of the story.
The plot, concerning a rogue stray werecat who is killing indiscriminately, is simple enough, but it is layered with so many other subplots that it sometimes feels like a bit of an afterthought. That said, those subplots are worked into the prose very well. One thing that make this stand out from the crowd is Vincent’s superb feat in making the novel feel wholly self contained, instead of another episode in an ongoing series, which is a pitfall suffered by many entries in the genre. You don’t need to have read the first book, Stray, to enjoy Rogue. The details are covered quickly and in a nicely subtle manner for the most part.
Violent, sexy and exciting, this is a strong addition to the ever growing Urban fantasy genre, and I’m interested to see where the series goes from here. This novel is not on general release in the UK yet, but it can be found in many specialist bookshops. It is most definitely worth searching out and getting your paws on.