Faythe’s pride is being embroiled more and more into vicious werecat politics as her father’s rival will resort to any means to try and take control of the council. Up to and including dragging them into a war.
There’s something else going on with the Strays as well, not part of any Pride, they’re often ignored. But when Marc, Faythe’s love interest, goes missing she is torn between staying with the Pride and looking for Marc
The plot of this book slightly frustrates me. There are two interesting plot lines I’d really like to focus on – the political shenanigans of the werecat council as an alpha does his very best to overrule Greg and replace him as head of the council by any means necessary. The second is the plot line of Pride cats apparently doing odd things to Stray cats and tracking them. I have no idea why, given that any Stray can pretty much be murdered and no-one actually cares. Those are interesting plot lines
Instead we focus far more on Faythe trying to find Marc who has gone missing. I don’t care. I don’t like Marc. I’ve never liked Marc. I think Marc’s relationship with Faythe has just been so very terrible for so very long. If he dropped out of the series entirely I’d be much much happier. So a storyline all about finding him? Not really something I’m going to focus on.
I’m going to have to repeat a lot of what I said in the last book in this series. It’s not exactly bad or even problematic – if we ignore everything that has come before it.
I can almost feel the author desperately trying to rewrite those previous books. I’m almost certain that if there was a way to go back in time and change them the author would. We can see the narrative they want to tell:
Faythe lives in a misogynist society but is lucky to be born in the very progressive Pride who is trying to walk back a lot of the worst abuses of their society – both against women and against Strays. Greg, her father, understands the science and realities and has every faith in his daughter being a capable ruler and taking over after him. Faythe was very young in the first book, naïve, unaware of how good she had it and full of childish rebellion. But she learned from her mistakes and is continuing to grow and learn and mature (even if, even in the last book, Faythe proved herself to be completely incapable of controlling her tongue for five damn seconds). And now she has grown and is still frustrated but she and her dad are fighting the good fight. Not only are they fighting the good fight, but Faythe has learned and grown and is even a moderating influence on her father when he starts to make rash and emotional decisions
Yes, Faythe has grown enough that she is stepping up as leader and being responsible for her Pride and bravely standing up to her father. She’s also being a kind, wise and gentle guidance to Kaci, the werecat “Tabby” they’ve taken in as well as supporting Manx, the abused Tabby who is now on trial for the murders she committed while on the run and afraid.
Manx’s own story is a painful one with every part of what it means to face the judgement of these Pack Leaders and what they did to her. It’s actually really insightful in looking at what the implications of helplessness mean for a woman like Manx who has been abused on top of her now being so dependent on the patriarchal society of the werecats for her protection. Especially when we have the big bad of this book effectively trying to take over werecat society by controlling the rare females; the big bad is defined by making the decisions of the women for them
Honestly, it’s an amazing improvement over the previous books – here’s where the misogyny of the society is being actively challenged. Here is where we see a female protagonist actually stepping up and being capable, a moderately good leader (not an awesome one – her decisions are overly self-focused and not perfect – but they’re still more than reasonable) and actively challenging the problems of that society. The prejudice is called out and challenged
Yes, it’s pretty amazing to think these are the same books
Yet they are the same books so we have problems here. Faythe continually comparing her behaviour to Kaci’s and how she was such a foolish child is a terrible recap of the previous books. You can’t re-write the bullshit of the first books like this. Faythe was locked up, Faythe was kidnapped, Faythe was caged for not obeying. Faythe was groomed – by her own father – and all but forced into a relationship while being constantly guilted every step along the way. This happened, it was terrible, it was awful and it’s only made worse by pretending this was all just Faythe’s immature acting out. It’s terrible that we’re still treating Marc as her true love forever more without any acknowledgement of the problems from before – or even treating Faythe as the one at fault.
It doesn’t change the inherent problem of the world building. There’s no reason why the werecats would only produce a few female children. It makes no biological sense – in fact, with Faythe insisting that sisters are pretty much impossible, I can’t see why the werecats aren’t going extinct.