Stray by Rachel Vincent - Review

Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance

Fantasy Element: Steampunk

Series: Unknown

Order Online 2/28/11: | Carina Press

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I like the way deLaney formed this Paranormal Romance. It could actually probably be better categorized as more of an adventure novel than an actual romance, for while there was romance the adventure part of it was the main feature. The steampunk tones were very rich and the intensity of the action was overpowering, combine this with a tension inducing romance — well this was a very well rounded novel. It kept me glued to the pages and it’s quick and fast moving plot didn’t give me time to slow down.


Seleste deLaney introduces us to an alternate past, where the United States is confined to the East of the Mississippi River and what lays West is a land of rival kingdoms and territories. In the Badlands there rules a monarchy of women. Warrior women that patrol their lands and protect their people from the convicts that are constantly being ousted from the United States and exiled to the badlands. A deep distrust of men breeds within these women and is further intensified when what looks like a United States ship attacks and kills the Queen, freeing many of the prisoners. Chaos insures and Ever one of the guards escapes to the mountains, intent of finding the Princess and enthroning her to bring back order to their kingdom.

Ever is as good as dead though as her battle wounds wear her down and her precarious mountaintop perch becomes hazardous. In the nick of time one of the supple ships spots her and comes to her rescue, it is quite unthinkable that Ever has been rescued by a man and a pacifist captain at that. He does help her though and agrees to take her to retrieve the princess and escape those that pursue her. As their journey unfolds Ever might have to rethink her stance on men and women relations…and where exactly her loyalties lie.

A highly entertaining steampunk adventure with loads of action, romance and political debauchery. I enjoyed this quick read and hope to read more of deLaney’s work in the future. Because of the shortness of this title, things might not be explained as fully as you would see in a full-sized novel, but I liked it, it kept things moving, on tract and hard-hitting. Enough was said to keep things moving and I wasn’t bogged down with chapter long sex scenes where they stopped in the middle of fighting to get it one. Which I have to say was great and “real”.  There are moments when they are overcome with passion for each other…which is more of emotional responses because of their actions, but it led to them having to separate to do their duties instead of stopping for a romp, which I find ridiculous in regular romances. “Oh this vampire is going to rip my neck out in the other room…well lets just have sex because you look so hot with your dress ripped and that cut down your back!” There was none of that, so while there were dirigibles and mechanical birds and women with bustles — the character interaction was very real, which is why I found myself very attached to Ever and Spencer by the end of the novel.RECOMMENDATIONS:

Recommended for fans of steampunk and romance. There is violence and a bit of sexual interaction so this is an adult novel. This is a great transition from PNR to steampunk. Give it a try, you might like it.