With a lycan father, a human mother, and the human side of his genetic makeup dominant, Luke left his birth pack to try living among humans, but he felt awkward and uncomfortable isolated from the culture that raised him. He’s still searching for where he fits in.
After losing his family in a vicious attack, Dean rebuilt his pack by accepting loners, rejects, other survivors, and even ferals. He and his ragtag group of strays made a warm and welcoming home.
Luke believes he’s finally found where he belongs. Meddling parents and a neighbor who isn’t as human as he seems won’t sway him. Luke wants Dean to take in one last stray…him.
Content Warning: Shifter knotting/tying, mating heats (yes, plural), and jerky!
Stray is an interesting book – a new look at shifters, half shifters, and pack life. And I love how Gregg loves to push the envelope a little in her stories.
However, as much as I loved the concept, the execution left me scratching my head and wondering just what to say. There was a tremendous amount of world building. Unfortunately, the majority of it was dumped on us in the first chapter. It became a bit mind numbing and boring. And even after that, she broke up one poignant scene with several pages of backstory that didn’t belong since we already knew the information.
The characters were not easy to know. Luke came across as a human who is willing to accept abuse just to get back into pack life, like he did in his last foray into living with shifters. And while Dean – the pack leader – tried to help him feel at home, there was never any sense of the two actually gaining feelings for one another. They were both in heat, so their passion was intense toward one another. (And the whole knot thing? YUM! I want to mate with a lycan *wink*) And I did enjoy the overall action.
It just felt like so much was missing. Why would Luke want to be Dean’s bondmate? Why would Dean want Luke to be his? They don’t even know one another and the author makes it very clear there are no fated mates or insta-mates in this shifter universe. All they currently have is the passion of their Heat driving them physically.
And the emphasis on Neil was overpowering. I kept expecting the NY shifter to show up considering how often he was mentioned. And yet… nope.
There was a showdown with a human – and the humans in this universe are pretty much anti-lycan – and his reasoning for hating Luke felt strange. It was like it came out of left field. I wasn’t surprised Luke was blindsided by it – so was I.
Basically, it’s a three because:
- A: I like Gregg’s books and I love how she isn’t afraid to approach subjects others stay away from.
- B: The story did not feel finished.
- C: Every story has an arc, and while the arc that allowed Luke to stay with Dean’s pack was finished, the greater arc of their relationship did not make sense to me.
- D: It felt like a novel length amount of information squeezed into a novella sized book. So the details that would make everything go together are missing.
I would have loved to give it 4 stars as I do love Gregg’s works, but the overabundance of world building and backstory and my confusion as to why the two heroes would want a relationship takes it down to 3.