The Book of Night with Moon (Feline Wizards #1)
by Diane Duane
(fantasy, could be YA)
This is an amusing book, but it also has more depth to it than you’d expect from a book about cat wizards. It discusses silly things like how cats can seem to appear out of thin air, but also more serious things like entropy and choice and why even fights that seem hopeless are worth fighting.
That is actually what I like the most about this whole greater world… the Young Wizards series as well as the Feline Wizards series. It is a set of fun stories that tell deeper truths; YA novels that continue to carry meaning for adults.
Be warned, though, this one does have some sadder moments, especially for cat owners. It’s mostly silly and happy and uplifting, but… well. For any story to have real depth, it must also have some sacrifice.
(Side note: if you want a copy of this e-book, you can get one at the author’s website, here. I’m not affiliated or anything, but when I bought her e-books this seemed to be the best way to do so instead of going through a third party.)
As for a synopsis… there are wizards, and some of them are cats. These particular cat wizards are some of the beings responsible for maintaining a system of gates which allow instantaneous travel between distant locations — some on Earth, and some on other planets. One day, while investigating some trouble one of the gates is having, they encounter a young cat barely out of kittenhood who has just been offered his Ordeal (which is how one becomes a wizard). Wizardry follows the rules of “you found it, you fix it,” and so the team must not only fix their problem gate but also shepherd a willful young potential wizard through his Ordeal… all while not getting eaten by dinosaurs.
I really like most of the things about this book. There are a few things that bug me (though not enough to hinder my enjoyment of the story). The biggest one is that the cats have “slang” versions of human speech which they often use in place of the human word, or the dialog will mix in cat words with human ones. This makes sense in its way, and it makes the world building more real and deep. However, it can be hard to sort out when you’re starting the story. The feline word “houiff,” for example, means “dog” (think of the sound a dog makes when it says “woof” and you’ll see where it comes from). Mostly I am fine with this as an example of good worldbuilding. In some cases, however, I don’t make the connection between the cat words used and the human word they’re supposed to sound like. The biggest hurdle for me was at the beginning trying to decipher the MC’s (main cat’s) version of her human’s names, and the cat name for New York. In general, though, it’s just names that I had trouble with.
Rating: 5 stars
TW: death of a family member