Monday, January 5, 2009

Review of Catopolis

Catopolis Catopolis by Janet Deaver-Pack

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I just read an anthology that I have a story in. It came out in December of 2008. The anthology is called CATOPOLIS. Yes, it’s 19 stories about the secret world of cats who mostly live in a really big city. These are the kind of stories where the cats talk to each other and discuss how they are actually the ones in charge. Sound familiar?

I wasn’t sure what to write at first, then I decided to write KITTY AND THE CITY, which is a parody of the TV show SEX AND THE CITY, except the four main characters are cats. “Cassie” is a kitty with really bad luck in relationships and she can’t seem to find a good tom. Mr. Big Paws was supposed to be the one . . .

It was a lot of fun to write and I think the story came out really well. My editor, Janet Deaver-Pack did a good job putting together some fun tails (grin). Here’s a quick review of some of my favorite ones in the anthology.

GUT FEELING by Esther M. Friesner is a hilarious story about a cat that predicts the future and must defeat a thug trying to take over the city. I laughed out loud several times while reading this story. Easily the funniest story in the bunch.

BLACK by Richard Lee Byers was a fun adventure story with a black cat who is a type of wizard who can call upon the aspects of the great cats to fight his enemies. It was a cool adventure story, very entertaining.

INK AND NEWSPRINT by Marc Tassin made me get misty-eyed at the end. It was such a well-written story about an extremely endearing character, an old news-stand cat named Sophocles faced with the end of newspapers. Every story I’ve read by Marc Tassin has really captivated me and I can’t wait to read more stories by him.

BURNING BRIGHT by Elaine Cunningham was a stand-out story in the collection and Elaine’s skill as a writer is obvious from beginning to end of the tale. I really loved the voice of her main character, a Serval cat named Mhari. It was a pleasure to find this tale, which appears toward the end of the book.

EYE WITNESS by Don Bingle was silly and crazy—a story about cats learning about the most hidden mysteries of the world. I would love to hear the author read this one out loud. I think I might wet myself laughing.

MENTOR OF THE PATALA by Bruce A. Heard was written in a voice that is quite unique to the book. It made me sit up straight and pay close attention.

AFTER TONY’S FALL by Jean Rabe: too much pasta makes this cat burglars job quite difficult. Very funny premise.

THE SCENT OF DEATH by Elizabeth A. Vaughan is one of the best stories in the anthology. It is a tale taken from the headlines and made real. Some cats have noses for food, this one can smell death. You may remember it from the headlines, and here you get the inside scoop from the cat’s point of view.

THE PERSIAN, THE COON, AND BULLETS by Matthew Woodring Stover was one of the best written stories in the anthology. Gripping and fascinating throughout. The setting of the story makes you think about world events in a whole different light. I highly recommend this satirical story written by a great writer.

FATHER MAIMS BEST by Ed Greenwood was one of the most imaginative of all the stories. It tells the tale of a cat and human team of ghost investigators. Everyone knows that cats can see ghosts. The whole thing goes in a direction I didn’t see coming and I really enjoyed the writing style.

Cat lovers definitely need to check this anthology out.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ill Wind

Ill Wind (Weather Warden, Book 1) Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've been wanting to read Ill Wind for a while, after reading a teaser chapter a long time ago. Finally, I got it off the shelf and read it over the span of three days. I really enjoyed the book. The voice of the main character was really fun. Jo is a Weather Warden, basically a wizard of sorts, who manipulates the weather, making sure it doesn't get out of hand. She belongs to an organization with other Wardens who keep Mother Nature from killing lots of people and destroying property all over the world. It was quite fascinating.

Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don't and Jo is one of the up and coming Wardens, with major amounts of raw power--too much power for her own good. She ends up in some very serious trouble in the beginning of the book and spends the rest of the novel trying to find a way out. I loved how the author, Rachel Caine (a pseudonym used by a very prolific author who has had many names over the years), brought in the mythology of genies, (Djinn), and used them in a modern setting. Very intriguing and fresh. It was inspiring to me as an author to see her ideas coming off the page. I constantly had a movie of the book going in my head. It was a really cool visual book. Sexy, exciting and it kept me guessing. It's not a kids book, thankfully, and the first person voice was very real for me.

The book is what I'd call an Urban Fantasy with a very adventurous flair. It quite exciting, though a little complicated toward the end. I knew what was going on, but it was a challenge to understand as the plot gets very complicated as the finale approaches. It's definitely hard to see the ending coming. It has a very cool twist. The book can stand alone, or you can read more in the Weather Warden series. I've got about fifty more books on my shelf to read, but I really want to read the next one.

Happy reading and happy new year!

Paul Genesse, Author and Editor

Author of The Golden Cord

Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

View all my reviews.