The Hundred Names of Darkness by Nilanjana Roy

The sequel and conclusion to a unique story of a group of cats in India.

4/5 stars.
ebook, 290 pages.
Read from May 8, 2018 to May 11, 2018.

Cat lovers, if you have not come across this author and her work, you need to. It is thanks to this book that I found my way out a very deep book-rut.  I am sad to see this delightful story come to an end but I guess nothing good lasts forever. This book picks up exactly where the previous book, The Wildlingsleft off so if you have not read the first book, stop right now and go and get your hands on a copy!

Set in the sprawling streets of India, you are reunited with the main characters, our felines friends, Mara, Southpaw, Katar, Hulo and Beraal.

Thewildings4
Image from the India Bookstore.

The group is still recovering from their fight with the ferals and some drastic changes to their neighbourhood. Food is becoming scarce and the group is starving. Mara, still living with her ‘bigfeet’ (humans) is blissfully unaware of the group’s situation and has not stepped up to be their sender out fear of the outside world and the hatred she still feels from some of the other cats.  However, a frightening event at Mara’s home forces her into the outside world where she comes to learn and appreciate what it is to be an outside cat. Meanwhile, Southpaw has found himself in dire trouble and is suffering from a life-threatening injury. In desperation, the group leaves him with Mara’s ‘bigfeet’ in hopes that they will take care of him but at the time Mara was already missing from her home.  By the time Mara finds the group, no one knows the outcome of Southpaw’s fate.  In order to help her friends, Mara needs to find a way to have the other cats accept her and take on the responsibility of being their sender.

This book concludes with the hopeful ending you are expecting but that doesn’t make the rest of the story any less exciting. While not quite as action-packed as the first novel, this novel focuses more on Mara’s inner dynamics and struggles into becoming who she is meant to be. Mara has grown older and is no longer a kitten. With the help of some new friends and enemies of a variety of different species, you follow Mara on her final journey to becoming the sender of Nizamuddin.

If you are looking for an easy read with some very unique and likeable characters, even if you don’t like cats, you will still appreciate this entertaining story.

Cat Stories by Diane Secker Tesdall

Cats are dynamic beings that can be described in many ways which is probably one of the many reasons why we love them so much.

A selection of short stories on the beloved feline that stretches over two centuries.

3/5 stars.
Hardcover, 400 pages.
Read from November 14 to December 04, 2016.

Ruthless killer? Mischievous and unloving companion? Or a life long playful and affection friend? Cats are dynamic beings that can be described in many ways which is probably  one of the many reasons why we love them so much. Tesdall brings together this anthology of feline short stories to encompass the many ways that cats are viewed and treated. The stories author’s span over two centuries and range from authors like Edgar Allan Poe to Doris Lessing.

I have to admit, some of the stories in this book were not very good. The opening story, The Islands by Alice Adams did little to captivate me and I was unimpressed with Angela Carter’s Puss-in-Boots and Patricia Highsmith’s Ming’s Biggest Prey, however I pushed through and it became worth my time as there are some real gems in this anthology. The classic pieces by Kipling, Saki and Poe were exceptional. Kipling discusses the independence of cats in The Cat That Walked By Himself and created a folklore of how cats came into our home while Saki’s Tobermory details how our pets are privy too all our private moments whether we like it or not, and Poe’s, The Black Cat is down right creepy and sent shivers down my spine. I also just discovered that the story The King of Cats is a piece of folklore that has been around since 1553 which I find intriguing but sadly the Stephen Vincent Benét’s rendition did little for me.

There are stories about how cats effect us personally, such as the story of An Old Woman and her Cat by Doris Lessing, about how detached and mischievous they can be such as Broomsticks by Walter de la Mare and even stories narrated by cats such as Fritz Leiber’s Space-Time for Springers. This is definitely a book every cat-lover should have in their library.

 

The Wildlings by Nilanjana Roy

A fiction where the characters are cats? Yaaasssss!

A fiction where the characters are cats? Yaaasssss!

4/5 stars.
ebook, 338 pages.
Read from May 30 to June 10, 2016.

I came across this book through Netgalley and loved the synopsis. I mean it’s a book in which all the characters are CATS! Could any book be more perfect for me? What’s even better is that it’s a series. Sadly, I failed to get a copy through Netgalley so I relied on my trusty library to get in on this book.

In Nizamuddin, a small neighborhood in Delhi, India there a small clan of cats who abide but their own set of rules Miao is the elder and then there is Katar, Hulo, Beraal, and a fierce and troublesome kitten named Southpaw. The group is able to communicate telepathically and link messages to each other as a means of protecting their home and their clan. Tribes before them were also known to have special cats called “Senders” that had impeccable abilities of foresight and communication, however the clan had not seen one in many, many years and Senders are normally only born when they are needed. Suddenly a small house kitten named Mara begins to bombard the clan strong obnoxious messages, with the same strength as a Sender, as she is seemingly unaware of her unique abilities. As an outsider to the clan, Mara is believed to be a threat and so the clan must decide what action to take. Meanwhile, Southpaw has discovered and stirred up some trouble that could be devastating not only to the clan but to all the animals in Nizamuddin.

What I loved about this book: the setting and the character development. The setting is definitely the highlight for me. The author does a great job in creating this little world in which the cat clan and other animals live and the honorable code and rules that they live by. The communication abilities the cats had is pretty impressive too. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with the tigers. Yes, tigers. There are tiger characters. The author also did a remarkable job with the main cat characters as well. Each of the cats had unique qualities and quirks that made them relate-able but still cat-like. Additionally, the antagonists of the story are pretty creepy so it made for really good climax.

What I didn’t like: Mara. She was the exception. I loved all the other characters but Mara irritated me. She is just a pretentious, ignorant, and whiny kitten. I suppose the point of her character is to show how how unique of a Sender she is, in that she is so young to have such strong abilities, especially for not being a part of any clan, however she was just too cutesy and annoying for me to like her. She could have been unique without being a prat and a scaredy-cat.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would definitely read the next book in the series if I can get my hands on it. I would recommend this book to any cat or fantasy lover.