The Tygrine Cat
by Inbali Iserles
The Queen of the Tygrine Cats faces defeat at the hands of their ancient enemy, the Sa. Knowing that she cannot survive, but determined to save her people, she sends her young son Mati off to a strange land, and protects him with a spell of forgetting, while she sacrifices herself to save him.
Mati survives on the ship, eating scraps and drinking from a dripping shower stall, until the ship docks at the port of Cressida Lock. There Mati, alone and afraid, and with only scraps of memory of his former life, encounters a band of feral cats living in the catacombs under the leadership of a tomcat named Pirrup: The Courageous Chief Pangur, Lord of the Realm, or just Pangur for short. The Cressida Lock cats are suspicious of Mati, but agree to take him in at the encouragement of Sparrow, a kindly but eccentric older tom.
Mati is befriended not only by Sparrow, but by Domino, a young black and white cat, and Jess, a former housecat who get lost and couldn’t find her way home. But Mati has enemies, too, both within and without. Among the Cressida Lock cats, there are some who still mistrust Mati because he’s different, and who want to see him banished. And Mati is pursued by an ancient evil from his distant homeland, an evil determined to kill Mati and rule the world.
The Tygrine Cat is a good story with appealing characters, and overall I enjoyed it. Author Inbali Iserles’ writing shows promise – there are some lovely descriptive passages and creative metaphors – but it’s not as tightly controlled as it might be. For example, it’s sometimes jarring that in one paragraph things are mentioned in human terms that a cat wouldn’t understand, and a paragraph or two later we’re seeing the world through the cats’ eyes using their own language and way of describing things. I’m probably spoiled from reading too many Warriors books; Erin Hunter does a lovely job of keeping us immersed in the cats’ world, and I think I was expecting more of that.
Still, there was a lot to like about this book and I think it will have strong appeal for fans of animal fantasy, as well as those who interested in ancient religions and mysticism. The characters were well-drawn and appealing to cat lovers, and the plot was interesting, with some unique ties to ancient Egypt.
Edit: in re-reading this review, I think the tone of it was more negative than I intended it to be. I found this to be a good book overall, and I only had a few minor quibbles with it, so I edited the review to better reflect my overall opinion of the book without minimizing its shortcomings.
Total 48-hour book challenge pages read: 242
Total 48-hour book challenge books read: 1
Time reading: 3 hours
Time blogging: 1 hour