**spoiler alert** Growth and evolution are the primary driving factors in the life of a human being. No matter how hard we try, we can’t help but chan**spoiler alert** Growth and evolution are the primary driving factors in the life of a human being. No matter how hard we try, we can’t help but change as people over time. Our experiences shape us, and that fundamental truth underlies this entire book.
Calliope, in Cat’s Claw, has grown from the girl she was in Death’s Daughter. She’s garnered a bit of fame from her exploits in the previous books and isn’t really sure how she feels about it (Food for Thought: is this a bit of the author’s experience coming through in her characters?). She’s also begun to see her family in a new light. I’m reminded of that time around your early to mid-twenties when you begin to realize that those people who stick by you (whatever you may have thought of them before) probably care about you more than you realize and it wouldn’t hurt to be nicer to them.
Lastly, she begins another quest and some of the epic-ness this trilogy will cover peeks out from behind the curtain, prepping for taking center stage (I imagine, in the third and final book). In this book, Calliope is left largely to her own devices to find a missing soul for Cerberus (who’s called in his favor), try to help Daniel who’s shade has been stolen by a cat who turns out to be the Goddess Bast, figure out what’s going on with Jarvis and Clio who’ve begun behaving oddly, and somehow try to get some time with Daniel and spit out the fact that she’s, y’know, in love with him. In between, there are twists, turns, betrayals, deaths, and several men for Calliope to drool over.
Whew. If that sounds like a roller-coaster ride then you really are getting a feel for what it’s like reading this book. It’s a great adventure, and a fun read, with overtones of even more greatness to come.
You see, in the same way Calliope has grown, Ms. Benson has grown as an author as well (or has made a choice to step up her game in this book, one of the two). Cat’s Claw is the beginning of the epic feeling of this story. Sea Verge begins to take on some of the mythic qualities that the home of Death should embody. Calliope begins to discover that she perhaps has more power than she imagined. The afterlife has some real life breathed into it (sorry, I can’t resist a good pun…) and we really start to sense how it looks and feels. Back stories are slowly revealed and characters besides Calliope get fleshed out (Jarvis and Clio especially).
The only nit-pick I’d have about this book actually relates to how the trilogy has been structured. I’ll be honest, if some of this vastness of the story Ms. Benson intended to tell had been made felt in the first book, it likely would have drawn in more readers, because this one is a far more enjoyable read. I remember hearing somewhere that the original idea was to write one long book, and I suspect that when it was changed to be a trilogy not too much thought was put into how it would need to be restructured to accommodate multiple releases. Sometimes, growth and change can be messy to handle.
Regardless, this book was really a great read and am waiting anxiously for the final book. Can’t wait!
Some of my favorite tid-bits from Cat’s Claw:
"Whenever I went to Hell, I always left bloodier than I had come."
"Death 101, or How Does That Persnickety Afterlife Work?"
"…that mankind was all the same on the inside, no matter how different they seemed on the outside."...more
**spoiler alert** I know that a lot of folks have written that they disliked this book because the main character, who's head we live in (as it is wri**spoiler alert** I know that a lot of folks have written that they disliked this book because the main character, who's head we live in (as it is written in the first person), is kind of annoying. I must admit, I liked that about Calliope. She's flawed, and silly, and she whines about bad situations, and has a crush on just about every boy she meets. And this makes her immensely human in my eyes- ironic, considering said book places an emphasis on her non-humanness. It has occurred to me while reading it, that was perhaps Miss Benson's very intention. That for all Calliope's lack of humanity, for all that she is Death's Daughter and being faced with seemingly insurmountable tasks she must complete, even as she walks casually through Hell and discusses favors and payment with everyone from Cerberus to Gods she is still, in every moment, just a person: a flawed, silly person, who makes mistakes and sticks her foot places it doesn't belong while trying her very best in a bad situation. How can one not relate?
That said, I enjoyed this book immensely. Honestly, more than I expected to (I have to admit, I'm skeptical of actors who take up writing). It's a fun read, and while for the most part what one would call fluff, it had some deeper undertones that struck a chord in me. Moments where the greatness of the mythology involved and the story being told (usually masked behind Calliope's urban sarcasm, and silliness) peeks out at you and says something profound that you weren't expecting.
The only small critique I might send the author's way is that she seems a most up-front kind of individual and the story might benefit from a bit of subterfuge...it's told in a very straight-forward style, leaving little to the reader's imagination, and while Miss Benson's engaging speaking style comes through and mutes the effect (like hearing a story related by an old friend), I think the tale might have more impact in some places if some details were left to the reader's imagination.
A solidly enjoyable read, that I certainly recommend. I have Cat's Claw to get started on next, so more reviews to come....more
This was enjoyable, but I have to be honest- this is the only book that I can say was not as good as the movie. Getting all the background and detailsThis was enjoyable, but I have to be honest- this is the only book that I can say was not as good as the movie. Getting all the background and details that a book contains that will never fit in a movie was great, but by the same token, some of the power of the story-line was lost due to occasional meandering tangents by the author. Still great and highly recommended though....more
The tales in this collection are hit or miss at best. The idea was a great one, but I just found so many of the stories poorly written. I had to skipThe tales in this collection are hit or miss at best. The idea was a great one, but I just found so many of the stories poorly written. I had to skip a couple on the way through. Fan of Steampunk, not of this collection. ...more
This was a book my girlfriend bought to read during the holiday. I've read other Dickens, but not A Christmas Carol. It was, to say the least, refreshThis was a book my girlfriend bought to read during the holiday. I've read other Dickens, but not A Christmas Carol. It was, to say the least, refreshing to read an author bound to older customs, with a strong sense of history. Ironically reading the book was like seeing the story through less cartoonish, caricature prone eyes- I suppose form seeing too many poorly made/managed movies/theater productions of the tale. Dickens, pure and undiluted, will be my choice from now on....more