Amanda's Reviews > Seeing a Large Cat

Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
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Mar 02, 09


** spoiler alert ** If you're a gamer, you'll know what I mean when I explain that Ramses suddenly turns from a DNPC into a PC in this book. What's more, he's a PC with as many points as his parents, who have been accumulating XP for eight books.

In particular, I admire how Ms. Peters has handled the transformation. The Manuscript H might be a slightly precious device but it offers a fairly seamless transition into another POV, a trick in a series so deeply dedicated to a first-person singular narrative. It also takes care of the supposed journal-like nature of the books.

Furthermore, sending the boys off to the sheik to learn to "fight and ride and become leaders of men" is a great way for Ramses to go from awkward boy to a fairly impressive action hero. I love his entrance at Shepherds -- even upon repeated readings, it's a great scene.

Also, Ramses moves from love-struck boy to literary heart-throb. Watching the women battle over his affections while he moons (stoically, of course) over the irritating Nefret is an excellent way to impress upon us his sudden transition from kidnapper bait into active adult.

Finally, Ramses rescues his mother. A woman who very rarely needs rescue. He takes a life to do it. The whole climax is quite thrilling, in a totally pulpy way. It also indicates, quite neatly I think, the transition to the much much darker and more fraught books that follow. The cheerful Victorian caricatures give way to a much more nuanced and grim (but still delightfully pulpy and fun) wartime mood.

I suppose I should confess. The first book I ever picked up of this series was Falcon at the Portal (more about which at that review). I fell madly, wildly, and deeply in love with Ramses before the fifth chapter. Having then gone back to start the series and find the object of my lust pictured as a little boy was very disconcerting, to say the least. I was thrilled when I picked this one up and discovered that the action hero of my dreams had finally arrived on the scene.
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