by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Alexandria, by Rahma Krambo
Yuba City, CA, Reflected Light Books, July 2011, trade paperback $6.99 (261 pages), Kindle $2.99.
This is an attractive and easily-read fantasy for Young Adult and adult cat lovers, announced as the first in a series. It emphasizes “magical realism” rather than any s-f or fantasy nature. The animals can just talk, that’s all.
Marco is a pampered young housecat who learns to read when his human, young Lucy, leaves books out where he can get at them at night. Soon he is lost in what Lucy likes to read, which is Young Adult adventure and fantasy. The reader will recognize The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Three Musketeers. “In the wee hours of the night, Marco became a warrior, a wizard, a wanderer, but he was always the hero. When Marco read, he forgot he was a cat.” (p. 2) An emergency – the reader will recognize Lucy’s grandmother being rushed to a hospital – empties the house of humans. After a couple of days alone, Marco ventures outside.
Marco does not fare well as an urban feral cat. His wandering takes him to an old library full of so many wonderful books that he almost forgets his search for food. He is shy, and he avoids anyone until he comes to one room:
“Marco moved into the doorway. On a long table sat a cat. Not the same as the one in the window. This one, larger and silver-spotted, was hunched over a book. All around him were stacks of books, and he seemed not to notice anything except what he was reading. His tail, laid out to the side, quivered in annoyance.” (p. 18)