This novel is about a talking cat…
I Was the Cat HC (Oni Press)
Oh, are you still there? If the keywords “talking cat” haven’t sold you, let me explain why Paul Tobin’s latest work is sure to provide some entertainment. Meet Burma, an orange, longed-haired tabby cat with an extensive vocabulary, surely accrued from the eight former lives he’s lived. He’s experienced everything from the luxuries of Queen Elizabeth’s throne room to the damp and bloody trenches of WWI. Regardless of the location of his past eight lives, the only constant is that Burma has had a paw (sorry, I couldn’t resist) in the major historical events at that specific time. Now, down to his last life, Allison Breaking, a blogger/reporter, is being entrusted to document the extensive experiences and stories this kitty has to tell.
I have to be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I started this novel (I myself was sold at the mention of a talking cat). Even after a few chapters into it, you’re not really sure what type of novel this is. It reads as a light-hearted comedy/fantasy with the potential for a dark, but cliché mystery twist, but then it’s sprinkled with deep metaphors and discussion about the human condition and its evolution, or lack thereof, throughout time. However, you’re so preoccupied with the wit and cat puns Tobin throws at you, analyzing what the book is doesn’t really concern you. Tobin creates a perfect blend of fantasy and realism throughout Burma’s speech, incorporating the known qualities of cats including egregious egos, assumed entitlement, and of course, their blatant hatred of the canine species.
Is It Good?
Backed by some excellent art from the hand of Benjamin Dewey, Tobin does a great job of presenting a fun book that’s appropriate for most ages. This is a great casual read if treated as one (Please do not expect a jaw dropping, stress-inducing, gritty, epic tale because I already warned you in the very first sentence that it was about a talking cat). So expect entertaining historical spotlights, sardonic humor that only a cat could deliver, and even an unexpected-but-probably-expected twist at the very end.
Quote Of The Novel: “Not all of us cats use our nine lives of course. Just as so many of you humans lay about, day after day, not even using the one you’ve been given.”