November is Adopt An Indie month! An event created by Donna Brown to highlight independent authors who self-publish their works. A great idea, that seems to have taken right off, so much so that there may very well be a second one coming in February.
I browsed through the hundred plus authors and their submitted works to find something that really caught my attention, and much like in a book store, I wandered around the site for a couple of hours reading the blurbs, making notes about a few of them to come back to if I didn’t find something else.
That was when I found it… Guardian Cats & The Lost Books of Alexandria by Rahma Krambo. In one of the blurb’s opening lines it talks about cats, books, and libraries, and I thought those things go together like peanut butter, chocolate and something else yummy, perhaps bacon.
So I continued to read the blurb, and said, yes, this is the one for me.
Now, admittedly, Guardian Cats is not neccessarily aimed at my age group, but that has never stopped me from reading a book. If it catches my interest, no matter whom it’s aimed at, I’ll read it.
And Guardian Cats did not disappoint. But be wary, there are some spoilers below.
It does have it flaws, but I’ve never come across a book that doesn’t no matter who the author is, but at the heart of it, its a heroe’s journey. In the case the hero is a cat, one Marco by name.
Recently abandoned, through no fault of his, or his owners, Marco discovers that he has the ability to read, and live through the tales(tails?) that he immerses himself in, especially the adventures of D’Artagnan in Dumas’ immortal Three Musketeers.
He finds, in his time as a stray, an interesting, energetic, and entertaining companion in Polo, a ferret. Polo is a great creation, and I could see him in my mind’s eye from his first appearance, he’s the lovable, good intentioned sidekick who seems just a little too wired for his own good, but in a fun way.
And that led to one of only a couple things that troubled me, Polo, sadly drops in and out of the book. He pops up, but nowhere near as often as I would have liked, considering he seems to be Marco’s stalwart and loyal companion.
Marco finds his way inside the glorious local library, and a whole new world of books and stories is laid out before him. A world he happily throws himself into to forget about his rumbley tummy, and the trouble he ran into with a couple of strays.
It is here that he finds Cicero, the latest in a long line of Guardian Cats who are assigned to protect special books, and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.
Cicero is a little cantakerous, but is loveable despite that (or because of that) and begins training his replacement for the troubled times ahead.
Krambo handles her characters well, knowing full well who her book is aimed it.
This next statment is meant as a compliment, so I hope it’s not misnterpreted. I saw almost the entire book in my head as I read it, but as an animated film, in the tradition of Don Bluth film (American Tail, The Secret of NIMH) so that’s why I wasn’t really too surprised to see that when the thugs rolled in they were raccoons.
The big bad, of which there are two, are a little more frightening, and add a sense of threat to the last half of the book.
This is where I felt another minor flaw presented itself, there is an appearance of an evil character in the final chapters of the tale, and it’s not explained (unless I missed it, but I don’t think so), but I think that she is the physical representation of a shadowy creature that traveled with whom you assume is the actual Big Bad.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the heroes are all cats, and a ferret, but Rahma never forgets that they are animals, and they behave as such. It’s a book that fires the imagination, cause there’s a part of me that truly believes that while I’m at work Fred The Cat pulls down a book and starts reading. It’s a wonderful image, and Rahma caters to it.
There’s a sequence, involving time travel, and Marco visits the ancient library of Alexendria, and the story and the mythology that is built up around it in this universe is pitch-perfect and is quite possibly one of my favorite sequences in the book.
I would not only recommend this book, but I do hope that Rahma plans to revisit this universe again. This story only covers one of the lost books from Alexandria, there were more that the librarian and his helpers got away with, I’d like to hear about them.
It also makes me wonder what other adventures Fred The Cat has when I’m not at home…
Guardian Cats & The Lost Books of Alexandria is available online for Kindle and Nook, or print versions are available through Amazon.