©2006 Mercedes Lackey; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I love the humor to this one, and the manner in which the title is evoked from the story itself is masterly! A nice evocation of "Puss in Boots!"
I love this author, and this series in particular. You can tell she does a lot of research to create a historically accurate setting for her tales to juxtapose the magic, which she also seeks to ground in lore and fact. The narrator, however, is not my favorite. Her accents are terrible, and there is always a sense that she has not read the story in advance. She stumbles over foreign words and those she does not know (it's always easy to tell when she doesn't) and often puts the wrong emphasis on syllables in a word or words in a sentence, as if she is reading without full comprehension. She's tolerable and not the worst I've ever heard by any means, but it's hard to lose oneself in the story if the narrator isn't guiding properly.
Only if she does another in this series, because the books are good enough to put up with her slightly clumsy style of narrating.
Yes, despite the narrator. I love this book enough to own both a physical copy and the audiobook, and always enjoy re-reading or listening to it again.
This book is typical of the series and quite an enjoyable tale however the narrator was seriously lacking. Not meaning to be absolutely insulting to her but is English her second language? Forgive me but it certainly took away from enjoying the story when I was left wondering why certain phrases were recited in a certain way.
Fun, fresh, satisfying.
This isn't serious literature, but a delightful romp for the imagination. If too much reality is leaving a bad taste in your mind, listen to this book for a sweet and light-hearted reimagining of the Puss in Boots concept. I didn't cry, but I grew quite fond of the main characters and laughed a lot.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Reserved for the Cat is the sixth stand-alone novel in Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS series of fairytale retellings. As the title might suggest, Reserved for the Cat is a “Puss in Boots” story and it’s actually recognizable as such (unlike some of Lackey’s other retellings that go too far afield from their sources).
Ninette, our heroine, is an orphaned ballet dancer who has lots of talent but is fired from her gig with a famous Parisian ballet company after inadvertently evoking the jealousy of the company’s reigning diva. Unable to get more work in Paris, she is about to prostitute herself when a talking cat appears and promises to make her a superstar. The cat leads her to a seaside town in England where she impersonates a famous Russian dancer and joins a local troupe of entertainers. Things go well until she attracts the attention of the real Russian dancer whose body has been absorbed by a shape-shifting troll. Her new friends, including the cat, must defeat the troll.
Lackey’s best fairytale retellings are the ones that stay close to the source material. It’s fun to recognize elements from the original fairytales and admire how Lackey re-works them into a new, more modern, story. Reserved for the Cat is fun that way, but the characterization in this novel is weak. Ninette, while she is likable and easy to feel for, doesn’t exhibit much of her own agency. This is, of course, mostly due to the Puss in Boots premise, but it doesn’t make for an engaging heroine. Her personality is as small and delicate as her body. Unfortunately, the people in her supporting cast seem even paler and are nearly interchangeable.
The story includes a couple of Lackey’s over-the-top sadist villains, her usual man-hating cynical commentary about women’s roles in 19th century European societies and the deplorable state of orphanages, some sloppy plotting, and a quick and unsatisfying ending. I have no idea why all of the characters except Ninette are told who the cat actually is. And why, if the villain is such an awesome mage, is it so hard for her to kill Ninette? She’s like a James Bond villain; she keeps constructing these elaborate traps for Ninette instead of just finding and killing her. It wouldn’t be that hard — Ninette is on a public stage every day and the villain is a shapeshifter. Duh. And why are Ninette’s own powers inconsistent, random, and convenient? And why is the magic system never consistent among the ELEMENTAL MASTERS books? Oh well. I did like the cat.
The audio version of Reserved for the Cat is 11 hours long and nicely narrated by Mirabai Galashan.
"Not well read"
The book is charming, but I would not purchase another book read by this narrator. She seems to me to read the words rather than the story.
"A favourite author"
Mercedes Lackey is an author I found by happy accident. Not suitable for people who like a lot of depth to their reading, but an enjoyable escape from reality. I discovered fantasy fiction after retirement, having been introduced to it by my daughter, and I must say I am enjoying this new branch of literature. It's not often you discover something so refreshingly new at my age.
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