Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Choice of the Cat

With extended family in town and other things that tend to reduce free time for reading, it took me a little bit longer to get through E. E. Knight's second Vampire Earth novel, Choice of the Cat, then I might have liked. But last night, I finished it and immediately picked up the next novel in the series, Tale of the Thunderbolt. Because I happened to have picked them both up from the library at the same time.

This novel was just about as much fun to read as the first one, Way of the Wolf. Perhaps moreso, even, since there was much less set-up and a more immediate jump into post apocalyptic vampire fighting action. Of course, by vampire fighting, I mostly mean "human minion" fighting, but David Valentine does throw down with a few of the Reapers too. He leaves the wolves after being set-up by a career-savvy jerk of a CO, and is inducted into the cats... augmented humans who serve more as spies and scouts. Of course, as a former wolf, he's really a wolf-cat... he retains the augmentations of both. This point isn't made explicitly clear, although Knight does show Valentine being able to outperform his cat-only trainer in a few things, notably sense of smell and endurance, which were legacies of his wolf upbringing. Maybe he'll also end up a bear before all is said and done.

Anyway, this is a reasonably well written and fun book. I have a few minor quibbles; the main antagonist isn't properly set-up; he seems to come a little bit out of nowhere. The ending feels a bit rushed (possibly related to the former complaint) as do a few of the interpersonal relationships. The plot is, if you strip away a few of the details, almost exactly the same as the prior book's. However, none of these are crippling flaws, and like I said, I eagerly moved on into the next book literally as soon as I finished this one.

One thing that I enjoyed was the relationship and banter between Valentine and Duvalier, aka Smoke, his cat trainer. There's some incipient sexual tension, a kind of platonic partnership that's not quite platonic, and she's as interesting a character as he is. Maybe moreso in some ways. From the looks of it, she makes recurring appearances in subsequent books as well. I certainly hope so.

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