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Author: Lynne Jonell
Published By: Henry Holt and Co. (2015)
Synopsis: Talking cats, a missing princess, swordfights with villains, and secret identities combine in this epic tale of bravery and self-discovery on the high seas.
Duncan is very smart. He also has a most unusual gift. So why does his mother encourage him to be perfectly average and insist he only get mediocre grades ? His special talent is the ability to talk to cats–but Duncan longs more than anything for academic success. When Duncan rebels and gets a perfect test score, people start taking notice of him. And it turns out that some of those people may not have the best intentions . . . not by a long shot. (Taken from Goodreads)
Lynne Jonell has done it again! I waited nearly a year to read her newest novel, and it was completely worth the wait. Duncan’s story is not only fascinating, but it’ll well plotted and well written, with all loose ends tied up in a satisfying ending.
There were so many things I loved about this book. It was fantasy without magic, a story that takes place in a whole another world, a whole another kingdom…The cats, which were a HUGE part of the story, were awesome. My favorite character was definitely Fia, a little kitten Duncan befriends. I really liked the way the cats played into the story without swerving the focus away from our hero (Duncan). His ability to speak Cat—that was just plain out fascinating, and that alone kept me reading. How did he learn? Why does he have this ability? Why nobody else?
The other mysteries—his mother’s overprotectiveness, the earl, the missing princess—were so intriguing that I couldn’t put the book down once I got to about chapter three. I really appreciated the way the mysteries were tied up: a few at time, enough to answer some of our questions, but still enough that need to be resolved so that we keep reading. And once the mysteries are resolved and almost everything we’ve wondered about is given answer, there’s no pointless drawn-out chapters afterwards. There’s one last chapter narrating how Duncan’s changed, and then it ends right after the final mystery is uncovered.
The characters were all so lovable—especially the cats, who were absolutely adorable. The way they were scripted in makes them seem like people, characters, not just a cat, and I love the way Lynne Jonell did it.
Negative Content / Notes:
This book gets harsh, in the sense, when it comes to cats and if you love animals and are sensitive to animals getting hurt, you may not want to read this. It’s nothing horrible, and nothing actually happens during the course of the story, but as we read, we find out about horrible things that happened before, and see the results around us. I personally was horrified, however it did not stop me from reading and I just continued on as I knew it was just another aspect to the story, something that was going to make the final ending and rescue a lot better (which it did). I was okay with it, but I think a lot of animal-lovers will have to either skip over certain chapters or not read it at all.
All in all, another amazing read from Lynne Jonell. I was capitivated from the beginning and it truly lived up to the standards!
Recommended to: I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a good fantastical adventure.