Despite my grand plans for this blog, I got caught up with school and didn’t have any time to write. Well, now I do.
My first peace offering is the fabulous tales of Cat Royal by British author Julia Golding. Apparently they’ve been out for some time, but the general YA public does not seem to be aware of the infectious appeal that this mystery series has.
The books I’ve read are:
The Diamond of Drury Lane: The audience is introduced to Cat Royal, orphan of the Theater Royal, London. Her patron, Mr. Sheridan, has asked for Cat’s help protecting his hidden diamond. Cat, always glad to help, agrees, but has no idea where this diamond is to protect it. She lands herself in some scrapes trying to find out with her new pals African runaway slave, Pedro, and Frank, the son of the Duke of Avon. To top it all off, Cat lands herself in the middle of a territorial gang rivalry, the law, and the possibility of treason!
Cat Among the Pigeons: In this installment of Cat’s adventures, she confronts Pedro’s owner, Mr. Hawkins, when he comes to claim him and makes a nasty enemy. As they try to use English law, the abolitionists, and Pedro’s talents to free him, Cat makes another blunder when she is required to go into a gentleman’s club, is manhandled by Hawkins, and creates a ruckus that upsets the patrons over the mistake of adding a female. Ever a feisty one, she is once again pursued by the law and flees to seek shelter with Frank and his friend Charles Hengrave at Westminister School, masquerading as a boy. Meanwhile, Pedro has been kidnapped and they must all find him before he’s shipped away and trapped as a slave again.
Den of Thieves: With the theater being demolished and rebuilt, Cat feels she is losing her true home. Her other friends, except Frank, are traveling abroad, and Mr. Sheridan trusts she will “land on her feet.” Determined to find her own way in the world since she has no home and no family but the theater, Cat attempts to sell her manuscripts to a publisher but is instead tricked when the publisher prints her as a disreputable hoyden. Mr. Sheridan and Frank come to her rescue, but the once brazen Cat is disheartened and downtrodden from her experience. To pluck her up, Sheridan sends her as a political correspondent to France, where the revolution has changed history. Pretending to blend in with the returning theater ballerinas, she and Frank fall into the middle of uproar as King Louis has run away, they are suspicious foreigners (one an aristocrat!), and a conflict between the rival leaders of thief gangs. Once again, Cat becomes common royalty and uses her wits, charm, and attitude to save her friends and herself.
Golding does an excellent job of using common speech to draw the reader into the world of 18th century London. Her characters are entertaining and well drawn but become beloved to the reader. If you like a load of danger, mischief, and verbal sparring with your historical fiction, then this is a wonderful read for you! Cat’s adventures continue in Cat O’ Nine Tails, but I believe the rest of the series is not available to be published in the US as of yet. Check out http://www.juliagolding.com for more on Cat and her friends. Fans of Ally Carter or Violet Haberdasher, perhaps even Anne Rinaldi will like this series.
Personally, my favorite in the series so far is Cat Among the Pigeons. My favorite characters are Frank (and of course Cat) and Charlie. Apparently I just cannot resist gentlemanly young lords.
Now, three upcoming books I am really excited about:
The earliest is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, author of the Shiver trilogy, out September 18th.
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone is out in November.
And lastly, my most anticipated YA book out this fall, Reached by Ally Condie, the third in the Matched trilogy, also out in November.
Hopefully I will have more recommendations to give you as I get caught up on my blogging and recent readings of the past year (yes, the ones I promised in my last blog post ages ago).
I also hope to blog on some significant factors in the recently popular The Hunger Games series, my first reading of The Great Gatsby (*see disclaimer below) and my newest book, The Secret Prince, by Violet Haberdasher.
*Disclaimer: I was not taught traditional literature in high school. They seem to have found it more pressing to constantly shove grammar down our protesting throats. I , the upset lover of books even classics, attempted to educate myself. Sadly, there have been many I have missed. I am once again trying to right the past wrongs. Forgive me as I do so!
Edit: (September 7, 2012) I requested the fourth book, Cat O’ Nine Tails from the library. I started and finished it today. In this adventure, Cat, Frank, Pedro, and Syd are press-ganged into the Royal Navy aboard the ship Courageous. The purser (keeper of the stores) is a greedy and cruel liar, and the captain’s a crazy. Cat is forced to be the purser’s cabin boy and act as hostage for the other boys’ cooperation, because the reality is that someone has paid gold to rid the English shores of Frank, the Earl of Arden and heir to the dukedom of Avon. They sail for the West Indies, and no one’s lot is as miserable as Cat’s. She is beaten, maligned, starved, and worked to death, all to keep her friends safe. Can she survive to set things right and still save Frank from his enemies?
Really, this was a delightful read. I was laughing, crying, and wishing so violently for some ill crime (unladylike, I know) to come to the evil captain and purser. There are some romantic moments and some amusing moments, but really it’s about Cat learning to make her own way in life and stick her neck out for what she wants. She does reach America and Indians are involved. I must say, as far as romance goes, I love Syd, but he’s much too good for Cat. He takes care of her yet won’t let her really be free. I suppose you could say he’d definitely be a devoted husband, but she’d feel suffocated. Pedro is like her brother. Billy is, well, a cutthroat despite his attempts to be gentlemanly. Frank…can’t really decide what he wants although his family probably wouldn’t mind considering his mother is a commoner too…but secretly I hope it’s Frank, even if I really do like Charles Hengrave too. I absolutely love (!!!!!!) this series now and honestly wish some publishing bigwigs could get a move on about bringing the rest of the books to the US.
Rating: Great reads! Seriously needs more attention in the US than its getting! Possible future buy if more books come out.