The Cat Kin by Nick Green
|The Cat Kin by Nick Green|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: An exciting and unusual adventure story. You may need to suspend belief a little, but it's worth it!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: June 2010|
|Publisher: Strident Publishing Ltd|
A group of misfit children find themselves at the local sports centre having arrived to take various different classes but find they're all part of a group being run by the strange Mrs Powell who teaches them about Pashki. Pashki shows them how to 'find their inner cat' as it were (I know - bear with me, it does get better!) and utilise their new skills to move quietly, stealthily and even super-humanly across fences, tree branches, skipping from pole to pole and even from one bus rooftop to another in an exciting chase sequence. Ben and Tiffany both have their own sets of troubles at home, and so Pashki becomes an escape for them both. However, they soon find their new skills get them into more trouble than they could ever have imagined.
I was a bit doubtful when I started reading this book. The whole idea of Pashki felt a bit too contrived for me, with the children having to learn about Catras, how to channel the energy from them to give them cat-like balance and agility, practising various cat-like poses and then making moulds of their faces so that they could apply some sort of cat make-up. However, underneath all the Pashki talk there's a great adventure story and once I stopped thinking about things too much I found I was hooked in and eagerly reading on and on to find out what happens. I'm sure lots of children will actually enjoy all the mysticism about Pashki and the lessons the children have with Mrs Powell, and once the children begin to use their new skills in the real world you see how they're applying everything they've learned in fantastic, exciting ways.
With two main characters, Ben and Tiffany, I found the story had a nice balance and felt like neither a book that was aimed at girls or boys and was simply an exciting adventure story. They both have difficult lives at home, for different reasons, and the two stories tie in together really well. I thought the interaction between Ben and Tiffany was believable, and I liked that in this book not quite everything works out with a tidy happy ending. The story is paced well, and gets very exciting towards the end. My only real issues were firstly the idea of Pashki, which is just a personal dislike for me, but secondly I was unhappy with the way the final action sequence ends. I don't want to give the story away, but I was disappointed at how the loose ends are tied up, so although it leaves the book open to a sequel I would have preferred to have actually seen all the events happen rather than have it later related to me by the characters.
It's probably best for children aged from about ten years and upwards, although younger readers might enjoy it as long as they can cope with some scenes of cruelty and violence. There's nothing too graphic, but there is some cruelty to animals and a kidnap that felt a bit scary. Otherwise, it's action and adventure all the way in what I found to be a very gripping read.
I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
For more cat-ish adventures try The Time-travelling Cat and the Great Victorian Stink by Julia Jarman.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Cat Kin by Nick Green at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Cat Kin by Nick Green at Amazon.com.
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