It’s a book with a talking cat, a feisty heroine, adventure, romance, an ogre and magic. What more could you want? Did I mention the talking cat? I love a talking cat.
This is the sixth book in KM Shea’s timeless fairytales series but is actually a prequel to Wild Swans, an earlier book in the series. While there is some overlap with this book it still works really well as a standalone.
The story follows Gabrielle, the Miller’s daughter and one of the most beautiful girls in the land. Unfortunately her beauty brings her unwanted attention. She is unable to walk through town without boys propositioning her and girls hating her. When her parents decide to leave her with no inheritance but the stray cat that has been hanging around it’s the last straw. They insist she marry immediately to secure her future but she longs for freedom and the life of an adventurer.
As it turns out the cat, is a magical cat who can talk. He offers to accompany her on her quest for adventure if she will buy him a pair of boots. Together they end up travelling across the land from village to village battling magical creatures including goblins, witches, a mean old fairy and the gingerbread man. However Puss in Boots has a bit of an ulterior motive involving a quest for power and an ogre.
I thought this book was a really enjoyable read. It has a great pace that keeps you reading and weaves in threads from a number of different fairytales. Gabrielle was a likeable enough character however the highlight for me was Puss.
Puss, or Roland Archibald Whisperpaws the Fifth to give him his proper name, was a fantastic character and just how you imagine a talking magical cat would be. He likes everything his own way and will decide if you are worthy to be his owner. Should you be deemed worthy of the honour of becoming his mistress you will be required to obey his every command. He is affectionate on his terms only and does not take kindly to being loaned out to the village children for a game of dress up.
As a magical cat he is of course very intelligent and a cut above your average moggy, which you should never forget. He is perfectly comfortable chatting to the king and is supremely confident in any situation. Basically he was a cat and he was fabulous.
For me Puss made the story great but then I am a cat lover. I’m sure however that everyone will enjoy this magical tale of love and adventure.
The other great thing about this book is that it gives me an excuse to include a picture of my cat in a post so here he is looking decidedly evil.