Book Review: Cat’s Claw by Amber Benson (Finding The Epic in the Calliope Reaper-Jones Novels)Author: Dawson S. | Filed under: Books
Growth and evolution are the primary driving factors in the life of a human being. No matter how hard we try, we can’t help but change as people over time. Our experiences shape us, and that fundamental truth underlies this entire book.
Calliope, in Cat’s Claw, has grown from the girl she was in Death’s Daughter. She’s garnered a bit of fame from her exploits in the previous books and isn’t really sure how she feels about it (Food for Thought: is this a bit of the author’s experience coming through in her characters?). She’s also begun to see her family in a new light. I’m reminded of that time around your early to mid-twenties when you begin to realize that those people who stick by you (whatever you may have thought of them before) probably care about you more than you realize and it wouldn’t hurt to be nicer to them.
Lastly, she begins another quest and some of the epic-ness this trilogy will cover peeks out from behind the curtain, prepping for taking center stage (I imagine, in the third and final book). In this book, Calliope is left largely to her own devices to find a missing soul for Cerberus (who’s called in his favor), try to help Daniel who’s shade has been stolen by a cat who turns out to be the Goddess Bast, figure out what’s going on with Jarvis and Clio who’ve begun behaving oddly, and somehow try to get some time with Daniel and spit out the fact that she’s, y’know, in love with him. In between, there are twists, turns, betrayals, deaths, and several men for Calliope to drool over.
Whew. If that sounds like a roller-coaster ride then you really are getting a feel for what it’s like reading this book. It’s a great adventure, and a fun read, with overtones of even more greatness to come.
You see, in the same way Calliope has grown, Ms. Benson has grown as an author as well (or has made a choice to step up her game in this book, one of the two). Cat’s Claw is the beginning of the epic feeling of this story. Sea Verge begins to take on some of the mythic qualities that the home of Death should embody. Calliope begins to discover that she perhaps has more power than she imagined. The afterlife has some real life breathed into it (sorry, I can’t resist a good pun…) and we really start to sense how it looks and feels. Back stories are slowly revealed and characters besides Calliope get fleshed out (Jarvis and Clio especially).
The only nit-pick I’d have about this book actually relates to how the trilogy has been structured. I’ll be honest, if some of this vastness of the story Ms. Benson intended to tell had been made felt in the first book, it likely would have drawn in more readers, because this one is a far more enjoyable read. I remember hearing somewhere that the original idea was to write one long book, and I suspect that when it was changed to be a trilogy not too much thought was put into how it would need to be restructured to accommodate multiple releases. Sometimes, growth and change can be messy to handle.
Regardless, this book was really a great read and am waiting anxiously for the final book. Can’t wait!
Some of my favorite tid-bits from Cat’s Claw:
"Whenever I went to Hell, I always left bloodier than I had come."
"Death 101, or How Does That Persnickety Afterlife Work?"
"…that mankind was all the same on the inside, no matter how different they seemed on the outside."