Next up: “The Book of Night With Moon” by Diane Duane.
This is a novel set in the same universe as Duane’s Young Wizards series (which will be reviewed next). It actually kicks off its own series, but I have not read the others, so this is going to be a review of “The Book of Night With Moon.”
It’s billed as an adult-level book, but I honestly think it works just as well as YA.
Rhiow and her compatriots are the wizards that keep the worldgates at Grand Central Terminal working correctly. They also happen to be cats.
In Duane’s wizardly universe, the all creation and energy was created by the One, and the Powers That Be were set to manage and assist in creation and life. The Lone Power, wishing to create something unique, introduced entropy and death to the universe, setting Itself as the enemy of Life for all time. Wizards, those people who take the Oath and learn to use the Speech, are tasked by the One to fight the Lone Power and slow down entropy. Wizards can be found in most sentient species.
The plot of “The Book of Night With Moon” is set off by the arrival of Arhu, a tom-kitten in the middle of his wizardly Ordeal– the first ‘mission’ given to those who have taken the Wizard’s Oath; pass and you become a wizard, fail… and you’re usually dead. Rhiow and the others get drawn into Arhu’s Ordeal, set against the Lone Power and an army of dinosaur-like creatures massing to invade our reality through the disrupted gates.
I’m very much a cat person (I grew up with them and now have two furry little sweethearts of my own) and I have to say, your enjoyment of this book will be greatly increased if you are familiar with cat behaviors and quirks. Duane has definitely spent some time observing cats; the way they are portrayed and their cat-culture built is spot on. I would completely believe that my cats run off to fight entropy every day when I’m at work.
The first time I read this book, I wasn’t sure that I liked it, mostly because some bad stuff happens and I was so distraught over it that I kind of took it out on the book. But I suppose that is the mark of a good book– one that can evoke emotions like that, make you suffer when the characters suffer, grieve when they grieve.
While I don’t love this book as much as I love the Young Wizards series, it is still a very worthy look at Duane’s wizardly universe’s cat society and feline wizards. There are so many little things that make the depiction so great– the ability of cats to see the worldgate energies (no wonder they stare off into nothing so often), Rhiow’s interactions with her humans… They are great and add spots of humor to the story, which also has its fair share of tragedy.
Tiny reference to sex (of the ‘fade to black’ variety). Mildly salty language. Violence and a little bit of gore.