Sunday 1 May 2011

Book Review - Middle Passage & Cat's Cradle

Title: Middle Passage
Author: Julia Golding
Series: Cat Royal (novella)
Publisher: Egmont Books
Release Date: October 2010
Available as PDF download on Authors Website here or as a Kindle download on Amazon.

Summer 1792.  Our favourite adventurer, Cat Royal, is sailing home from the Caribbean in the company of Billy Shepherd.  They stumble into a mystery in the Azores involving stargazers, thieves and far too many wasps.  A novella free to download. 

My Review
This is a short novella set after the events in 'Black Heart of Jamaica'. Cat is travelling home aboard the Dolphin with Billy Shephard. When the ship is caught in a storm they must stop over on a small island for boat repairs. Cat is taken in by a small family, the children decide to share their passion for Astronomy with Cat, watching the skies and discovering planets. 
But Cat's stay isn't peaceful, when her hosts very expensive telescope gets stolen, she sets out to help them find the culprit.
This gives us a new look at Billy and Cat's growing relationship, I don't think I like thier blossoming friendship but it certainly makes it interesting, their bickering and quips at each other are ever amusing.
This is a great little story if, like me, you are begging for more of Cat's adventures. Well written and fills in part of their journey.

My Rating
I would give this novella 9.5/10 fills in a good gap but I missed some of the other characters. Good plot line though.

Title: Cat's Cradle
Author: Julia Golding
Series: Cat Royal (book 6)
Publisher: Egmont Books
Release Date: 4th April 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1405243056

Cat Royal spins a tale about the search for her family, weaving in friends and foes, old and new. Her journey takes her from riotous London to a revolutionary cotton mill on the River Clyde in Scotland.And a mysterious newcomer is introduced...So take your seats, ladies and gentlemen: the Industrial Age has arrived.

My Review
I have been waiting to read this since book 5 came out two years ago. It has been a long wait but definitely worth it. 
Cat has now traveled around the world but is finally heading back  to London. Upon arrival she parts ways with Billy Shephard and goes back to her old turf, welcomed back by old friend Syd and the Butcher's Boys Gang she feels like she is home. But before she has a chance to settle down properly Mr Sheridan calls round with some very interesting news. He has had word from a woman who could possibly be related to Cat. Piecing together clues from when she was abandoned as a baby it looks likely, but Cat must travel to find out.
With her new friend Bridget, Cat sets off for Scotland determined to find out if she really does have a family. I loved this book, I've been hoping all through the series that Cat will find out where she came from and this book is a lovely journey of self-discovery. Cat is growing up and getting more independent, but still very attached to her friends. I love her loyalty but also her urge for adventure.
She ends up working in a Cotton Mill, this is very well researched and I found it very interesting, you really learn about how those places worked back in 1792! There is a host of new characters in this book and I love little Jeannie, so sweet. Although I did miss the presence of Pedro, something feels wrong without him by Cat's side, but I can see how it fits with the story, just hope he will be in any future stories.
Once again the writing carries you away and makes you feel as if you are right there next to Cat and her friends. I laughed out loud in places and teared up in others. Very well done. I'm hoping there will more in the series. Julia Golding says on her website she is hoping for nine books in the series but the Publishers have to agree and give the OK, if they have any sense they won't hesitate. 
The only disappointment I have is that they have changed all the books to these new covers and are no longer going to release it in the old design. I'm very picky about my collection and like all my books to match. But it looks like in this case I'll have to be content with what I have.
Overall another great Cat Royal book and I'm sorry to say goodbye to a character who has come to life like a friend. Will have to re-read them some time to get re-acquainted, farewell for now Miss Royal. 

My Review
I would give this book 9.5/10, another fantastic adventure with Cat, really moving and full of fun. Took half a point off for the new covers and absence of Pedro :D    

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