From School Library Journal
Grade 5–9—On a bright Texas night, the elderly and infirm Cat Master, the spiritual leader of all cats, tries to contact his successor, Buddy, through mind speak. Unfortunately, his message is telepathically intercepted by would-be usurper Jett. A chain of events is set in motion that causes Buddy to leave his pampered life Indoors to return to the Outs and a feral lifestyle, in order to claim his birthright. This story is as old as Cain and Abel, and Pemberton has borrowed heavily from a tradition of stock characters and predictable situations. There are the annoyingly naive kittens, Zekki and Pris, who can't see danger while it's holding the door open for them, and the evil Jett, who's every dastardly deed cues maniacal laughter. There is an overuse of capital letters to indicate everything from The Law that dictates all areas of feline behavior to The Boy, left behind by Buddy, Zekki, and Pris while they fulfill their destinies. Fortunately, a strong cast of supporting characters covers a multitude of melodramatic sins and keeps the action moving to an ultimately satisfying conclusion. The use of swearing in a few situations seems unnecessary. The Cat Master
should find an audience with readers waiting for the latest entry in Erin Hunter's "Warriors" series (HarperCollins).—Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA
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As he lies dying, the old Cat Master, spiritual leader of all felines, notifies his chosen successor telepathically, but the evil Jett intercepts and scrambles the message. Indoor-cat Buddy, a former Feral and the message's intended recipient, is left confused. In a bid to become Cat Master himself, Jett stalks his unwitting rival, forcing Buddy back outside after harming those close to him. As the magnitude of Buddy's quest slowly becomes clear, and with the help of four other cats, two dogs, a lizard, a possum, and a mockingbird, the brave feline works to turn the tables on Jett. The characterizations of the various animals are well limned, combining their sentience with realistic behaviors typical of the various species. The suspense is palpable, and, a few minor inconsistencies notwithstanding, this first novel will appeal to fans of animal fantasies along the lines of Erin Hunter's Warrior series, which began with Into the Wild (2002). Estes, Sally