Recently I had the cold sensation of reading WAKEWORLD by Kerry Schafer. It’s quite the wintery book. For example, in the winter, I spend most of my time blocking the air vents, because the human is, you know, “at that age”, and I’m doing her this huge favor by staving off her hot flashes. I am THAT awesome of a cat! So this book is akin to when I sit on the air vents to help the human out. The printed version of this book, in fact, fits quite well over an air vent, should you lack a cat companion to assist you in this matter.
I read a lot of literary writing so this contemporary fantasy was an action-packed change of pace. Normally we cats only like action when it’s inconvenient for the humans for us to be active. Say, at one a.m. when they have to get up early the next day. Or when they accidentally leave the door open just a teeny bit, and we’re indoor cats, but HEY THE DOOR IS OPEN LET’S GO! A real burst of literary TNT, this book. In some ways it reminded me of Through the Looking Glass except with adult characters faced with tragically terrifying situations.
I will not comment on whether it’s tragic or terrifying when Big D and I do manage to escape through the front door or into the Forbidden Zone that the humans call the attic, but I will say this. The one time Big D got out for a couple hours, when he returned, he’d been snatched by aliens. That wasn’t him, you know? I had to hiss, yowl, and beat his ass whenever he came near me for a week or two until things went back to normal and the aliens let the real Big D go. It annoyed the humans to no end, but a cat’s gotta do what a cat’s gotta do.
The book starts off with two characters named Vivian and Zee faced with an admirable challenge. What’s an admirable challenge? Well, I am happy to elaborate. It’s one that involves me getting tuna and scritches at the end of it but isn’t terribly hard. So Vivian and Zee don’t have a terribly hard challenge and they’re eager to get food and scritches. They behave slowly about this, because they’re both very catlike, and you have to pretend like you don’t CARE at first, you know? Then, when that door gets left open a crack, you explode.
When Poe the Penguin is introduced, in a scene involving climbing, the plot really starts to get steamy. Penguins. Climbing. Let that sink in. I think it was inconsiderate of Vivian and Zee to expect Poe to develop climbing abilities, but actually what the hell do I care? I’m great at climbing, and Poe’s a stupid bird. Not even the kind I can eat! Jeez. Poe is alarmingly no Jennifer Lawrence. I have it on good authority Jennifer Lawrence totally likes cats and knows the right spot between the shoulder blades that needs scratching. If Poe knew the right spot to scratch a kitty, maybe Poe would get a break, but he’s too busy trying to climb.
Don’t even get me started about Weston. The involvement of Weston in the narrative will leave readers weary. Weary, weary of Weston. I’d rather laugh at some penguin trying to climb than read about Weston. Once Weston is gone, the story marvelously continues until it seems all dragons are lost, and the ending will fight you. It will fight you like a cat hiding in the attic who doesn’t want to come out! The ending will let you get really close and then take off like a cat out of hell, only to tumble around in the insulation while you freak out because you think the insulation might harm the cat.
Yep, I’d say it’s definitely a great ending. And the pace was like riding in a muscle car with a driver who is indomitable on a road that winds through a mountain top. One presumes this involves a tunnel, unless the indomitable driver = The Hulk.
If you are looking for a way to spend one day, no more and no less, this book is definitely an option. The characters and plot are so tense compared to other books on the market today. You humans love being tense. That’s why it’s so kind of us to get into the attic or run out the door. Oh, or block the air vents so you get all worried that the HVAC system is screwed up. Granted, the feline content in the book was one tiny pound, which could have been better, but no (human) author is completely mysterious. Not like cats. All in all, a humorous tale about guilt, flying and despairing. You will not be fearful if you pick this one up, unless you happen to be afraid of tunnels.
Rating: 205 rubber balls and an inspirational steak