Cats are never what they seem . . .
When Linnea Vulkane agrees to spend the summer with her grandfather, Heff, while her mother goes on a photography job, little does she know that the lack of internet at Grandpa Heff’s cabin will be the least of her concerns. The teenager soon discovers that neither the four barn kittens nor her cranky grandfather are quite what they seem. The legends of the old gods are truer than Linn could have imagined, and their deadly feuds soon threaten to entrap her and her charges. Linn’s boring summer becomes a race against time in this fast-paced short novel suitable for readers age 13 and older that blends mythology, science-fiction, and adventure.
Linn, charged with guarding the precocious kittens, learns that the rivalries of the old ones, once worshipped as gods, are coming to a boil once more. And this time her family is caught in the middle. When her grandfather’s enemies attack, surviving puts Linn’s resources to the test as she tried to reach a friend; a friend who may be as dangerous as the enemy. Linn, and her grandfather’s supporters, race to keep the kittens safe while trying to discover a way to, perhaps, help end the war of the gods.
Cedar Sanderson weaves a tightly-paced, readable story. Adults familiar with mythology will recognize old friends (and enemies), while younger readers will enjoy discovering the great stories along with Linn. Although not a YA novel per se, the book is quite suitable for younger readers. Most of the battles and gore occur “off-stage,” and teenagers will sympathize with Linn’s frustrations when the adults tell her “You’ll find out later.” Although tense, the story is never depressing or hopeless. Sanderson has dropped easter eggs for fans of classic science fiction and fantasy, with winks and nods to a number of authors and works. She never quite breaks the “fourth wall,” but older sci-fi fans will appreciate the tidbits.
In sum, Cedar Sanderson’s tale, Vulcan’s Kittens, is a highly enjoyable adventure, accessible to all readers.