The Pharaoh’s Cat

The Pharaoh's Cat Book Cover The Pharaoh's Cat
Pharaoh's Cat
Maria Luisa Lang
Fantasy
Maria Luisa Lang
May 16, 2015
Paperback
182

The Pharaoh’s Cat, a tragicomic fantasy narrated in the present tense by the cat himself, tells of a free-spirited, wise-cracking stray in ancient Egypt who suddenly acquires human powers and immediately captivates the young Pharaoh, making him laugh for the first time since his parents’ death.

The cat becomes the Pharaoh’s constant companion and, at the royal palace and on a tour of Egypt, participates in the festivities, developing an insatiable appetite for good food, wine, and gossip. Gradually, he renews the Pharaoh’s ability to enjoy life and inspires him to become a stronger leader. The bond of selfless love they share will change Egypt’s destiny.

The cat has a good friend in the High Priest of the god Amun-Ra and seeks his help in solving the mystery of his human powers and the supernatural manifestations that plague him. He has a mortal enemy in the Vizier—the second most powerful man in Egypt--who hates him for his close relationship with the Pharaoh. The Vizier’s persecution of the cat ultimately results in his fleeing with the High Priest to present-day New York City, where they find an ally in an Egyptologist’s daughter.

Maria Luisa Lang was born in Rome and lives in New York City. She has a degree in art history and is an amateur Egyptologist. The Pharaoh's Cat is her first novel. The Eye of Nefertiti, both a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat and a stand-alone novel, is also available on Amazon in paperback and in a Kindle edition.

 

The Pharaoh’s Cat and its sequel, the Eye of Nefertiti, were sent to me complementary by the author for a pair of honest reviews.

This book is a fun little story about a talking cat in ancient Egypt and his best friend the Pharaoh. The historical references are not too detailed so anyone could follow that aspect of the book easily enough. Most of the references do with Egyptian mythology but stick to its more well-known areas. I knew the references thanks to Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles so it is nothing too complex.

Wrappa-Hamen, the talking cat protagonist, is pretty much what I would expect if cats could really talk. He has a good heart, but tends to unintentionally cause trouble as he constantly tries to get food and avoid doing things he considers too much work. He also intentionally causes his fair share of trouble as well. The key good guys are the Pharaoh and the High Priest. While the Pharaoh is Wrappa-Hamen’s beloved companion, the High Priest is more of a friend and advisor. And of course, there is the evil Vizier. Forever following the unwritten rule that Vizier’s must be evil in stories such as these.

One thing I did not like about the book is that it felt too short. That is not to say the story needed more content overall. It felt like The Pharaoh’s Cat did not have enough meat on its bones. Things are not quite fast paced enough to feel rushed, but with more details added in the book could have been another 100 pages and it would have been fine. Some of the magical phenomenon are accepted quickly by the “normal” characters and certain events are more summarized than explained.

It is nice to see a fantasy book where the presence of magic is not overdone. Beyond Wrappa-Hamen being able to walk and talk, the presence of magic is subtle. Not every fantasy book needs wizards casting Magic Missile at the darkness; a small touch of magic here and there is still enough to give the story what it needs. Ultimately it was the short length of the book that made me decide on 3 stars instead of 4, but I like to think of The Pharaoh’s Cat as more of a 3.5 (if only the rating system would allow that). It was exciting enough to make me look forward to the sequel, which I will be reviewing next.

March 5, 2017

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