On the surface, Otters In Space: The Search for Cat Havana is an anthropomorphic animal-lover's dream, with cats, dogs, and otters walking and talking with the best of them. Dig deeper, and you'll find a compelling narrative about social class as well as rising against injustice and oppression; about what it means to have a home and the trials one is willing to go through to find that place. Otters in Space has hints of Richard Adam's Watership Down and Tad William's Tailchaser's Song, but manages a quirkiness all its own, with memorable characters and interesting turns. I wait eagerly for the next installment!
Sarina Dorie has an edge at creating relatable characters and situations in the mythic. In Dawn of the Morning Star, we’re allowed into the mythological Puritan culture of early America, which is aptly paired with a mythological creature’s appearance (the titular Morning Star), though neither is quite what we expect them to be. Though this tale has the trappings of Puritan culture and biblical allusion, the deeper questions and themes here are that of existential humanness and that ever present wonderment with the notion of love; perhaps it is how these two ideals intertwine that Dorie successfully creates a story worth reading.
After being surprised by my enjoyment of the first Otters in Space, it came as no surprise that its sequel had everything I loved about the first installment and more. The plot picks up where it left off with our feline heroine Kipper on a ship with its crazy otter crew and our canine heroine back on earth dealing with the nitty-gritty of post-human politics and cat/dog relations.
All the humor and commentary from the first book cross over quite well, but the biggest addition (beyond the deepening of characters and a broadening of plot) is a mystery on Jupiter where there have been attacks on before unknown cat colonies on the gas giant’s moons. The answer to the mystery had me jumping out of my seat and squealing with childlike joy. Otters in Space 2: Jupiter Deadly is another great installment in a powerful series that goes beyond its surface of anthropomorphic, talking animals and dives into the deeper politics of our time and our mutual hope and fear of what awaits us beyond the bounds of Earth.