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Jay Bell led a quiet life in Kansas until the day he met a handsome foreign exchange student named Andreas who swept him off his feet and carried him all the way to Germany. Much to their delight, marriage awaited them when they got there. While living so distant from friends and family, Jay began writing in an effort to reconcile the mixture of devotion and alienation he felt. This resulted in a Lambda Literary Award and a film option for his best-selling novel Something Like Summer. Jay and Andreas have since relocated to Chicago where their adventures continue, as do those of the characters in their emotionally driven Something Like… series. Jay pens the stories and Andreas provides the cover art, making them books about love, forged by love.
on Nov. 14, 2011 :
Great YA book. The style reminds me of one a writer I liked as a kid: Pierce Anthony.
It's nice to have a story with gay characters with an intersting plot and this book fits the bill. If you like engaging characters, adventure and a trip back to your childhood, you should definitly read this book!
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on Sep. 07, 2011 :
Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! a Chimera, a werewolf, and a Pegasus too. These were but a few a few of the creatures encountered by Dylan, the main character of 'The Cat in the Cradle' by Jay Bell on his fantastical quest to restore order to his world.
Jay Bell did a good job of presenting Dylan's progress from a spoiled older boy to that of a competent young man. With each achievement Dylan grew in stature, gradually became more responsible and decisive. An important development in Dylan's quest for autonomy was his decision to come out to the world and proclaim his love for Tyginn which laid the ground work for him to operate in complete honesty.
The plot was consistent, but at times it was difficult to maintain an even reading pace. Some sections were naturally slower because of all the important background information explaining the fantasy world; without it, the story would have made little sense. Like Dylan's journey toward manhood, the beginning of the story was a little stiff; but when things became exciting, it loosened up and began to fly by with me practically running to keep up with the action.
The imaginings in the story were inventive and unique—the five lands themselves, the animals, the gods, the religious beliefs were all very creative and consistent. Jay Bell pleasantly surprised me with some of his twists and turns in the tale. One concept I especially appreciated was Jay Bell's excellent use of colors to convey mood, emotion, temperament, and pace. It was quite effective, particularly in distinguishing between the 10 oligarchs. Using a specific color to denote each of their realms was brilliant. Considering the detailed information involved, I would never have been able to keep it straight without these associations.
The concept of a large, talking cat, particularly one with Kio's wit, delighted me. His perspective added to the story in a humorous and important way. He could say and do what humans dared not.
'The Cat in the Cradle' was an enjoyable fantasy adventure with unique characters whose personality quirks added both levity and intensity. Along with all of the magic, intrigue, suspense, and romance was an important moral lesson; as William Shakespeare wrote, 'Above all: To thine own self be true'. This is an excellent message not only for the YA readers for whom this story was written, but for us all.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)