Book Review: The Pharaoh’s Cat, Maria Luisa Lang
Maria Luisa Lang has written a charming adult fairy tale, The Pharaoh’s Cat, the first in a series about Wrappa-Hamen, a simple cat who is touched by the goddess Bastet and given human powers. Wrappa-Hamen can walk on two legs, eat human food, talk in real words, and read. He becomes the constant companion of the Pharaoh, the mortal enemy of the powerful and cruel Vizier, and the best friend of the High Priest Gato-Hamen.
Ms. Lang is a student of Egypt and its history. She brings her fascination with Egypt to the book, and I appreciated the immersion into Egyptian life. The themes of the book are love, friendship, and politics. Politically, the Vizier is jockeying to take command and rule Egypt. The Pharaoh is in jeopardy, and so is Wrappa-Hamen. The timeline spans two thousand years, since the High Priest and the cat become time travelers in the High Priest’s magic boat.
From beginning to end, the story is fantastical. Immediately set aside disbelief and just enjoy the story as it unfolds.
To be brutally honest, I was asked to review the second novel in the series, but I insisted on reading this first volume first. As much as I enjoyed The Pharaoh’s Cat, I did not enjoy The Eye of Nefertiti, the second book in the series. I found it choppy and uneven. Rather than just pan it, I would hope that the author will rework it, smoothing it out, fixing the typos, and reworking the character continuity inconsistencies. I think this series has great possibilities and I would like to see it succeed.