Wednesday 18 September 2013

SHAT by S. Lawrence Parrish

Official Blurb

In a post-plague world where plants have suffered as much as animals, a colony of human survivors has gathered in a fortified former-luxury condominium complex they call “The Park”. These remnants of humanity are inextricably bound to their domestic cats, from which Dose (a temporary plague vaccine) is derived.
A forager army is rumored to be heading toward The Park. The Park people must prepare to defend themselves and all they have worked for, because they have made a discovery: not all cats are created equal; while regular Dose only staves off plague symptoms, the dose derived from Simon, The Park’s only Siamese cat, can be refined into SHAT, a super-dose that rejuvenates the growth of plant life. . . and which also may hold the secret to a permanent plague-cure. Problem: Simon is a neuter. If he should die, so, too, dies humanity’s one hope for survival.
Enter Sasha, a purebred female Balinese of breeding age that also produces SHAT. With the sky-rocketing tensions of increasing militarization, Sasha’s humans want to take their cat and leave The Park. But The Park people will use whatever means necessary to make them stay.

My Review

I found this story when I was trawling Podiobooks looking for new sci fi books, and when I saw this revolved around cats I HAD to listen to it.

I was hooked almost from the first instant. Being a cat owner, I found the cat P.O.V. used in some segments totally absorbing.  And that was a major part of the appeal throughout the book.  It seemed like every third chapter or so was told from the a cat's perspective. The animals relationships to one another was anthropomorphic, even to the point of them "speaking" to each other. However by making sure this never crossed over into talking to humans, it didn't ruin the mood of the piece.

Don't get me wrong this is not all about the cats, it has very strong characters who all come across as individuals with their own motivations. They are believeable people in a weird world and I wanted a happy ending for all of them.

A warning of sorts for cat lovers. Cats get torn up in hideous ways in this book. When I was considering this review, I asked myself, who was this book aimed at, not cat-lovers as the poor beasts suffer, nor was it aimed at cat-haters because the cat characters are appealing. Then it hit me. The cats in this book are treated no worse than the human characters who also get torn up in the same way. What the author's done here, is to create a post apocalyptic world that is as horrid to cats as it is to people and we the reader get to see just how horrid it is to everyone.

The book kept me hooked all the way through, the tension kept building towards the finale in just the way you want a book to.  It was a very good reading too,with a neat use of sound effects to help bring the whole thing to life.

Reading 3/3
Production 3/3
Story 3/3

Total Score 9/9

Listen to the first chapter 

Download it from the Podiobooks