16 October, 2010

Book Review: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

***Yes, this was supposed to be up days ago. I just didn't get around to it. Sorry!***

Title: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Genre: Adult/Science Fiction
Page Count: 382
Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Cover Rating: 1 out of 5. I don't like it. I don't "hate" it exactly, but really, couldn't they have put something a little more, I don't know, spaceship-y on it instead of people? Also, it's rather garish.

Inside flap:

Unfortunately, the inside flap for this version is mostly about how great Heinlein is. Like, "that only this master storyteller could create" and "has conjured up worlds so richly imagined and vigorously inhabited" and there's little about the actual book. So I'm going to skip this part. (Drives me bonkers when the summary sings the praises of the author, even if it's one I like.)

My expectations: I'd never read Heinlein before, so really, I didn't exactly know what to expect (I love picking up random books by well-known authors).

It was part-weird, part-strange, part-amusing.

About the book: This book made me laugh, mostly because of the crazy circumstances and some of the dialogue. (I found the whole "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles scream and shout" thing funny.) It starts out with a murder--Richard Ames (or whatever the heck his name is then) is with Gwen Novak in the Golden Rule restaurant, and a man comes along and urges him (Ames) that Tolliver has to die. He is then shot by someone in the restaurant.

Then Ames and Novak, after getting married because Gwen states she did so to prevent having to testify against him, (although I don't see the sense in not being able to testify against your partner), and they move to Luna. There's also a lot of craziness going on, like running into bandits where the control center or whatever says there are absolutely no bandits.

It was the last fourth of the book where things starter getting strange . . . strange as in people were kissing everyone else and sleeping with everyone else. They greet each other by kissing, even the guys. It's weird, I tell you.

  • Plot:
Unusual. At least relatively, compared to what I usually read. Also, the murder thing seemed to have taken a backseat, despite the fact that's what Ames (AKA Senator/Campbell) puts his attention to at the beginning.

The ending is nuts. NUTS, I tell you. It's not a bad ending at all--it's just like HUH? WHAT? Excuse me? Sequel, people, I need a sequel!

It's so darn frustrating when authors do that, although I have to say, it is effective in keeping the book in the reader's mind.

  • Characters:
Richard Ames Campbell, or whatever the heck his name is, the retired Colonel guy, is not one my favorite characters, although I can't say I hate him or anything. He can be pretty funny, and at least he keeps his head during most of it. (He only has one leg, by the way.)

Gwen Novak has spunk. She's rather unpredictable, but I did enjoy watching her. There's something unexpected about her, too--that comes out later in the book.

There are a lot of other characters; I kept getting their names mixed up. But they're all right for secondary characters.

  • Setting/Elements:
Setting was fascinating; they're traveling from place to place, including the Moon, but they never go to Earth. I wish there had been more clarification (is this a satellite, ship, or what at the beginning?) as to what they're on and where they're going--Luna, I'm assuming, is the Moon, although I don't believe it's actually called the Moon (which, with some though, would make sense--if space travel up to that level, there would many more moons available than just the Moon.)

Other: Sex, some language, violence, implied references.

And yes, I've read Stranger In a Strange Land, in case you're wondering. After I read this book. Personally, I like this one better.

Do I recommend this book? Hrrrmm. I wouldn't recommend terrifically highly, but it's not a bad book. I have only read one other book by Heinlein, so I can't grade in terms of his other work. I say, take it out if you see it in the library and need some science fiction. (Apparently, though, according to people who reviewed it on Amazon, this is a bad idea. *shrugs* A few things weren't completely explained . . . but it was coherent.)

-----The Golden Eagle
Enhanced by Zemanta


Len said...

Thanks for this, Golden Eagle! I like the way you write book reviews. This was really clearly outlined, with all of the information one might ask. And I like your honesty. I used to pick up books at random by popular authors but now stopped as the shelves are now full! :( I'm currently reading Percy Jackson Book 3...and began Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter). If I change my mind after a chapter or two, I might read something else :)

Danette said...

Your reviews are disconcerting and too conversational. I know blogging is casual but a review is a bit more serious generally and I think it is worth being a bit more opinionated. If I don't like a book, it gets a definite NO and why. If I like it then I say that I do and why. (I don't review on my blog- I reviewed for a school website). Making strong statements about why you liked it or why you didn't like it help readers know what is good or bad about the book. Being too vague "this was weird" or "the ending was nuts" is simply unclear to the prospective reader. Readers will of course disagree but the point of reviewing is to be opinionated so go out on a limb and have a strong opinion!

The Golden Eagle said...

Len: Thanks!

Danette: Yes, I agree with having an opinion, but I find that if I say exactly what I did and did not like about a book I can end up spoiling it for other readers. At least, that's what I've found myself with other reviews.

If someone explicitly says "I did not like this book be cause of ____" sometimes I find that it will reveal something that I really did not want to know and would have preferred to discover on my own.

But I will definitely take into consideration what you said--it's true that readers should know why I disagree with something.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read Heinlein, but I have one of his books. I can't remember the title, but it also has a strange cover.

Not Hannah said...

You ought to consider (if you liked this one enough to try for more Heinlein) To Sail Beyond the Sunset, which includes some of the characters here, but also has some very, very strange sex. There are four books in this sequence, actually.

To be honest, I either LOVE or LOATHE Heinlein. My favorite of his is Job: A Comedy of Justice, because it's an examination of religion that is funny and twisted and respectful at the same time.

The Golden Eagle said...

Medeia: Really? His books are kind of strange, and I wonder if they were trying to reflect that.

Not Hannah: I read that it was a series . . . somewhere. I'll check out both of your suggestions!

Jen Daiker said...

I enjoyed your review, it allowed me to really think about if I would add this to my TBR list or not. I'm afraid it really doesn't sound like something I'd read, and I couldn't agree more on the cover, giving it a 1 was nice. It is very unappealing!

Happy Weekend!

The Golden Eagle said...

I don't really like giving things zeroes . . . but maybe a 0.5 might have been better? :P LOL.