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on 11 January 2010
I called my wife from work at 11am to be informed that the postman had just delivered her birthday present. I know that a new Anne McCaffrey novel is a must have for her so when I saw that the latest was due to be released around the time of her birthday, it was a pretty safe bet that it would be a present that would earn me copious brownie points (always useful). I also knew that by the time I got home she would have devoured this book. Catalyst is the first volume of a new saga from McCaffrey cowritten with Elizabeth Anne Scarborough following on from their Acorna and Petaybee series. As these series have spawned 6 (so far) and 3 volumes respectively I am certain that we will hear more of the Barque Cats. McCaffrey & Scarborough's fantasy novels are generally challenging but this new series seems a little lighter in tone. The Barque Cats in question are true work animals providing a valuable service to travellers in space keeping vermin off ships and finding Oxygen leaks. The story deals with Chessie (the Barque Cat of the title) and her human companion Janina. While the pregnant Chessie is having a check up Janina travels to a planet with a doctor to tend to sick animals. Chessie is stolen and with a litter of potentially very valuable Barque kittens on the way Janina is distraught. She is unable to rescue Chessie as it is claimed that the planet is infected with a plague and that all amimals must be destroyed. As far as my wife is concerned it was an unputdownable gem. Who am I to disagree?
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on 1 October 2010
I am a dyed in the wool Anne McCaffery fan with all of her books which I often re-read my personal favourite being the Menolly Harper of Pern trilogy, so I look forward with much anticipation to a new book. Regretfully, I was very disappointed in Catalyst. The cats are cute and cuddly and I would highly recommend this book to the parents of 5 - 10 year olds.

But it is not an adult book! The plot is obvious and simplistic, there is none of that rich charactor development that is the trademark of her Pern or shell people books the plot is sketchy and unbelievable and it is a great shame as this could have been an interesting story
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on 21 January 2010
Sorry Anne, this book doesn't do you justice. It is not up to 'standard' and I am disappointed. So much more could have been made of this book, it was twee and the story line leaves much to be desired.

My book shelf contains all your books, from 'Restoree' onwards, this one I don't know if it's destined for the cupboard under the stairs or the bin.
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on 23 February 2010
I always enjoy Anne McCaffrey's books but in her association with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough there is a certain 'tweeness' creeping in, quite absent from her co-writing with her son Todd. I think that that this book would be OK for children who are good readers, enjoy fantasy, SF and cats.
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on 21 July 2015
This is not written by Anne McCaffrey (whatever role she had in it, it was not that). The true fan will not recognise the writting style: The detail, the dialogue, the depth, the characters, the world building and inconsistencies are flagrantly amateur and, to my mind, rushed. It has none of the engrossing credibility and mesmerising detail and credible trials and tribulations, challenges and acheivements of her work.

Subsistence farmers popping to and fro on their personal shuttles to a space station at any pretext, academy trained ship crew with no other role than cat handler, Academy trained crew sent on solo EVA without basic skills, adult horse trade between underdeveloped colony worlds where easy cloning by the untrained is an everyday supermarket item?????

Hmm, 2 to 2.5 stars (dependant if you are a cat loving 8 year old or not). Even for the kids, my book shelf space is for better books than this.
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on 7 February 2010
Cat Characters are interesting and believable.
A good tale, if a little slow in parts.
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on 3 January 2011
I was thrilled to start reading this book as im a HUGE Anne McCaffrey fan. The start was promising, telling the story from the view of the cats & the humans but soon lost its charm. The introduction of strange & flat characters spoilt this book & as the next in the series "Catacombs" carries on where this one left off, im not going to rush out & buy it. This book could have been so much more. I have read all of Anne McCaffrey's books again & again, this is the only one I have read & have no intention to read again. Sorry Fans.
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on 12 December 2010
When I heard about this i made a point of buying it.

I remember earlier novels where they mentioned Basque Cats and whilst this didn't disappoint it reminded me too much of the disney movies regarding extra terrestrial cats!

Its a good book for kids but I find myself getting a little too long in the tooth to appreciate this properly.

At some point I'll pick up the sequel but until then enjoy yourselves!
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on 12 December 2015
Arrived in good time and as described, well received by Mum.
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on 18 December 2011
The Magic Duo have done it again. A delightful story told from the point of view of the cats. I can't wait to dive in to the sequel.
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