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Copyright 2000 Tara K. Harper.  All rights reserved.

Cataract
Reviews and Review Excerpts


 Cataract thumbnail sketch: link to cat_2 file

Cataract
  By Tara K. Harper
         

Review:  Here, Kitty, Kitty (revisited)

Dateline: 08/27/97
Review by Howard V. Tayler

This review is reprinted here with permission from Howard Tayler.
Review Copyright 1997, by Howard Tayler

This was the book that I was hoping for. When I read the sequel, Cat Scratch Fever, I was a little disappointed at how little the cats actually figured into the story. Cataract, however, did not let me down.

But first a little background: the protagonist, Tsia, is a former member of the Guides guild, which means she was infected with a "gate" virus that would establish a telepathic/empathic link between her and a randomly selected family of animals. It might be bacteria, it might be this planet's equivalent of killer whales.

Felines, however, are supposed to be off-limits. The Guides used them heavily during the exploration of the planet, and afterwards drew up the "Landing Pact" which released that family of animals from any future human interference. Unfortunately for Tsia, her gate links her to the cats, and there is nothing she can do to change that.

Tsia is now 10 years past the events in the prequel, and has been working with the mercenaries guild for that time, hiding from her past with great success. She is currently working a contract with several other mercs, and things are starting to go wrong.

The first thing that goes wrong is that Tsia decides to rescue a drowning cougar cub. This "cub" turns out to be over a year old and already way to big to be a pet. After its rescue, it bonds with Tsia, and she can't get it to go away. It interferes with her concentration, and if she links with it and starts trying to make use of the nuisance in her head, she is breaking the law in a Big Way.

Well, things continue to go wrong for this band of mercenaries, and the book never lets up. The events in the story take place in close to the same time frame as the average reader will read them, assuming breaks for meals and sleep (the entire story spans little more than a day and a half). Depending on how easily wrapped up in stories you are, you may need neither.

The plot elements include some very basic, human concerns like love, trust, and the lack of either, as well as some finer points of Ms. Harper's technology that will require the reader to think about what is being presented and try to figure out the implications from there. I really like the setting the author has created -- the technology is believable workable, and predictably fault-intolerant. Machines have better safeguards on them than ours do, but employed incorrectly or jury-rigged carelessly, they can still kill you.

Just like real-life. If you've every blown a tire on the freeway, or had a chainsaw jump at a knot in the log, you'll understand.

Reasons to Read:

  • Solid characters on a solid stage: this book will stand up to re-reading.

  • While not quite non-stop, the action will keep fans of adventure happy.

Reasons to Not Read:

  • Reading Cat Scratch Fever is probably a prerequisite, and I did not enjoy that book as much.


Copyright 2000 by Tara K. Harper
All rights reserved.  It is illegal to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, any part of this copyrighted file without permission in writing from Tara K. Harper.  Permission to download this file for personal use only is hereby granted by Tara K. Harper.


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