We asked for ten readers who wanted an advance reader's copy of
The Wild Road to read and review. We got many, many requests, and
randomly picked ten reader-reviewers. Their reviews are coming in by
e-mail now, and will be added to this site as they arrive for others to
John Vernon, email@example.com:
I have to admit that I volunteered to be a part of the pre-publication
review and comment process for The Wild Road by Gabriel King on a
whim. I do not often read fantasy. My tastes normally run toward hard
science fiction. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised by this
As a longtime companion to cats I must say that Gabriel King has captured
the essence of cat behavior. The behavior and actions of the cats in the
story will be very familiar to those who keep cats as companions.
Particularly striking is a description of the world from the cats'
eye-level. The author does a superb job of putting into words what every
cat owner is sure his cat must be thinking.
The author has created cat characters that quickly captured and held my
interest. I quickly came to care what happened to Tag, Cy, the King and
Queen, and the others. The addition of the fox and the magpie to the cat
characters is a nice touch. The concept of "wild roads" is brilliant. The
story is finely crafted with many twists and turns in the plot. Only
slowly do we learn about what the wild roads are and about the evil
Alchemist who must be fought.
This is one of those books you start reading a little reluctantly, not
knowing quite what to expect. Almost immediately, however, you get caught
up in the story and you can't put it down. Every cat lover who reads it
will be thinking to himself "I had a cat like . . ." several times as they
follow the story.
The author's command of the English language is impressive. I found myself
stopping several times to admire the beauty of the prose.
All in all, a compelling, enchanting, beautifully told tale. I have
already recommended it to family and friends. In the epilogue, the author
appears to leave the door open for a sequel. Let's hope so.
Susan Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org:
Thank you for the opportunity to read a really good book.
The first thing I noticed was Mr King's ability to paint a picture
of the scenes, action, and characters with a minimum of words. All through the
book I was able to "see," "hear," and "feel" what was happening and where.
(Wish I could do that!)
The Wild Road has captured the essence of cats perfectly. Their
independence, their individuality, the ability to seem to appear from
nowhere (my cats do that to me often). Some of the characters even
reminded me of my own cats or cats I've known.
The story has humor, adventure, mystery, compassion, a history
lesson, and lots of memorable characters. There's just enough reality to
make the more supernatural parts of the story believable. There is
never a dull moment in the story. The action moves seemlessly from one
phase to the next, always carrying you forward. The way the cats
interacted with each other and the dialog reminded me of Alan Dean
Foster's characters Jon Tom and Mudge. The independence of the
characters brought to mind Andre Norton's The New Breed.
This is a book for all ages. Anyone who loves cats should read
this book. And by the way, it's just my opinion, but The Wild Road would
make a great movie. Animated, of course.
Michele Ward, email@example.com:
First of all, thanks very much for the chance to be an advance reader.
I've really enjoyed the experience.
Gabriel King's The Wild Road is an extremely well-written tale. The
writing is brilliant; precise, vivid, elegant prose. The characters are
mostly very well-developed, even though I would have enjoyed reading more
about Majicou. Cy was a delight throughout, and Pertelot makes me want
to locate an Egyptian Mau breeder immediately!
The story was compelling throughout, though parts were brutal for an
animal-lover to get through. Mr. King's description of Tag's
transformation from a cherished housecat into an independent adventurer
was particularly heart-rending; in fact, it made me run for my three
cats to make sure none had escaped! While the story seemed a little too
convenient at times, it was very enjoyable and made a very satisfying
read.I look forward to reading more by Gabriel King; his writing is
absolutely not to be missed.
Valerie Milewski, VMilewski@omm.com:
Gabriel King's The Wild Road will definitely be a favorite of Furry
Fans. Humans are almost entirely secondary characters in this
story, and that's good for this story. The central characters
have a quest; this gives you an indicator as to how the story will
run, as they will either complete it or not. One of the things that
I liked best about the storyline is that for the first two-thirds of
the book, the reader only knows what the main hero knows, so
there's no "no, don't go there, you idiot!" from the reader to the
characters. After that, when the characters split into separate
groups and are followed separately, there are
no tricks of "intuition" telling one group how another is doing--only
There are definite, distinct personalities for the characters, and
Mr. King is heavily descriptive of their surroundings. For the
most part this works well, as Mr. King excels at description,
but occasionally the reader must wade through the landscape
to get to the characters. I felt for each of the characters at
different times, and watched their development throughout the
story with great interest. Mr. King does a wonderful job with
his characters, showing their full range of emotion with deft
Mr. King also has well-drawn, accurate, and interesting historical
perspective in the "Stories From The ... Life of Cats" interspersed
in the book. However, there did not seem to be any logic in the
placement of these sections.
On the whole, I greatly enjoyed the story and will look for Mr. King's
work in the future. The ending was distinctly satisfying, and I
did not feel let-down or disappointed; this tells me that Mr. King
has chosen the right profession, showing both talent and skill in
Thank you for choosing me to read this book. It was an
C. Woody Butler, Cwbutler@cebec.com:
The Wild Road was much better than I expected. When I first started
reading it seemed like your standard "Young kid goes on a quest and saves
the world" book, only with cats. Admittedly I've read a number of books
like that and I've liked them to various degrees and also I have four cats and
I like them to various degrees, but after a while you start getting that
"been there, done that" feeling.
Fortunately The Wild Road quickly shattered that "déjà vu" feeling I
was having and started winning me over. I don't know much about Gabriel
King, but one thing I do know is that this person has spent some serious
time with cats. The book starts out with the lead character as a kitten being
bought from the pet store and takes him from kittendom to catdom and his
interactions with people and the animals in the house. The animals do
speak (it's pretty much a must for a book telling the story of the rescuing
of the King and Queen of cats, after all) but they stay in character as
well. If you've ever owned a cat you'll see your cat in this story.
The lead cat in the story, Tag, is the apprentice to Majicou, who's
something like Merlin in the King Arthur legends. Majicou needs someone to
find the King and Queen of cats and bring them to their place of power,
and has chosen Tag to be his apprentice--but he can't spend any
time preparing Tag for his quest. He can only pass on a few words of wisdom
and the name of the place to take the King and Queen. Majicou also has several
non-cat followers who he pledges to send to Tag to assist him.
Tag is opposed in
his quest by what might best be discribed as an evil cat breeder, known as
The Alchemist. The Alchemist has been breeding cats since ancient times so
that he could control the "wild roads" and the power within them.
One of the things I liked best about this was the mid-story. This is still
a coming-of-age book but deeper than just coming of age, it's more a
coming-of-maturity book. As in most books of this type, Tag gathers members
of his quest as he goes along, including the King and Queen. At one point
The Alchemist splits up the group into three or four subgroups that go through
their own maturation processes, gaining self-knowledge and growing into their
roles. Some of the members die during the quest as well,
either doing good deeds or at the hands of The Alchemist. I found the
interplay and paralleling of the groups the most entertaining and
interesting, especially as they interact with humans and other cats.
I enjoyed this book very much--I'd recommend it to anybody who likes
fantasy or cats or both. Gabriel King writes very well and his cats feel
very cat-like, even within the roles they take on as the book progresses.
Gabriel King has an excellent way with the written word; his
descriptions are akin to painting, drawing the mind's eye to the beauty
or the horror he wants us to "see." Early in the book, we read how a
soap bubble has "strange, slippery colors" and that it "blundered
without a care..." Wonderful! I particularly enjoyed the story from the
point at which Tag's group splintered into smaller groups. The action
seemed to pick up considerably from that point and everything drew back
together nicely at Tintagel Point.
I liked the from-a-cat's-point-of-view similes ("the stars wheeled
overhead, as sharp as claw marks in a velvet sky" and "the water, green
and lucent as a cat's eye") and wished that King had used more of
those and fewer similes that come from a human point of view.
A couple of points--would a cat really think of his side teeth as
"carnassial"? Or would a cat of Tag's limited experience recognize
Japanese architecture? Better, perhaps, to have had Sealink, a more
traveled cat, point out the buildings as such.
If I may point out what seems to me a glaring error (though it's
probably been corrected already): how does the deaf cat, Cottonreel,
know that the two "Orientals" in the van had said anything about being
made into gloves, yet not hear Ragnar's question about the vicarage?
Overall, an enjoyable experience. I look forward to reading more of
Gabriel King's work.
I did enjoy The Wild Road for the most part. I thought the authors did
a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life, and especially from
a feline view. I could certainly see my own three cats in parts of the
story. I've even discovered a "road" that runs across my kitchen table.
I did not especially care for the portions of the book dealing with the
experimentation on the animals and I thought there were parts dealing
with it that were overlong.
The only other thing I had real trouble with was trying to "place" the
story--I wavered between England and the U.S. for the first parts of
the book. I finally realized it was England, but it was confusing.
I too had the feeling that there could be another story about Tag and
Cy; I hope that it would be of happier times. If so, I would definitely
want to read it.