Thank you to Chris Behrsin and Lola’s Blog Tours for the complimentary access to A Cat’s Guide to Bonding with Dragons. My thoughts are my own, my review is honest, and I loved this book so much I have asked to join the ARC team for future installments of this series!
For the original tour post I featured, head over here.
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About the Book
A Cat’s Guide to Bonding with Dragons
Dragoncat Book One
by Chris Behrsin
Published 28 December 2020
Genre: Humorous Fantasy
Page Count: 224
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
The unlikely duo who might just save the world
Ben must be the hungriest cat ever…
One moment, he was enjoying a breakfast of salmon trimmings in his home in South Wales. The next, he was teleported across time and space onto the cold stone floor of an evil warlock.
Locked in the warlock’s tower through day and night, Ben may have to serve him for a while. He’ll hate this, especially having to hunt those infernal demon rats when the warlock doesn’t feed him well at all.
Meanwhile, in a distant academy, a dragon is bored out of her mind. Unable to wear a saddle, no human dares mount her. Is there anyone in this land who can ride her into battle against the forces of the evil warlocks? Somehow, she doubts she’ll ever find a suitable bond.
Unless there is another creature with enough dexterity to fulfil that role. One, perhaps, who is currently sprinting right out of a warlock’s front door…
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My Rating: 5 Stars
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A Cat’s Guide to Bonding with Dragons is the story of Ben, a Bengal cat who was rudely ripped from his quiet UK home and pulled through an inter-dimensional to serve the warlock Astravar… but Ben quickly escaped and found himself at a school of dragon riders where he bonds with a particularly stubborn dragon named Salanraja who doesn’t want a human rider because the humans want to trim her spikes in order to fit her with a saddle. The two bond, earning Salanraja a free ticket out of saddles forever and promising Ben the prospect of shared meals. Unfortunately for Ben what awaits this unlikely pair is a whole lot of difficult misadventures dealing with all the other things Astravar wants to pull into this dimension, appeasing the council in charge of the school, and not a whole lot of eating.
I absolutely adore Ben! If dragons were real and one chose to bond with a cat, this is exactly what would happen, and Ben tells her exactly what I would expect a cat to say at every twist and turn. He’s regal, proud, selfish, extremely food-motivated, and absolutely must have the last word. He’d like everyone to know that he’s not just any cat, either. He’s a Bengal! He’s descended from the great Asian Leopard Cat, don’t you know. Yes, be in awe! Isn’t he magnificent, graceful, and clever!
There were so many catitude moments in this book that made me chuckle and/or consult with my own feline overlords, such as when Ben insists he must go outside to relieve himself rather than go under the desk because he has to do it on something soft. That sounds about right! My only critique in terms of cat accuracy is a line where Ben lands wrong and complains to himself that he hurt his knee. Technically yes, there is a “knee” joint in the hind legs on both canine and feline skeletons, but it’s barely separate from the trunk of the body and it’s usually called a stifle. The main mid-leg joint on all four limbs on cats and dogs can be considered hocks, and on the hind leg, it’s the heel/ankle equivalent joint. I don’t think a cat would injure their actual knee joint before something else they would be more likely to complain about from a bad landing, so I suspect the anatomy referenced was not actually a knee. (Crazy animal science lady will shut up now and move on with the review.)
The entire premise of this book is cute and compelling, and the characters made it very enjoyable. The book has its dark moments for sure, and I can definitely see how some readers might go into this expecting a light romp and be taken aback by some of the darker chapters, but if you go into this looking for a fantasy adventure with a lot of comic relief, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.
I both very much appreciate the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of world-building info dumps interrupting the flow of the story or anything, but I was also left with some questions. It seems like we’re on Earth or an equivalent habitable planet, but just in another dimension. Another existence where some things that are only myth in the world as we know it are actually real and some things that are real to us don’t exist. Cool, fine, but some of the mundane things that do and don’t cross-exist in exactly the same state are odd choices. It would appear that this other dimension has exactly the same selection of poultry as our world, with exactly the same names for them, but the selection of fish is different. I suspect the one and only reason is so that Ben can be eternally disappointed in the lack of salmon, and I can sympathize. I can’t imagine a world without salmon.
Overall this was a very fun, interesting read that was surprisingly deeper and more nuanced than I expected it to be. Bring on the rest of the series!
About the Author
When Chris Behrsin isn’t out exploring the world, he’s behind a keyboard writing tales of dragons and magical lands. He was born into the genre through a steady diet of Terry Pratchett. His fiction fuses a love for fantasy and whimsical plots with philosophy and voyages into the worlds of dreams.
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