Tailchaser's Song

Rating: 0

Tad Williams

Tailchaser's Song has been described as Watership Down, but with cats. Unfortunately, the similarity is mostly in plot and style, but not in quality. The story follows Fritti Tailchaser, a young cat, on a quest to discover why cats keep disappearing from his community, one of whom was the cat he loved and was going to "marry". He picks up a rag-tag team of companions as he travels and learns that an ancient evil is returning to the world.

Of course, this could describe any fantasy novel, regardless of quality. However, Tailchaser's Song didn't seem to go beyond filling out this basic framework. The only innovation was the device of using cats rather than people to act out this quest. Williams did make some attempts to have the characters act as cats rather than people. A central question in their mythology is whether cats should let humans feed and shelter them or not. Ultimately, though, I thought that the feline device overshadowed the rest of the story. A large feline vocabulary was built up which was then used sporadically. Few of the cats had clear characters, making them hard to distinguish. Even the main evil creatures that the cats had to battle were badly described, so that it was never clear to me what they were fighting.

However, the central trio of cats were fairly interesting. The story did try to encompass more than a battle of good and evil and consider what the cats were doing to their own futures. And everything moved quickly enough that it was worthwhile to get to the end and find out how everything was resolved. It would probably be more appealing to a young adult audience. I give it a '0' as a moderately amusing fantasy story.


Review written July 2001.


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