The Last Free Cat
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In a futuristic world controlled by the economic machinations of multinational corporations and state-led fear, the ownership of cats is strictly regulated on the basis that they spread the deadly strain of cat flu, HN51. But when teenager Jade finds an illegal or ‘free’ cat roaming in her garden, her determination to save the beautiful creature from extermination leads to a thrilling pursuit, in which Jade and her confidant, Kris, are hounded down as perpetrators of bio-terrorism.
This well-paced thriller works on a number of levels. Firstly, it is the story of the growth of regulation in society and a cynical analysis of the motivations that underlie this. Secondly, it is the story of Jade and the challenges she faces as she moves towards adulthood, including bereavement, concern over ‘fitting in’ with her peers and confusion regarding her relationship with Kris. Although she is in an extraordinary situation, these elements encourage identification with her character from ordinary readers. Most of all, however, this is a story of optimism and solidarity in the face of oppression. The beauty of the relationship between human and animal is touchingly conveyed and the book culminates in a sense of hope that is truly uplifting.
The overtly political and uncompromising nature of this book will not suit all readers, but it effectively explores the topical issue of encroaching state control in a way that others will find ripe for debate.