The Last Free Cat- Review May 2008  
 

The Last Free Cat by Jon Blake

Hodder Childrens' Books
ISBN: 978-0-340-94474-8
272 pages (ages 8-12 (but for all))

It's future without cats - most are dead of the deadly HN51 virus. Only the very rich can afford cats now and they are strictly controlled - ordinary people live in fear of catching a deadly flu from untagged cats. Into Jade's garden walks Feela, a beautiful female cat with no collar.

Jade has never seen a cat and is immediately transfixed and just a little afraid. Jade and her mother have fallen for the animal and hide it. It will change their lives forever. She tries to keep it from her best freind Kris, but isn't very good at concealing it and he makes friends with Feela immediately, but curiously doesn't give them away.

The ruthless comprots (Government Child Protectors) now rule England and what they say goes and they say no cats. When Jade sees her Doctor with a scratch he calls in the comprots and they raid her house. Although Feela has mysteriously disappeared, the comprots do so much damage and are so threatening her mother dies of a heart attack. Luckily Kris has stolen Feela that day. Jade is devastated by the loss of her mother and fears being taken into care.

She, Kris and Feela go on the run from social services. They are trying to get to Ireland where cats cat still roam free. This is a thrilling story for kids 8-12 and any age. Curiously the second cat book I have reviewed this year, the first being The Catkin by Nick Green, about kids learning to be cats.

The Last Free Cat sets Kris and Jade, barely in their mid-teens, against the whole of England and the vicious comprots. They flee, never knowing who will betray them.. They get a ride from a truck driver Finn, who eyes the catbox greedily and tries to steal Feela. Kris has to fight for the cat in an illegal street market. he wins and they steal the truck. Then there's a boarding house where they grow suspicious and afraid of Kris and Jade and call the comprots. Nowhere is safe. They run again, borrowing a canal boat. But is there no one they can trust?

The media is hunting them now and just when they think they have nowhere to go they find allies in the Free Cats League and discover they are not alone. This is a truly exciting thriller with lots of twists and turns. Kris and Jade are discovering all kinds of resources they never knew they had to keep and protect their cat. They are living in a vicious interfering New Labour kind of Britain where social services and political correctness have destroyed liberty. Can they reach the coast before the comprots catch them? What exactly will they do to keep Feela safe, especially now she is pregnant. Jade begins very naive, Kris perhaps too smug, but together they learn much about themselves and just what they are prepared to do to protect a defenceless animal.

The Last Free Cat is one of the best young adult adventures in a long time. Be prepared to share. Everyone will want to read this.
Sam North May 15th 2008

Sam is the editor of Hackwriters.com and author of 'Another Place to Die' - the future of the next flu pandemic and his latest novel 'Mean Tide' is now available and also the author of the historical novel Diamonds The Rush of '72