Malkin Moonlight by Emma Cox
Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408870846
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. I actually finished reading this a couple of weeks ago and the writing of this review has taken so long because this is so different and so charming I have found it difficult to find the right words. I could just say it's an animal adventure story but it is so much more than that. It really puts me in mind of such titles as Watership Down or even Mrs Frisby and the rats of NIMH. Rarely does one read an animal story which truly projects the protagonists as completely sentient thinking creatures.
A small kitten loses one of his nine lives when he narrowly escapes drowning along with the rest of his litter. Little does he know but he is destined to become a hero. The Moon recognises this and blesses him with her naming of him 'Malkin Moonlight'. This small feline with a huge and magnificent tail has an acute sense for the distress of those in need and quickly loses another life in the first of many rescues.
On his third life, he is rescued in turn by a Domestic named Roux. Together these two form an unbreakable bond and fall in love. Roux chooses to abandon the comforts of domestic living and runs away with Malkin. As they search for a new home they come across a recycling centre populated by cats who are divided into two warring camps: those on the 'good' side of the centre where they have accommodated themselves comfortably and are cared for by the workers; and those who lurk on the toxic dump site over 'the wall'.
Only Malkin can unite these two factions and create a peace that will last forever. The adventures and dramas along the way are gripping and tense but the love, respect and true compassion of this singular cat and his friends are a remarkable lesson for all readers.
This first novel is destined to become a modern classic in my opinion.
Highly recommended for readers from around 9 years up.