An interesting experiment in collaborative creation and complementary storytelling, this Canadian import falls short as a stand-alone work.
As he did with Catboy (2011), Walters solicited feedback from students as he wrote. Both books feature the same plot but differ in perspective. Hunter, the title character, is a member of a feral cat colony, and the story is told from his perspective. Because the cats don’t understand human speech, readers unfamiliar with the earlier work know nothing of the motivations of the people involved and will likely have trouble following the events. An uneasy mix of anthropomorphism and realistic animal behavior further limits audience appeal. An old raccoon talks like a stereotypical wise teacher, a rival cat is a one-dimensional tough guy, and Hunter’s mate, Mittens, a former house cat, is ridiculously sweet. Her interactions with Hunter are decidedly domestic and extremely affectionate, which contrasts oddly with Hunter’s concern that stress might lead Mittens to kill their newborn kittens. Walters’ writing style is choppy and repetitive, most likely the result of incorporating input from, as he notes, “hundreds of student co-authors.”
As a companion piece, this may be of interest to readers who enjoyed Walters’ previous book; as a plea for humane treatment of feral cats, it’s a somewhat clumsy but obviously heartfelt statement; unfortunately, however, it’s ultimately less than the sum of its parts. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)