I have mixed feelings about this book.
On the one hand, it's fantastically written, the main character has a strong voice and definite character, and the story has stuck with me for years.
On the other hand, most of it is friggin' depressing.
Cat's Paw is, as I found out later, the middle of a trilogy- though I read it as a stand alone- and tells the story of a once telepathic alien, now broken from the crime of murder, albeit in self defense, recruited to serve as a spy and bodyguard to a powerful family in danger of sabotage. Given dangerous drugs to resurrect his telepathy, within fifty pages he's cast adrift in a vividly drawn political arena with undertones that made my head spin.
The odd thing about this story is that while neither the writing nor Cat himself is remotely immature, I have to say he gives off one of the strongest tastes of teenagerdom that I've found in any character. I think that alone gives a burst of freshness to this surprisingly undated sci fi novel.
From Library Journal
Hired by the powerful taMing dynasty to protect its Security Council candidate from assassination, a half- human telepath known as "Cat" uncovers a larger conspiracy that threatens to destroy the remnants of individual freedom in a world controlled by interstellar corporations. Political intrigue, shifting loyalties, and fully realized characters add uncommon depth to this sequel to Psion. Highly recommended for sf collections as well as for mature young adult readers. JC
Intrigue, adventure, exciting- you get it all, December 25, 2004
Reviewer: frootbat31 "frootbat31" (williamsport, md USA)
I loved this book. I've read the entire series of the main character, Cat, but Catspaw I believe is best in the series. What's more, the book can stand alone. The unique writing kept me interested the entire journey, with the 1st person view of the main character, but his abilities to read minds lets you have the perspective of other characters in the book as well. I liked Cat's personality. He's real, with flaws, and fears, and yet does the right thing without being a do-gooder. Even the villains in the book seem real, and you can almost- but not quite- understand why they are the way they are.
This story encompasses Cat being pressed into service to be a body guard for a political member of the very government he hates. You get political intrigue, a hint of romance, and a splendid view of a futuristic world with a well thought out plot. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Combines street punk with telepathy with sci fi. Great book!
From the book cover:
CAT: Street Punk, Psion, Telepath, Survivor. . .
Kidnapped by an interstellar corporation and dragged to Earth, Cat is forced to use his skills to protect those he most hates, those who most hate him . . . .
The taMings. A cyber-augmented, DNA-incestuous clan of such wealth and power that their family arguments change the destiny of worlds. Now one taMing is a killer's target. But which? And who would dare?
Seeking answers, Cat finds lies and savagery, passion and atrocity--trails that lead from crystal valleys to clubs for silver-skinned beauties. From the homicidal enclaves of drug kings to a fanatic's pulpit. From the halls of the Assembly to a cyberspace hell. Seeking assassins, Cat discovers a mystery that could cost him his future. His sanity. His life.
Because Cat is no longer a bodyguard . . .
As good as Vinge's best. I hated to come to the end, and just started to re-read it at once!