The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt
By: G.A. Henty
Rating: 2.5 stars
Enslaved by a conquering army, the young prince Amuba finds friendship in the house of an Egyptian high priest, where he acts as a companion to the priest's son, Chebron. The entire household plunges into peril when Chebron accidently kills a cat - and not just any cat, but the cat designated as the sacred cat of the great temple at Bubastes. A riot ensues, and the boys must flee, embarking on a long and hazardous journey to Amuba's homeland of Rebu.
I was required to read The Cat of Bubastes for school, and, since my sister was interested in reading it too, we read it together.
It took us forever to finish it! Haha!
Anyways, I have to say I found this book a bit monotone and boring. Henty 'told' instead of 'showed'. Some of the conversations and descriptions got rather lengthy, especially since I was reading it out loud. But I liked the plot. The plot had potential: A young Rebu prince and his wise friend are taken prisoners by the Egyptians and forced to head to Egypt and become a slave to an Egyptian master. Thankfully, Amuba, the young prince, and his friend, Jethro, land in the house of the High Priest of Osiris, Ameres, a kind man hiding his uncommon and unwelcome thoughts on religion. The High Priest's son, Chebron, and Amuba become fast friends - and eventually fugitives of the law.
Really - the plot has potential!
But the book was written with almost no emotion whatsoever. And some parts were completely unrealistic - such as when characters were wounded. (Example: One of the main characters has a spear thrust into his shoulder during a battle - it's sticking out of him. He keeps on fighting - which is cool, but unlikely - and then after the battle talks to another character, seemingly fine, when in reality he would be in severe pain.)
I also want to point out that I don't think Henty wrote the way he did just because of the time he lived in. I think it was partially his style - I've heard he was a journalist, so that must have something to do with it. I've read books by R.M. Ballantyne, who lived in the same time as Henty, and his books are written with more excitement.
Also, it took quite a long while for things to actually start happening. It's about halfway through the novel when the cat is killed and things start really rolling. Before this is mostly Amuba and Jethro coming to be with Ameres, and a hunting trip that leads to some surprising happenings.
However, I did enjoy the book, it was just too slow-moving, unemotional, and lengthy in descriptions, conversations, etc. for my taste.
Overall, I liked the plot and the two main characters, Chebron and Amuba, I liked how the book ended, and I got to learn more about Ancient Egypt along the way. I enjoyed it somewhat, but it could've been much better written. It lacked emotion, real character depth, and was slightly unrealistic in some senses.
Have you read The Cat of Bubastes? What did you think of it?