Hi, catvalente. :)
She friended me and I friended her. And over the years, I have watched this woman absolutely blossom. She has always been an amazing, stunning writer. (Read The Labyrinth, her first published novel, and drown in those words!) But all along, she's been building up to something in particular. A cycle of stories, known first as The Daughter's Tales, now as The Orphan's Tales. An astonishing feat - many create fantasy worlds, but Cat has created the mythology and folklore of her world, layering it densely, story upon story, each story leading into the next - just like real life, in that way. Everyone you interact with has their own story to tell. And it is all connected.
The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden blew me away.
And not just me. Elayna became enchanted by the reading Cat did with s00j, who created an album inspired by the book (and ah, the gift of getting to know s00j!). I read the book to her at bedtime until she grew too eager for that pace and grabbed it herself. That book has been through several states, has been read through numerous times, and is tattered - loved half to death. It's the book she did her reading/art project on - if you see a set of nested boxes on the Orphan's Tales art show tour this fall/winter, that's Elayna's interpretation of the second volume. And every so often I hear her reading it to her friends, or singing "Shipful of Monsters". This is the formative book of these years, to her.
The second and final book is released today.
I have had the privilege of reading The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice already. And dear reader, I tell you that I cannot decide which of them I love more. Together, they are four volumes in two books telling so very many stories in, ultimately, one. I do not want to spoil anything for you. Emphatically so.
It ends perfectly.
The best gifts one can give are those of song and story.
Buy The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden and The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice. And buy the music they inspired: For the Girl in the Garden and Solace and Sorrow.
And please go here to read more about the series, from the author herself.
Thank you, catvalente, for your story, and sooj, for your songs. :)