Cover Image: Cat's Cradle: The Mole King's Lair

Cat's Cradle: The Mole King's Lair

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Member Reviews

A fun follow-up to the first volume that leaves me anxious to read the next one.  I'm so happy this one is finally out (having read volume 1 at it's initial release years past).  The secondary characters are starting to be more developed, and the action is getting more exciting.
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A solid follow up to what is becoming a fun series of magic and monsters. It's a solid quest with a somewhat naively positive protagonist. The story in this volume stands on it's own while also contributing to a larger series plot. A fun read that holds up to repeats.
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"Cat's Cradle: The Mole King's Lair" by Jo Rioux is a whimsical and adventurous tale that whisked me away to a world of magic, friendship, and enchanting creatures. This novel is a delightful blend of fantasy, imagination, and the power of teamwork.

Rioux's writing style is vivid and imaginative, immersing readers in a world filled with fantastical creatures and captivating landscapes. The characters in the novel are endearing and relatable, each embarking on a journey that is as exciting as it is heartfelt.

At the heart of the narrative is a captivating adventure that takes readers on a quest to save a magical world from danger. The author skillfully weaves together elements of magic and wonder, creating a narrative that sparks the imagination.

"Cat's Cradle: The Mole King's Lair" successfully captures the spirit of friendship, courage, and the importance of standing together to overcome challenges. The themes of teamwork, empathy, and the magic of unexpected alliances add depth to the story.

In conclusion, "Cat's Cradle: The Mole King's Lair" is a charming and beautifully illustrated tale that transports readers to a realm of enchantment and discovery. If you're looking for a book that combines fantasy with heartwarming lessons, this novel offers an engaging and whimsical narrative that will leave you enchanted and inspired.
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I was so excited to be granted the ARC for the second book in the Cat's Cradle series. 

"Suri has what it takes to be a monster tamer―she just knows it! She’s even tamed her first monster…if you count Byron. He’s less like a monster, more like a giant dog. He needs a master that’s just his size, so Suri, Caglio, and Byron set off for the land of the the Monster’s Cradle."

We follow Suri and her supernatural friends on a quest for provisions and gold because even adventuring to find one's family requires money. They head off to the Mole King's Lair and on the way add to their found family in the process. I adore this series because it reminds me of Dungeons and Dragons, but on a slightly smaller scale. This graphic especially had some awesome dungeon delving and survival situations. I don't want to give away too much detail, but the friends Suri makes on the way are just as amazing as the first novel. Once more the color and artwork are just splendid and the writing is on point! I'm so excited to see this in print and eagerly await the third installment!
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I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is the second book in a series, which means I went into it missing information. There are things I don't understand about how Suri got started taming monsters, and I'm not exactly clear on how she got ahold of the golden twine that seems to be rather valuable. There are some details in this book that give hints to what happened in the past, but I'm in the dark on the exact details. That didn't really affect my ability to understand this story though, especially once I started putting some of the puzzle pieces together. 

Being a graphic novel, this was a fairly quick read, although I feel like there was a fair bit of exposition and explanation going on, where I didn't have to just pick everything up from the illustrations. As a person who doesn't really enjoy graphic novels, I appreciated that tremendously. Most of the time if I'm reading a graphic novel, I feel almost lost due to the dearth of words, but that wasn't the case here. 

Overall I give The Mole King's Lair 3.85 out of 5 stars.
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Thanks to NetGalley & First Second Books for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this sequel! Weirdly enough, I liked it more than the first one. Suri is an adorable and sweet protagonist and it's fun to read about her misadventures.
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I picked up CAT'S CRADLE: THE MOLE KING'S LAIR by Jo Rioux since I'm on the lookout for more fantasy graphic novels to pair with a book club unit my team has been working on the past few years. A lot of my students have enjoyed the first in the series, and sequels are a sure-fire hit with the tween crowd. I think they'll enjoy this one! It's action-packed, and Suri is just as relatable and strong in this episode. The artwork is very well done (I appreciated the range in perspectives/close-ups), and the plot maintains a good steady pace. It's a great read for fans of Wingbearer, Snapdragon, Beetle and the Hollowbones, or My Aunt is a Monster.
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We continue our story with Suri and her small crew trying to find some odd jobs to earn money for food. The journey to the Monster's Cradle will be long and along the way they encounter a mysterious cave and a new friend.

This is a pretty fast paced story but we haven't reached our end goal yet. There are many twists and turns and the story progresses while adding more mysteries. We meet old and new characters each adding a touch of magic to this adventure. The plot in this volume is centered towards solving the mystery of the Mole King's lair instead of traveling to the Monster's Cradle, however there are many parties heading there so it'll be enjoyable to see how it all unfolds.

In this volume we encounter a new character called Koyla. I'm still not too sure about this character. Koyla is a catsith and a thief. Many times Koyla is getting closer to Suri to steal her shining ball of yarn but he has stepped up to also save Suri. So I'm conflicted because his expression shows he's up to no good. I think the only trustable one is Bryon, our cute monster dog.

The art is similar to this first volume. It's unique, colorful, expressive and beautiful. I liked how there were colored themes used throughout. Such as, in the forest scenes there were more green and brown tones used whereas, the town uses more yellow and brown tones. Not sure if that was intentional but I did like that cause it helped me stay focused instead of distracted with too many colors and things going on in the background.

Overall, I really enjoyed this volume. It was longer than the first volume and we got to learn more about the characters and their personalities. I really hope Suri doesn't get betrayed by her friends and I'm curious about her origins as well. I'm looking forward to reading the next volume in this short trilogy!
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I really enjoyed this graphic novel. The art is beautiful and the story is very creative and original. My favorite part is that it includes many different kinds of monsters and lore that makes the story interesting and captivating.
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I like this series, but. I wish that each volume was a little longer, a little more to the story. I understand that the author is giving us a trail of crumbs, but they need to be bigger.  There is so much we don't know about this world and the characters, even two books in.  I had read the first book, but had almost forgotten it by the time the second one came out. 
I do like Suri and her little band of friends. There is a lot to like about this book as well - I enjoyed the twists and turns, the mystery, the character development.  I think it's that each volume feels like an episode of a television series - which is great when you can binge the series, or at least watch the episodes frequently. With books that come out much less often, I'm left wishing for something more.
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Going into this, I didn't realize it was the second part of a series, but for the most part that didn't hinder my experience of reading this graphic novel - I did have a few questions as to the nature of the magic, but I figured it would be explained later (or, as it turns out, before). Either way, they weren't the kind of questions and curiosities that made the story unreadable or confusing. Overall it was intriguing and charming and fairly stand-alone. Hopefully it won't take another decade for the third installation to be released!
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This is a fantastic middle grade graphic novel and an excellent addition to the Cat's Cradle series.  This title introduces us to new characters and takes Suri and her friends on a whole new adventure.  Great book!!
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A great sequel to the series!

I really liked finding Suri and going on an adventure with her. The book is still as cute and pleasant to read, as the first volume!

In short, a good sequel! ^^
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Thank you to NetGalley and First Second Books for giving me a digital copy of "Cat's Cradle: The Mole King's Lair" by Jo Rioux in exchange for an honest review.

In the start of this second-in-the-series book, would-be monster tamer Suri continues her journey away from home and toward the land of giants. Her new companions, Caglio the Imp and Byron the giant monster puppy, join her. They are stalked by several catsith, still trying to retrieve the golden twine that Suri unknowingly stole in Book 1. The vile prince and his toadies, are also on their trail tricked by some of the malevolent catsith to aid in their quest for the twine.

At the opening of the story, Suri's attempts to feed her tiny crew in exchange for chores is not going well. They are tromping through the woods when they are suddenly pursued by an enormous creature that Suri identifies as a mole king. She defends herself with magic, again unknowingly generated by the stolen twine, when they encounter Koyla. Koyla tells them of an enormous golden treasure horde he found in the mole king's lair and this incredible wealth seems like the solution to Suri's woes. They convince Koyla to take them inside the cave, and of course, everything goes awry.

By the end, they break a curse, find a different sort of treasure (no, not the metaphoric treasure of friendship), and resume their journey. The story introduces another malevolent catsith to the mix The prince and his overprivileged goons remain threatening but largely ineffective and clueless jerks. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It's a standard story with a standard cast of characters. I liked Suri's indefatigable attitude and Caglio is funny enough. The monsters are the most interesting aspect of the story for me. It's not a simple dragon-slaying story, and I love the bestiary notes at the end of each book.

I read a digital copy of my phone and I think I would have enjoyed the artwork more on a larger screen or in a printed copy.. I recommend reading the first book; this is definitely not a standalone.
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A nice continuation of the series. Creative character design and unique story. The art is excellent and adds to the story in an effective way.
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The second book in this trilogy picks up where the first left off with Suri venturing to the Monster’s Cradle with Caglio and Byron, but they’ve run out of money and provisions and must figure out how to survive. They learn that what you see is not always what it seems in this adventurous graphic novel that puts Suri’s taming to the test.
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The art is really cute, the letters are well done they never get in the way or distract from the story. It is everything that you want in a story for kids. I think my middle schoolers will love this and I can't wait to get it in their hands.
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I accessed a digital review copy of this book from the publisher.
Suri continues her journey through the Monster's Cradle with her companions Caglio and Byron. While trying to source provisions for the journey she meets Kolya. In a series of misadventures, the group ends up in the Mole King's lair.
This book is the second in a series. While it helps with background knowledge, it is not necessary to read the first book to enjoy the second. The reading level is suitable for a juvenile level. 
This book was easy and fun. I did not read the first before this and didn't feel like I was missing too much. I do plan on reading it though because I enjoyed this one s much. 
I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy.
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ARC was given by NetGalley & First Second Books in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (June 20th, 2023)

✨ Cat's Cradle: The Golden Twine ★★★★

Content/Trigger Warnings: Abandonment

The absolute blessings that I was able to obtain an arc of the second book in the Cat's Cradle series. I wasn't sure when arcs would be available and by a miracle, the power of the arc gods, an arc landed in my grabby little hands. I was so eager to find out what was going to happen next to Suri and this book didn't disappoint. I had such a fun time reading this and everything that happens just filled my soul up with love.

We are once again following Suri, a traveling monster tamer, who's searching for her family, but this time she has the help of some friends. Caglio, an imp, was the original person to trap Bryon, also various mischievous like many imps, and then we have sweet Bryon, a large monster dog, who thinks he's a lap dog and is very fond of Suri. This group of friends are traveling to the land of monsters, in search of Suri's family. However, their journey will take them on a side quest of gold, mole kings, and making a new friend along the way.

I absolutely adored the new characters we're introduced to! When this book introduced Kolya, the screech that left my body was enough to scare my neighbors. I was really invested in the role Koyla would play and at the end, the way Koyla decides to join Suri on her travels just made my heart melt. Even more so because you know Koyla is doing everything in his power to just survive and have a place where he belongs. Seeing the way Suri and him just click, it was every thing and just made me think of found family. Also, we're introduced to a character named Glassa, who I loved! She was such firecracker and I love how she was referred to as The Mole Queen. However, her love for her sister is what really made me love her character. That kind of love was so powerful that it made my heart mushy and I just knew I was going to love her character with my whole chest.

"But don't give up! The world's full of opportunities! The littlest thing could come along and change your luck completely."

Since the first book, one of the things that has really stuck out to me and I had to mention it. This is one of my favorite themes in any book and it's the found family theme. I love a good story that laces found family into the story. The found family in this book, the way Suri keeps attracting these supernatural beings to her, is so beautiful. It happens in the most natural way and even when she interacts with Koyla, despite not knowing much about him or being super close to him, she refuses to let him be on his own or leave him behind. Whether Suri knows it or not, the little group of friends she's been gathering has been turning into a found family. And I can't wait to see how the author continues to escalate this theme in the rest of the series.

Overall, I don't want to spoil too much of this book because it is the second book in this series! However, there's traveling, found family themes, shenanigans, and it just reminds me of a good time dungeon crawling. It was such a fun read and truly, I can't wait to see what the third book has for us. Also, if you love maps and extra little details, there is a map and we get to see the inside of Suri's monster book, which I thought were both lovely details to add!
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This is a fun-filled graphic novel about a girl's rollicking adventure to earn food and break a curse or two here and there with her friends.

Set in an imagined land, Suri sets off for Monster's Cradle with her companion, Caglio and a gigantic dog, Byron. On her way there, she bumps into the gigantic monster, Mole King and meets a new friend who claims to have stolen treasure from the Mole King's lair. Together they set off for the Mole King's lair in search of treasure. Unbeknownst to them, another group of princely bounty hunters are also on their way there.

The story is a bit confusing in the beginning with a lot of characters being introduced at the same time. The connection between the characters becomes clear as we get closer to the climax of the story.

The illustration is adorable and reminds me of both Hilda and works by Studio Ghibli. The storyline interestingly reminds me of Tolkien tales.
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