Book Reviews: Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts by Misha Burnett

These are Volume One and Volume Two of The Book of Lost Doors sci-fi/urban fantasy series.

Volume One: Catskinner’s Book

5 Stars

I absolutely loved this story! The relationship of the main character(s), James and Catskinner, was psychologically fascinating as these two personalities were profoundly interesting. I could hear the distinctive voices of each in my head. The dialogue between them was well done, and contributed to the plot development.

The plot moved at a steady, quick pace with one intriguing adventure after another. As soon as you recovered from one incident another was put before you. The mechanics and descriptiveness of scenario was both plausible and fantastic.

Two things I thoroughly enjoyed about this book: 1) the accessibility of the writing style, and 2) the genius creativity and imagination expressed through the author’s imagery. I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a psychologically dynamic sci-fi/fantasy story.

Volume Two: Cannibal Hearts

4 stars

Of course, after being so very delighted with Burnett’s Catskinner’s Book, I had to read this one right away. I was initially mildly disappointed that Catskinner’s role seemed to take a back seat to James’, though I still found the story line most intriguing. It seemed that James, as narrator, ruminated more in this book. There was less of the dialogue between him and Catskinner and less of the quick paced action that I had enjoyed so much in the previous book.

As the story progressed, again, Burnett’s creative genius showed through and I found myself deeply involved and invested in discovery. Alien actually became comfortable. The unusual and colorful cast of characters was so well drawn that I feel as if I have a whole new set of friends, and enemies, in this book–even the weirdest. Be advised, I like weird. I will also add here, I loved the profound, original, and thought provoking quotes the author included under each chapter heading. I am eagerly anticipating the third in the series.

You can purchase these books here: Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts 

You can get to know Misha Burnett and learn more about his upcoming book, “The Worms of Heaven” here on his blog.

As a side note, 

I’m going to qualify regarding my science fiction reading. I cut my teeth on science fiction. Back in the seventies, as a young teen, my Grandma’s neighbor was a young man by the name of Michael Bishop. I spent some boring summer days in my Grandma’s small town, Pine Mountain, Georgia. The boredom was relieved by my visits to Mr. Bishop’s library.

Mr. Bishop was, still is, a science fiction writer and author of many books, including one (correction: three) for which he received the Nebula Award. He was also nominated for the Hugo Award. I did not read his works, because he had not yet published them, but he had inherited an enormous library from his father-in-law and it filled the turreted two-story library of his home. Many days I heard him clacking away at the typewriter through an open window in his library.

I would stop in to annoy visit with Mr. Bishop from time to time and was most impressed by both the library and his devotion to writing. Michael would loan me books from his library and send me away.

The books he loaned me were titles by authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, and others. I loved being able to escape to fantastical other worlds. Asimov, with his background in biochemistry, and Le Guin, with her mix of fantasy and sci-fi kept me entertained for hours on end. I truly loved the sort of sci-fi they wrote. Mr. Bishop, who was also my Sunday school teacher upon a time, and I would review the books when I brought them back.

Then, in a young girl’s life, many years later, around the mid-eighties, something happened to the sci-fi that I ran across. It got so complex and outer-space oriented that you needed an astrophysics degree or an alien translator to follow plots or decipher difficult sentences and name structures. Names lost their vowels, and plots became so implausible that I lost interest totally in the genre. I began to read more straight up fantasy…witches and vampires, magic that professed to be magic, immortals, and such.

I never went back to sci-fi, and I said all of that to say this: Thank you, Misha Burnett, for bringing me back to earth with these fascinating and intriguing mixed genre sci-fi/fantasy tales!

12 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts by Misha Burnett

  1. But weren’t all witches originally from Venus, only they became corrupted by the evil doers of the planet that hides behind Mars, and then placed on Earth to find a few good men? Oops, sorry, I’m mixing the witches up with the Amazons!


  2. Thank you! My own reaction to modern science fiction is a major reason why I work in a deliberately small scale. I consider myself a “New Wave” writer, my influences are writers like Phillip Dick and George Alec Effinger. I have read some of Michael Bishops works (I remember “Ancient Of Days”, specifically) and am really impressed that you knew him.

    I’m not a big fan of most modern science fiction myself, in fact I have my books listed as “Urban Fantasy” on Amazon, just so that people know I don’t do the “Star Wars” stuff.


    1. I am familiar with Phillip Dick’s name and I think he wrote Ubik, which was both supernatural and horrific.

      “Ancient of Days” has recently been republished with a new cover that I love. I keep telling Michael that he needs to insist that his works are published in digital format, but so far, that has not been done. His son was shot and killed in the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007, and Micheal’s time and attention turned toward campaigning for tighter gun control. He still teaches at a local college and speaks, but does not write as prolifically as he once did.

      I am very impressed with your work and will continue to be a fan. It is mentally tangible, yet creatively inspired. With a background in forensic psychology, my attachment to catskinner was immediate.


    1. I feel I should add something here. Be impressed with Michael’s literary talent, but not so much that I knew him. Pine Mountain had a 2000 population of 1141. In 1970, it was more like 400. Michael and his wife, Jeri, were a couple of but a few who were NOT relatives by blood or marriage.


  3. Reblogged this on Paws4Thought and commented:
    I also highly recommend Misha Burnett’s books – though unlike the blogger I would say I enjoyed the second book more than the first and am looking forward to the third installment – The Worms of Heaven that Misha is currently writing.


  4. I read Catskinner’s Book a while ago and have fond memories of it; it’s definitely worth reading and it’s a shame not more people know of it. I still plan to read Cannibal Hearts at some point, too.

    That said…you should totally go back to sci-fi :). You interested in recommendations? If so, I could certainly provide some.


    1. Thanks! Right now, I am reading all genres, in an effort to catch up to all of the books that I have on my reader. I have about 40 books on my reader not read. I have a certain order that I am trying to read them in. Most are books from other blogger friends/authors who write all sorts. But I can always use more book titles.


      1. Well, since your to-read list is already massive, I’ll keep this short 🙂

        I recommend Fledgling, by Octavia Butler. It’s essentially a sci-fi take on vampires, written by one of my favourite writers of all time. I would also recommend her Bloodchild collection if you like reading short stories.


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