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Literature / Feline Wizards
aka: The Book Of Night With Moon

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The Feline Wizards trilogy is a sister series to Young Wizards, also written by Diane Duane, following the adventures of a group of wizardly cats who maintain the worldgates in New York City. The books in the trilogy are: The Book of Night with Moon (1997), To Visit the Queen (1999) (UK title: On Her Majesty's Wizardly Service), and The Big Meow, written as a Storyteller's Bowl project and originally available only via "subscribing" at the project web site (2011), now available as an ebook (2017). The series is targeted to adults instead of a Young Adult audience, but the only difference this makes is the presence of some explicit references to sexuality and the fact that the viewpoint character, Rhiow, is an adult cat.


These books provide examples of:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: The cats initially see the cannibalistic, dimension-invading saurians this way, but their behavior proves to be a result of desperation and generations of cultural manipulation by the Lone Power rather than any inherent evil in their nature.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Urruah's Establishing Character Moment involves him fighting a dog and clearly enjoying himself, much to Rhiow's annoyance. He's the best physical combatant on the team and enjoys the thrill of a fight.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": There's a fair amount of it, between the use of cats' words for familiar things (like houff for "dog") and the mangled versions of human names for other things (cats aren't really equipped to pronounce most consonants).
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: They reincarnate eight times, keeping their personalities and some but not all of their memories. A cat can feel what life they're on, and the subject of how many lives one has left is fairly personal, something it's okay to divulge but not okay to just brazenly ask about.
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  • Chess Motifs: The cats have their own strategy game depending on position, ownership of people and things, etc.
  • Collateral Angst: The Lone Power arranges for Rhiow's owner Hhuha/Susan to get hit by a taxi in the first book, to distract her with grief and discourage her from interfering.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rhiow and Urruah most often, but pretty much all the feline characters can bring the snark when they want to.
  • Deface of the Moon: They don't bother writing a message or anything, but the Victorians with nukes test their nukes on the Moon, sending a very visible message to everyone else on the planet.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Magic operates via String Theory and the cat wizards manipulate the "strings."
  • Fictionary: The important words in Ailurin (some of which have simple translations, but most of them don't) are untranslated, with a glossary provided at the back of the book.
  • Fossil Revival: In The Book of Night with Moon, one of the Lone Power's attacks on the wizards' world starts with a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that's on display in a subway station being brought back to life by magic. The description of the dinosaur's body being rebuilt from the inside out, organ by organ and layer by layer, is pure nightmare fuel.
  • God of Evil: While the Lone Power is as much the enemy as in Young Wizards and in much the same way, cats don't seem to separate Her out from the other Powers quite as much as humans do. She's a goddess to them - one whose work and desires need to be opposed at all costs, but a goddess to be reunited with the pantheon, not the Devil.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Urruah and Arhu
  • Historical Person Punchline: Artie is Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: The cats call humans ehhif.
  • Insufferable Genius: Fhrio.
  • Intellectual Animal:
    • The cats are basically a society of these; they're as cognitively capable as humans, but they don't think like humans. They're also physically incapable of building much of anything and normally speak their language at a volume inaudible to humans, which mostly explains why humans aren't aware that cats are that smart.
    • Many other species are said to be this, and can produce wizards; canine and falcon wizards are discussed, but not shown.
  • Interspecies Friendship: The cat wizards and the human wizards. Also Arhu and Ith.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The American title of the second book, To Visit the Queen, comes from an old English nursery rhyme:
    Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
    I've been to London to visit the Queen
    Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
    I chased out a little mouse from under her chair.
  • Long Lost Sibling: Arhu and his "sister"
  • Masquerade: Not from other cats, but they make up for it with extra worrying about humans. Notably in the second book, while planning a commuting schedule: Rhiow (who's living with a human) asks Arhu (who she knows isn't) whether there are any humans, anywhere he visits, who take special notice of him and might worry if he didn't turn up regularly. People can go to surprising lengths when a cat goes missing...
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Urruah has the most Life Energy at his disposal and acts as a power source for the rest of the team.
  • Mythopoeia: The cats have their own pantheon of gods, which are recognizably similar to some human gods but not the same.
  • No Biological Sex: Though they have gender identities, spayed or neutered cats are treated as basically this by cat society. The books state they use the words "queen" and "tom" not just to differentiate from this but because "female" and "male" don't accurately portray just how important the distinction is to cats, who do after all go into heat. The narrator being a female spayed in kittenhood makes her viewpoint on same- and mixed-sex relations unusually humanlike... both for better (her viewpoint's more audience-relatable) and for worse (she tends to fail to notice or entirely misread subtext).
  • Of the People: The cats' name for their species is People. They don't actually call other species "not-people", though. They look down on humans somewhat (in a patronising way, rather than a xenophobic way), but not as much as they look down on dogs, birds, rats, and other animals that are either prey or competition for cats.
  • Oracular Urchin: Arhu develops into one, although his personality remains fairly down-to-earth.
  • Out of Continues: Turns out Saash is on her ninth life.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Ith
  • Starfish Language: Ailurin qualifies from a human perspective, though there are at least two humans who learned to speak it anyway. It's a tonal language with 37 vowels, extremely sensitive to mispronunciation. The transcriptions are both rather approximate and condensed to be more accessible to the human audience. Also, what cats consider normal volume is inaudible to humans; to be heard by a human they have to shout. (This goes both ways: most human attempts to talk back to "their" cat(s) comes across as yelling in Hulk Speak and/or a horrible accent.) The bit about volume is a little Truth in Television; cats really do have extraordinary hearing, and they can easily pick up a quiet sound from halfway down the block. And "shout" also refers to body language, which supposedly makes up a lot of what's being given as dialogue.
  • Steampunk: The alternate timeline from the second book is a pretty textbook case. But they have nukes, which they first use to Deface of the Moon and then to blow themselves up in the 1880s.
  • Surprise Incest: Arhu is hot for his alternate-universe sister, which is conveniently never brought up again after that fact is revealed. (Cats are weird.)
  • Timeline-Altering MacGuffin: From the second book, Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, a massive book dropped by an unfortunate London student who was briefly diverted into the year 1874. It contains pretty much all the information about modern science and technology you could possibly need.
  • Time Travel: The second book revolves around it.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cheese... it's solid milk!
  • Yandere: Auhlae eventually turns out to be one.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Rhiow considers rats to be animate incarnations of Chaos and has no qualms about killing them, which is pretty notable in a setting that makes a point of saying that all living things have value and she might at some point potentially have to work with a rat wizard.

Alternative Title(s): Book Of Night With Moon, To Visit The Queen, The Big Meow, The Book Of Night With Moon