Cathy’s Key by Sean Stewart, Jordan Weisman and Cathy Briggs

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Artsy, outrageous Cathy is at it again! It’s been six months since her 18th birthday and oh, yeah, (spoiler alert!) since she discovered her totally hot bio-tech boyfriend Victor Chan is immortal. Now seriously, even though this was the “big reveal” near the end of book one, you have to know the truth about Victor, and the existence of other immortals, to continue with this trilogy. So let’s go!

We find Cathy on a long bus ride back from St. Louis to home in San Francisco after a bizarre and frightening chat in the nosebleed section of Busch Stadium with Auntie Joe, an immortal with precarious premonitions regarding Cathy’s future. Seems Victor’s 1000 year old father, Tsao, has a history (no pun intended) of stabbing young women who reject his advances, and he’s got his “Eye of Saruman” fixed on Cathy. Yep, her would be father in law. Ew.

Questions immediately pop up… why would Auntie Joe (who is so NOT Chinese) get involved? To the immortals, the lives of mere mortals are as relevant as the 24 hour life cycle of the common housefly. Why would Victor get involved with Cathy in the first place, meaning, why did he bother to test her blood for the “immortal gene” in book one, hoping she would be the one to spend eternity with him?

As Cathy ponders her bleak future on the Greyhound bus, she meets Jewel (as much as she tries to NOT), a quasi-Cathy doppelgänger con-artist skank, and when Cathy wakes up in Frisco, her cell phone is gone, along with Victor’s personal documents, her sketch book (bummer) and key pages of her diary (mainly, the ones about Victor and the immortals). Ah crap… id theft in the making. Or is it? And Jewel makes a startling discovery Cathy and her BFF Emma missed… the doctor (who just happened to show up at the right moment when she found her father dead on the floor) has the same name as the doctor who signed Victor’s fake birth certificate. Thus busting down the door for the “grrls” to dig into some serious “I Love Lucy” style investigations along with their new computer wiz friend, Pete, who clearly has a major soft spot for ambitious Emma.

Oddly, a connection develops between Jewel and Cathy…. Now you’d think it would be a simple case of calling the poll-eese, alerting Victor, and a quick clean up. But Cathy gets sucked into the vortex of Jewel and can’t keep her good intentions to herself. This awards her a lot more trouble, but also Jewel’s big brother, Denny, a tuff tattooed Knight in Shining Armor. Sort of. Victor still holds the market on shiny. And other yummy stuff.

The creepy but wealthy, powerful and unfortunately attractive Tsao invades Cathy’s life both by being Emma’s sole investor in her new cell phone business Double Talk Wireless as well as arriving at a rendezvous with Jewel (looking a wee bit too much like Cathy) on his arm. For the most part, Victor is still locked up in Ancestor Lu’s lab, searching for the key to immortality (and a way to have a life with Cathy) so his assistance in her increasingly complicated problems is sporadic, yet solid. But the stubborn and resourceful Cathy believes she can take care of herself, and apparently, everybody else.

Between Cathy’s failed attempts at post high school employment and reckless investigation into her father’s mysterious death, Auntie Joe turns up way dead. DEAD? How can an immortal be dead? What ARE they doing in that laboratory? And while we’re on THAT lovely topic… Victor abandoned wives and children in his past, cuz, apparently, that’s just what immortals do to “protect” everyone. So tell us again, why was Cathy’s father cremated so quickly? Does the man with Spanish Eyes take the term dead beat dad to a whole new level? And what reason would the origamic donkey riding man from her China Town adventure have for dropping Cathy hints…?

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And finally… what IS Cathy’s Key? Could it be the key to a whole new beginning for high school graduates Emma and Cathy, who again, in spite of all their extreme efforts find themselves still frustrated and broke? Book 2, Cathy’s Key, sure raises a lot more questions than answers. (Gave me that warm fuzzy Empire Strikes Back feeling). So, I highly recommend both Cathy’s Book & Cathy’s Key and am ravenously looking forward to some satisfying answers in Cathy’s Ring. (And I sure hope that means as in “engagement”, not “phone”, or like “worm”).

Remember, if a book ends up in this blog, it’s multimedia! Pumping it up a notch… Cathy’s Books are an alternate reality game (ARG), a type of game (or in this case, books) which overlaps reality (real world media, like a phone number) with the game world to create an interactive narrative experience.

As with The Amanda Project, ARGs encourage readers (players) to explore the story, solve plot based challenges, and interact with story (game) characters. As in emailing Victor! ARGs use various multimedia: websites, chat rooms, email, phones/vmail, texting and of course, books to enhance the reading experience. They also foster outside research as readers look for hidden clues in the Cathy’s doodles or anything else that stands out by using search engines or other resources. In Skeleton Creek, Sarah’s secret passwords, by design, peek curiosity and hopefully encourage search engine research, since, you know, the reader is online watching the awesome videos anyway!

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You remember the famous phone number on the cover of Cathy’s Book, right? Well, we have a whole new bag o’ evidence to play with in Cathy’s Key! Inside the cover is a pocket packed with many more documents, artwork, and some strange objects. I’m not going to give anything away but pull everything out, read and “fiddle around”. 🙂 For example, what can you do with the hole in the center of the Chinese coin? What do you hear when you call the number on the cover? One thing I will point out, there are two important documents in the packet. I mean, critical info on the back story, but you won’t find them in the book. Kewl.

If you really get stuck on the some of the clues, access codes, etc, go to the forum on Cathy’s Key site and down the left side you’ll see useful topics. Have fun! Get this, you can now download the new app on your phone!

Until the next multimedia adventure….
P~
Post Scriptum: Love writing? Join an online story at inkpop!

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Purchase Cathy’s Book, Cathy’s Key and Cathy’s Ring from Amazon!

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One Response to “Cathy’s Key by Sean Stewart, Jordan Weisman and Cathy Briggs”

  1. Cathy’s Ring by Sean Stewart, Jordan Weisman & Cathy Briggs « The Future of Books Says:

    […] visit to the bizarre multimedia world of Cathy’s Book, and here for the review of book 2, Cathy’s Key, cuz Cathy’s Ring is the wrap for this zany […]

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