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The Chase: Lionboy    by Zizou Corder order for
by Zizou Corder
Order:  USA  Can
Highbridge Audio, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Lionboy: The Chase picks up right after its predecessor, Lionboy, as Charlie Asanti (the boy who talk to felines of all shapes and sizes) meets the King of Bulgaria on a train to Venice. Accompanying Charlie is the pride of lions that he saved during his time with the circus. Charlie is on the run from a childhood nemesis, while at the same time searching for his parents. They were kidnapped after inventing a cure for asthma, in this quasi-post apocalyptic world where cellphones are everywhere, gas is scarce, and asthma is rampant.

Charlie befriends the King, who provides him with shelter at his piazza in Venice. What seemed a sanctuary quickly becomes a prison as Charlie's movement becomes more and more restricted by employees of the King. New enemies also emerge, searching for the boy and his lions. While all this is going on, Charlie works to unravel the mystery of his kidnapped parents, as well as why cats are inexplicably attacking other cats. His ability to talk to cats helps him to discover the correlation between asthma, cats, and his parents, but can he be in time to rescue them? Charlie's parents take a much more active role than in the first book, as they too strive to escape the clutches of their captors and reunite with their son.

Though a typical strategy for a trilogy has the end of the second book feature the most suspense and a possibility of failure, this one does not take that route. In fact, by the end of it, listeners might feel that things are safe. However, the narrator makes sure to nullify this thought by telling us that the worst is yet to come for Charlie, his parents, and his lions. The Lionboy trilogy brims with excitement, energy, and appropriate suspense for young adult fiction. The story is rich in characters, atmosphere, and events, whether Charlie is in the desert of Africa, aboard the traveling circus boat, or making his way through the canals of Venice. Listeners of all ages will enjoy these great adventures.

Simon Jones is a perfect match in reading aloud both the first and second book. Both the style of writing and the story's environment seem perfect fits for his crisp English accent. With a voice that could narrate any nature documentary, Jones does a fantastic job, his delivery just right for this audiobook. Written by a child and a mother who together penned the name Zizou Corder, Lionboy: The Chase provides listeners with a story that rises above the rest. Great characters, superb narration, and an uncommon cliff-hanger will leave you anticipating the series conclusion.

Note: This review refers to an unabridged (7.5 hours) audiobook, read by Simon Jones, available at Highbridge as CDs & cassettes, and also as an audio download at

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