I loved the language and adventure in this book. But it may not be what you expect.
This is definitely a genre-bender. Its near future setting and scientific research plot points might make it science fiction, but the protagonist being able to communicate with felines (everything from housecats to lions) puts it into the fantasy category. However, the UK writing style combined with trains, the circus and handwritten letters give it a historic feel.
I have to admit, I picked it up because of my fascination with big cats that started with my Tiger Troubles article for Ozarks Magazine. (sadly, no longer in publication)
Lionboy was fascinating and I was angry that it was a trilogy because I have to know what happens next! Zizou Corder really hooked me and I definitely intend to listen to the next two.