Rating: Liked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
(These books have been reprinted so often, there are a bunch of different covers around. This isn't the edition I read, but I like this one a lot.)
Second book of the Named series, sequel to Ratha's Creature (which I reviewed here).
In the first book, we learned about the Named (prehistoric, self-aware big cats) and the Un-Named (the same species, just supposedly not self-aware). The main character discovered that not all Un-Named were dumb animals, which lead to her taking one briefly as a mate. By the end of the book, she was back with the clan of the Named.
Clan Ground was about an Un-Named male who came to join the clan. He recognized the true power of the "Red Tongue" (fire, which they had just started using as a tool), and used it to take control of the clan.
Something about this book didn't work. It didn't work for me when I had originally read it in 1984, and something about it still didn't work for me today. I'm having the darnedest time putting my finger on what though. It's likely one of two things:
- The bad guy, the Un-Named male who took over, never really was defined as a character. He's never even really seen much in the book at all, just the effects of his actions.
- The way he takes over the clan (subtly, slowly, through words and being sneaky and underhanded) was so different than the clan had ever dealt with before (law of tooth and claw -- might makes right, you're the leader until someone kills you, then they're the leader), I might have felt bad for them? Because they were so unprepared to deal with that kind of thing?
I suspect it's my first guess, though I'm far from certain. Maybe it's something else, too.
But, my issue aside, it's still a darned good book. I never didn't want to read it, I read it nearly as eagerly as I had the first book.
A subplot of the book was how they tamed "treelings" (lemur-like creatures) to help them do stuff. That was really interesting, along with the Named in general -- I just love the world and all the characters in it.
I really, really want to read the third book in the series, but I agreed to read that Chihuahua dog shifter vs evil werewolf ebook pirates one next, so I started that one. While it's quite amusing, it's also slow to read and I feel like it's going to take me forever to get through it. Once I'm done with that, I'm move on to the third Named book, and the introduction of the character I got my user name from: Ratha and Thistle-chaser.