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Book #13 of 2015: Ratha and Thistle-Chaser / Graphic Novel: G.I. JOE: The Fall of G.I. JOE Volume 2

Ratha and Thistle-Chaser by Clare Bell
Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)



It pains me to give a book in this series anything other than a 'Loved' rating, but I'm just about to stop reading it.

The thing I love best about this series, about all talking animals books, is when the animals are really animals, not just people in animal shape. Animals that talk? Great! Animals with societies? Perfect! But animals that know too much or don't act like animals (er, talking animals...) and I lose interest.

Unfortunately for me, the Named (the self-aware prehistoric cat series) just knew too much. One of them did basically physical therapy for another cat (made her exercise in water, stretching exercises, exercises to strengthen her injured limb). The cats made fences, pens, and rafts.

On one hand, I understand it: The author had covered more basic cat-like things in the previous books, so the cats needed to do and learn more. Unfortunately this path leads to the next book, where the cats get mental/psychic powers (another subspecies of them, like the Named/Un-Named), and the next (unpublished) story where they met another subspecies with wings. I like just basic cats.

Speaking about the plot in this book would spoil the earlier books (which I do highly recommend!), so I'll put it behind a cut.

In the first book, Ratha was driven out of the clan and met an Un-Named male. She called him Bonechewer, though that wasn't a real name. The two had a litter of cubs. Though the cats have no idea about genetics, they know that breeding with Un-Named risks offspring with no 'light in their eyes' -- no self-awareness. Though Bonechewer was the brother to a clan male, he and his brother were the offspring of a Named female and Un-Named male. So when Bonechewer and Ratha had cubs, the cubs had no light in their eyes.

Ratha was very young at the time, and birthing cubs that were no different than animals crushed her. She lashed out at one point, badly biting the female cub. Bonechewer drove her off, which caused her eventual return to the Named.

In this book, we found out that that bitten daughter had not been killed -- she's Thistle-Chaser. And she remembered the attack.



The plot didn't work too well for me. I didn't like, enjoy, or buy the interactions between Ratha and Thistle-Chaser.

Ironically, as I've used the name online for 15+ years, I didn't like the Thistle-Chaser character at all. I didn't like her when I read the books the first time, I didn't like her this time. So why did I ever use the name? Because I loved the series so much, I wanted a name from it. Most of the cats had sound/meaningless names (Ratha, Thakur, Fessran, Meoran), which to me didn't have as much character as 'Thistle-Chaser'. Plus, Thistle-Chaser got the name because she kept pouncing thistles -- she never learned to stop doing it and save herself the pain. That rang true with me (sadly :P ).

I don't think I'm going to continue with the series. My opinions of them are the same as they were when I first read them decades ago, which means I'll like the next two even less. I do highly, highly recommend the first book in the series, and the second is good as well. A number of folks liked this third one best, so it could just be a poor match for me.

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G.I. JOE: The Fall of G.I. JOE by Karen Traviss (Author), Steve Kurth (Illustrator) (Link goes to volume 1, volume 2 doesn't seem to be online anywhere.)
Rating: Liked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
Book received free for review from IDW Publishing.



While I don't like reviewing graphic novels (they're too hard to read online), I can't ever pass up IDW Publishing's GI Joe titles. I've enjoyed every one I've read, both graphic novels and that one non-graphic novel (I really want to reread that non-graphic novel one again soon).

The artwork was interesting, I think it's by an artist I haven't reviewed yet. I really like how they handled clothing, vehicles, background, and most everything in the art, it's only the style used for the people that didn't work well for me. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't my taste. Anyway, I still enjoyed the art overall -- I spent an almost embarrassing amount of time looking at the coloring on a close-up of a chain link fence. Look at the use of yellow, and how many different shades there are in this:



Anyway, unfortunately this wasn't just volume 2, it was part 5 of volume 2, so I can't give you too much of an idea about the plotline. I did enjoy what I read of it though.
Tags: 2015 books, book review, book: g.i. joe: the fall of g.i. joe, book: ratha and thistle-chaser
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