The Book of the Named
are a series of Young Adult
novels by Clare Bell, told from the point of view of a sentient species of prehistoric cat-like mammal called a nimravid. The story primarily focuses on on nimravid named Ratha and her people, who call themselves the Named. They practice a simple version of herding with prey beasts.
Ratha defies tradition and becomes a herder, nearly unheard of for female Named. Herders not only keep the animals safe from predators and slaughter them for the tribe, they also defend them from the Un-Named, nimravids who look like the Named who are non-sentient. It is in this role that she discovers her "creature," fire, which she names the Red Tongue. She also discovers that some of the Un-Named are capable of speech, just like the Named. Her discoveries will change the dynamics of the Clan forever.
The series deals with the social and political conflicts between Ratha, her people, her daughter and mate, and the Un-Named.
The books in the series are:
- Ratha's Creature
- Clan Ground
- Ratha and Thistle-Chaser
- Ratha's Challenge
- Ratha's Island (a Twitter novelette)
- Ratha's Courage
This series provides examples of:
- Abduction Is Love: Played up to a very creepy eleven in Ratha's Courage.
- All There in the Manual: The author's website. See Shown Their Work.
- Abusive Parents: Ratha herself, unfortunately. This comes back to haunt her, big time.
- Animated Adaptation: The first book was adapted for an episode of CBS Storybreak. According to her website, Clare Bell was pleased with it, especially the scene where Ratha tames her "creature," taken almost verbatim from the book.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Justified, the leader of the Named can be challenged for his position.
- Beast Fable: Abusive parents, racism, superstition, and a few other issues all get targeted, some in a more realistic manner than others.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Ratha and Bonechewer. Although the "will they or won't they" portion of the relationship was cut short by Ratha going into heat.
- Can't Have Sex, Ever: Thakur. Every breeding season, he hides himself away for fear of creating wild cubs due to his Unnamed genes.
- Cats Are Mean: Considering the way the Named treat everything, including each other, this is kind of played straight. It gets better as the books progress.
- Comic Book Adaptation: Has one in the planning stages.
- Despair Event Horizon: For Shongshar, anyway.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Ratha faces this more and more often as each story progresses.
- Head Pet: The treelings' favorite places to hang out are the backs and heads of the Named. Justified since they've formed a symbiotic relationship with the Named: they provide grooming and perform simple tasks for the Named, while the Named protect them from predators. Riding on their partner gives them maximum protection as well as making them available to their partner whenever needed.
- Hive King: True-of-Voice
- Hive Mind: The face-tail Hunters. As you can imagine, this freaks out Ratha's clan.
- Intellectual Animal: The Named and some of the Un-Named.
- Kill It with Fire: The appeal of the red-tongue, and what Ratha uses it for in the climax of the first book
- Morality Pet: Ratha becomes a lot less self-righteous and narrow-minded after Thistle shows up.
- Near-Rape Experience: Every female in Ratha's clan at the end of Ratha's Courage. Weirdly enough, Ratha forgives and allies with the attackers almost immediately, because...wisdom means befriending those who brutally attacked you, caused you severe trauma, and show no regret for doing so?
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished : Ratha saves the leader of the face-tail hunters only to have the other clan attack the Named again.
- Not So Different: Ratha to Thistle-chaser when she attacks a cub to get at Ratha.
- The Ophelia: Thistle-chaser, at first. She is healed in the fourth book.
- Panthera Awesome
- Rage Against the Mentor: Ratha doesn't like it when Thakur advises an alternative to burning and killing. At least at first.
- Shown Their Work: The author's website goes into detail about nimravids like Dinaelurus crassus , which inspired Ratha's species. She also clarifies what the sea mares, belly-biters, and treelings are.
- Turn the Other Cheek: Ratha understands and forgives the face-tail hunters, refusing to attack them with fire. Thakur tells her that being able to forgive after being betrayed twice is true courage.
- Team Pet: The treelings, who form such close bonds with the Named that the Named admit to feeling lonely without them.
- True Companions: The clan, especially after Ratha takes over.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Ratha gets this from Thakur a lot. Although when he's invariably proved right, he's nicer about it than she is.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Shongshar, after Ratha forces him to abandon his un-Named cubs and he starts a cult of fire worship.
- Xenofiction: The stories are told from a uniquely feline...er...nimravid point of view.