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Ratha's Creature

(The Named #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,006 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Ratha and her clan are the Named, a band of intelligent wild cats whose society is based on herding deer. The Named have laws, language, traditions, and leaders. They also have enemies. The predatory raiders of the un-Named are driving them close to the edge of survival. Then Ratha, a mere yearling, discovers what she calls the Red Tongue: fire. Her new weapon gives the Na ...more
Paperback, 259 pages
Published July 19th 2007 by Firebird (first published 1983)
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Karyl They are called the Named because they are, as far as they know, the only intelligent clan who have gained the ability to name themselves. If I say an…moreThey are called the Named because they are, as far as they know, the only intelligent clan who have gained the ability to name themselves. If I say any more than that, it will probably give away too much.(less)

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  2,006 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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Althea Ann
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Ratha is a young female in a tribe of intelligent, talking big cats who call themselves The Named. The book follows her growing up & negotiating the tumultuous power struggles of her world.

For some reason, from the brief description I'd read of this series, I expected the characters to feel like 'aliens' - but overall, I thought this felt more like an animal story. I'd recommend it more for fans of animal stories than pure sci-fi fans (think Tad Williams' 'Tailchaser's Song', for example).

The f
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I originally read this about 15 years ago, and it's always stuck with me as one of my favorite series ever. I'm working on re-reading them all, especially with a brand-new book in the series having just been released.

So far, they're as good as I remembered them being. The story is set sometime in pre-history (it's hard to tell at times), where a Clan of sentient big cats survive by herding their own deer for food. Ratha begins the story as a cub just learning the ways of the herder, when a light
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
I came back and gave this a three star rating, because my previous one was only 2 stars. After I finished it, I couldn't get it out of my head, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Though gruesome and depressing, it's almost poetic in a dark, haunting way. It actually makes me want to get the second one and possibly read the whole series.

UPDATE 10-16-11: Ah, to heck with it, I'll give it a four star! *audience cheers*
(This is another book for which I wish GoodReads allowed fractions of stars, but anyway)...
I picked this up as a Read-a-like for the Warriors Series, which I love to pieces. This book had a similar feel, while still holding a very separate identity. I would indeed recommend it to someone looking to for new "animal-related fantasy."
In many ways, this story reminded me of the Lion King. And, since this is copyrighted in 1983, it came first! The main character, Ratha, is far from perfect.. and I l
Sheila Ruth
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: imaginator-press
Ratha's Creature is an intense, emotional roller coaster of a book. It's the coming of age story of a remarkable adolescent, but it's also a story of the eternal battle between social status quo and social change. Ratha is a remarkable character that you can't help but like in spite of her shortcomings, and teens will identify with her struggle to make sense of the world around her and find her place in it. Recommended for mature teens due to violence and adult situations.

Read my entire review.
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own
I first read this years ago and remembered really enjoying the series. In re-reading it, I found I didn't remember any of it, but I still really enjoyed it! I also found it to be a little more "grown-up" than I had remembered it to be, especially for being classified as a young adult.
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Growing up this was one of my absolute favorite series.
The creatures were a mix of feral and intelligent, and never ceased to give me goosebumps at certain points.
Still one of my favorites 17 years later.
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My absolute favorite book! A coming of age story told through the eyes of a prehistoric clan of wild cats. Themes like learning, belonging, and loyalty are key.
Vesper Vesper
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it

Ratha’s Creature was a great read, and truly different. I don’t find many books where the main character is full-blown animal (aka, no shape-shifting abilities), and it brought me back to the time when I used to roleplay as a wolf. Upon first getting this book, I wondered what the “creature” part of the title meant, and during the part it was revealed, I had to remind myself that we’re in the mind of an animal who has never seen the likes of what Ratha encounters, which only makes sense! It
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is now one of my all time favorites - it is an amazing story written by Clare Bell, and a story I shan't forget anytime soon. I was brought into the thrilling world of Ratha and the Named, intelligent cats living millions of years ago. By the first page I was hooked; all the characters were well developed and the plot exciting and original. Clare obviously researched to write these novels, and for that I respect her for it. She's an amazing, talented author and now one of my all time f ...more
PEN Center USA
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
1983 PEN Center USA Award Winner for Young Adult Literature (tie)
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It was one of the best books ive ever read. I love how she said the eyes of most of the Un-Named we different from those of the clan.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people looking for a Mature Talking Animal Book, people who wish Warriors was better
Shelves: talking-animals
*mild spoilers, be warned*

I encountered this book on my quest to find a Mature Talking Animal Book. Because really, i think the concept of animals thinking and feeling like humans has deep potential for great stories and shouldn't be relegated to children's books.

Not that there's anything wrong with children's books, but I digress.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It reminded me a bit of the Warriors series, which I loved when i was like 12. (12 year old me had poor taste in books, appar
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ratha’s Creatures Review by Adonijah Emanuel

Ratha and her clan (the Named) are a clan of a strong, self-aware, cheetah like prehistoric big cats. They have laws, languages and traditions and live by herding the creatures, dapple backs (horses) and three horns (deer), they once hunted. Surrounding the Named are the more numerous non-sentient UnNamed, who prey on the clan’s herds. Mating between Named and UnNamed is forbidden, since the clan believes that the resulting young will be UnNamed animal
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I originally read this book, for the first time, when I was in the sixth grade (roughly 1994, I believe.) Back then, it had a different cover, though. I remember thinking "Didn't I see this as a cartoon once...?" because of the CBS Special that aired about it. In any case, I'm a big cat person, so to have found a book about talking cats that was so well-written was something that excited me beyond belief.

The way the story flows, the hardships that Ratha faces (as well as the other characters of
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Bad: Alright, first off, this story had a TERRIBLE editor. I found many mistakes, and one in particular made me want to drop the book and never read it again. Apparently the author thought that commas/punctuation was not needed at the end of speech. I found that a really dumb mistake, and I noticed it right away. And commas in general are super sparse.

Also, I didn't really relate with Ratha much at all. Sure, she could be bold and daring sometimes, but most of the time she was just annoying.
Ashley Brown
Ratha's Creature is a quick read, with intense page-turning action the entire way through. It does not bog down in descriptions, and every word seems to have intent for moving the story forward.

This book is a coming of age story, where a young female cub must learn to survive on her own among what her clan believes to be unintelligent, mindless members of their own species. She is banished from her own clan by Meoran, the clan leader, and the one who teaches those he (cruelly) rules that the oth
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Not many people
Shelves: animals
I give this book one and a half. I started off liking this book a lot but in the end I thought it was okay. I didnt like Ratha as a main character. Thakur and Bonechewer were much better. Bell's writing is good but this book lacked story. I found it kind of found it that it dragged on and on. The book is called Ratha's Creature but the creature(Red Tounge) had nothing to do in this book. She caught the creature, got kicked out of the clan and then the creature drowned. This book also lacked agoo ...more
Katarina Bambina
Jun 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Despite the cheesy tag line on the back of this book, I thoroughly enjoyed rereading it (I first read this book when I was 12). The description is amazing, the characters interesting, and the idea more or less original (despite all the cat books that have been written after this book came out in 1983). If you like "Watership Down", I would highly recommend this book-- and so far my students like it!
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Think that this is a great book. I LOVED it! Not only has it taught me quit a bit about mountain lions it has also inspired me to want to read more books. Before I read Ratha's creature I didn't want to have anything to do with reading. I also love goodreads it is amazing i started to find many books that i would like to read. I loved the way ratha really learned to like the red tonge(fire) and used it to help her clan keep the "un-named" cats off her land.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
These books are old friends. No matter how long since I last saw them, once I'm back in the story, it's as if no time at all has passed.
Alyson Errichetti
Jul 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting concept, but a little slow in reading. The Warriors books are much better and much more engaging.
Madeline (The Bookish Mutant)
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Wow! Ratha’s Creature was an amazing read that didn’t cease to amaze me. Glad I bought it!
Miles Nelson
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this book several years ago after recieving it as a gift. I love how it features a strange, almost sci-fi world set on another planet that never progressed past the ice age. It stuck with me a long time after, and started an obsession with strange, unique sci-fi and fantasy worlds, untouched by the hand of man.

I’d recommend this book to ages 15+ due to violence and sexual themes.

Be aware, this review contains minor spoilers!

For starters, let’s discuss the core aspect; Ratha herself, our n
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't believe in fate, but sometimes there are happy coincidence. When I was offered Ratha's Creature for review, I grinned like a madman. This was my favorite book of all time! The username that I've been using online for 20 or so years (Thistle-Chaser) comes from it. My oldest LJ icon is from it. I still have a VHS tape of the CBS Storybreak animated special from the 80s of this book.

And then I waited. And waited. Usually when I accept a book for review, they send it in a day or two. This on
Kenya Starflight
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-love
I enjoy a well-written xenofiction novel, but it takes a skilled writer to pull it off. Too often writers of xenofiction make the mistake of "humanizing" their animal characters too much, and as a result it often feels like one is reading a book about humans in animal clothing instead of actual animals. "Ratha's Creature" deals with animals that are more human-like than one would expect... but not only does Clare Bell tell a gripping and fascinating story about her prehistoric cats, she manages ...more
Pat MacEwen
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I missed this series when it first came out, but the author was kind enough to give me a copy of the first book when we met at a convention in San Jose, where we'd been discussing alien-building. Ratha is based on large terrestrial felines, being largely leopard-like, and the author has done a good job of portraying feline societies of two types. In this case, the divide is one intelligence, language capability, and social behavior among felines whose troops resemble the pack structures of wolve ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Warrior cats
Shelves: own, animal-fiction
I discover this book on Goodreads and everyone says it like Warrior Cats, but must darker and mature. Right they are. There are some deep themes of class, prejudice, growing up, and trying to find your place in the world.

The writing is hunting at times giving an uncanny atmosphere. When Ratha’s brings the fire to the clan, you can feel their fear and anxiety. There are some gritty death and intends mating scenes.
The characters all stand out on their own. You get the since that each of them has
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There's an art in the Ratha's series that is hard for me to find in other books. What they don't know we(the reader) might know, but what they do know we(the reader) might not know. It becomes immersing to have to figure out what some words mean, how they came to call something a "creature" even if it's not living, and how they function as a 'family'. Each character has a personality that isn't shoved into your face, they aren't cardboard either, you learn as you go instead of being given everyt ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as a child and reread it some 15 years later when I first started working in libraries. Now I've purchased the entire series for my school library and am eagerly preparing to read the rest of Ratha's story. This one holds up completely to my memory of it -- it's a lush, absorbing, thrilling, heartbreaking, and timeless story. (One great advantage of the well-crafted prehistoric setting: it will never feel dated.) Fully qualified to stand alongside animal classics like Watership ...more
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I've been really busy with the Ratha's Creature Graphic Novel project! The idea of adapting Ratha's Creature as a graphic novel is now moving much closer to reality. Our Kickstarter is 75% funded, with 5 days left.

Tod, Dani, Ian, and Sheila have put together a real treat for Ratha fans -- a music video about how the artists are developing and visualizing Bonechewer for the R

Other books in the series

The Named (5 books)
  • Clan Ground (The Named, #2)
  • Ratha and Thistle-Chaser (The Named, #3)
  • Ratha's Challenge (The Named, #4)
  • Ratha's Courage (The Named, #5)

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