I noticed this was the book of the month for December, so I went back through my archives to pull out my old review of it. So far my old list of ‘Top Ten Furry Books’ seems to be surprisingly accurate. Forests of the Night appears to have become popular on this forum, and now Blood Jaguar is the book of the month. Here’s rooting for the awesome Samurai Cat series to show up next!
Please Note: Minor Spoilers.
The Blood Jaguar
Author: Michael H. Payne
Title: The Blood Jaguar
Publisher: Tor Books / Sofawolf
Here’s a novel that slipped my mind for years until I started writing this list.
Possibly the most difficult to classify of all the books here, The Blood Jaguar is… a fairy tale. This book is amazingly close to a story a father might make up for his children as he sends them off to sleep.
But calling The Blood Jaguar nothing more than a bedtime story would be an injustice equal to calling The Hobbit nothing more than a tale J.R.R Tolkien thought up for his children.
This book follows all the stereotypes you might expect from a ‘talking animal’ fable. It’s cute, it has (at first) a simple moral and plot, and it’s somewhat child friendly.
But like any good story, it grows from there. The plot never strays too far from its fairy tale roots, but you quickly get to feel that the characters of Bobcat, Fisher, and Skink are real people, with complex and distinct personalities.
The plot is a bit much to get into, but suffice it to say it begins in storybook fashion with the little lizzard Skink losing his luck. From there it quickly becomes a journey across the world, a battle of magic riddles, and eventually leads to Bobcat exploring the world beyond death.
I suppose the fact ‘I should reread this book’ is the most telling thing about this book, as opposed to ‘I have reread it’. It’s great, but it also fell from my mind after I finished it. It wasn’t like some of the other stories on this list where I turned around and read them a second time.
I really need to go back and reread this book. While the plot is dark enough you likely wouldn’t want to read it to ones that are too little, but it’s more than enough to hold an adult’s attention. And, if you have a child who’s getting old enough to outgrow such things as bedtime stories, this might be just the ticket.