A fun, nontraditional take on the talking animal mythical quest story Instead of a strapping hero out to save the world from a terrible catastrophe, we have a loser bobcat catnip addict who s completely confused and frustrated by the epic turn his life has taken He finds himself the key player in a cyclic narrative, caught up in the plans of demigods he hadn t even believed existed, and spends most of his time just trying to wrap his head around matters Then, when they get to the final goal o A fun, nontraditional take on the talking animal mythical quest story Instead of a strapping hero out to save the world from a terrible catastrophe, we have a loser bobcat catnip addict who s completely confused and frustrated by the epic turn his life has taken He finds himself the key player in a cyclic narrative, caught up in the plans of demigods he hadn t even believed existed, and spends most of his time just trying to wrap his head around matters Then, when they get to the final goal of the journey and he goes forth alone to face certain doom at the hands of the prime antagonist, even that turns out completely differently than he had come to expect I had initially thought the book would be a quick, mediocre but fun read I ended up enjoying it muchthan I had expected to The quest format was given an entertainingly irreverent twist, and in some ways the resolution wasbelievable and satisfying than it is when the quest format is played straight Setting In this world, humans don t seem to exist In place of humans, we have animals with human level intelligence and dexterity Aside from this, the world isn t overly developed There are some gods who perhaps meddle a little in the lives of the people and they have a few things which they do apparently on some sort cycle There is a little bit of magic in the world It s not really clear what the limits are or what can and can t be done I was a little disappointed with the world building Setting In this world, humans don t seem to exist In place of humans, we have animals with human level intelligence and dexterity Aside from this, the world isn t overly developed There are some gods who perhaps meddle a little in the lives of the people and they have a few things which they do apparently on some sort cycle There is a little bit of magic in the world It s not really clear what the limits are or what can and can t be done I was a little disappointed with the world building because the decision to make this talking animals instead of people seems entirely pointless They build houses and roads and caravans and can all communicate with other species just fine I am left a little curious as to Payne would go out of his was to write the characters as animals when it didn t affect anything Ultimately, it feelslike a gimmick than anything of actual substance.Characters BobcatBobcat is basically just a piece of garbage that only does anything because he s forced into it We begin the novel with him waking up and thinking about how he s gonna just go be a total jerk to someone else for no reason whatsoever other than wouldn t that be funny If you didn t hate him based on the previous sentence he s also a drug addict He has some previous trauma that I guess is supposed to justify this behavior and make himrelatable but he spends the majority of the novel just being a whiny jerk SkinkSkink is a largely cowardly little lizard but no so cowardly that he would turn away from the important quest he finds before him even knowing it is dangerous Skink is, in that way, kind of like Neville Longbottom FisherFisher plays the guiding role for the intrepid party She seems to have the closest thing to an idea as to what s going on and, with some help from Skink, is willing to drag Bobcat along to his destiny as needed.Plot Bobcat sets out one day to be a scumbag and is stopped when the literal god of death shows up and attacks him I m not joking, that s chapter one Shortly after this, we find out that said god of death does in fact have bigger plans than slapping around jerks The titular blood jaguar, goddess of death, is apparently planning to unleash some plague which would kill off about half the world Due to some prophecy, it s up to Bobcat, Skink, and Fisher to stop this from happening If only one of these prophecies ever went into detail about how to stop the ancient evil Dang inconsiderate prophecy writers It s like you didn t even want people to follow your prophecy.My Thoughts More than anything else, I feel like this novel comes off feeling a little rushed The plot is almost aggressively fast, world building is almost entirely overlooked, and Bobcat is the only character that gets anything which can even be argued as development The strangest thing about all this is that it s not like there wasn t room for these things This is one of the smallest books I ve read in the last year and fantasy readers are generally not shy about picking up fairly thick books so I really think that a little extra content could have helped out here.Much smaller point here but, why do none of the main characters get names There are other animals who actually have names, but all of the main characters are just named for the animal that they are This seems like a strange choice to me DNF at about halfway through This was sold to me by someone who said it was a book with a well defined and prevalent magical system Obviously we understood this to mean totally different things I try really hard to give small authors and presses a break, but for all that this may have been a good idea, it was weighed down with a myriad of questionable editorial decisions The language was colloquial at best, and at worst not proper English It s a shame because it definitely had potential In DNF at about halfway through This was sold to me by someone who said it was a book with a well defined and prevalent magical system Obviously we understood this to mean totally different things I try really hard to give small authors and presses a break, but for all that this may have been a good idea, it was weighed down with a myriad of questionable editorial decisions The language was colloquial at best, and at worst not proper English It s a shame because it definitely had potential In the end, however, good ideas need good execution to be realized I wanna support my furry fiction but I just couldn t get through this one I liked the three main characters and their dialogue amongst themselves The fantasy fable setting was cool enough too, but the storytelling of their journey didn t really pull it together for me Chapter 4 the scene with the bison king was very cool, but by the time I got to page 100 I realized it just wasn t keeping my attention and I kept having to reread passages Maybe another time One of my most favorite books The Blood Jaguar is a classic Hero s Journey story done right.Yes, it is predictable to some degree, because as much as it tries to break the trope, it IS a Hero s Journey, with all the appropriate steps However, it is also a sort of hero s journey gone wrong in a way, as Bobcat finds himself ignorant of what he s supposed to do in the periodic doomsday cycle Typically, there are very specific roles for characters for the Plague Year a bobcat, fisher, and skink traveling together, the s The Blood Jaguar is a classic Hero s Journey story done right.Yes, it is predictable to some degree, because as much as it tries to break the trope, it IS a Hero s Journey, with all the appropriate steps However, it is also a sort of hero s journey gone wrong in a way, as Bobcat finds himself ignorant of what he s supposed to do in the periodic doomsday cycle Typically, there are very specific roles for characters for the Plague Year a bobcat, fisher, and skink traveling together, the skink having lost their luck , the fisher as a shaman, and the bobcat as a visionary chasing mysterious prophetic dreams sent to him by the curials However Bobcat is a catnip addict and a school dropout and seems to have missed out on the dreams and any semblance of a basic education This can be frustrating at times as Bobcat is frequently the only one who has no idea what is going on, and somehow missed out on common lore that everyone knows I understand this as a storytelling technique but really sometimes you just want Bobcat to get eaten by the Blood Jaguar for being so ignorant, especially in the beginning when he whines for several chapters However I m glad I stuck through the rocky beginning because the ending is excellent Another point in its favor is that it s not a trilogy Finally, a fantasy story that you can read from beginning to end in a single volume Aside from Bobcat, the rest of the characters are really interesting and complex, though it can be annoying to read somewhat inconsistent slang You wanna cup The other issue I had is that clearly the continent they re supposed to be on is North America, but occasionally and JUST occasionally there are major breaches in ecology Like meerkats Why exactly there are meerkats in North America is not explained, and it also seems as though the lion they refer to is an african lion and not a mountain lion by the language but it s ambiguous enough that I can t tell, and I m pretty sure Lord Lion shook his mane at one point There is also one leopard though she s a curial so I guess its acceptable Honestly if it was a mixed fantasy world where the species were randomized a bit it wouldn t have bothered me, but bobcats, fishers, jaguars, kit fox, and bison are all indigenous to North America so mixing in other selected species seems arbitrary and out of place.Another consistency issue is really in the society It s confusing in a number of ways, and it s not clear whether the animals wear clothes or have anthropomorphized hands or the level or lack of technology or how many things WORK In other talking animal books such as Redwall, it is usually clear, but in The Blood Jaguar, its spotty and inconsistent.However, whatever its flaws and despite the tropes, the Blood Jaguar is a solid stand alone fantasy novel It is a different world It s North America, but very little of what you know is the same The sun still shines and the grass still grows, but there are no people There are or perhaps there aren t twelve Curials kit fox, dolphin, raven, lioness and the rest, who intervene in the lives of the inhabitants There are the inhabitants, a myriad of animals mice, otters, meerkats, buffalo to name a few They live in their towns and cities, pursuing their various occupations, having occasional celebrations and now and then they live in fear In fear of the Blood Jaguar, the thirteenth Curial, who returns from time to time and visits a horrible plague on the world, nearly killing it entirely At such times, a fisher, a skink, and a bobcat are somehow impelled to go on a quest to stop her They always fail There is no reason to think that this time, of all times, Bobcat will somehow not fail This one surprised me I saw it in the dollar store once, and my experience with dollar store books has not fared well.This is a story that can t be summed up easily It s a quest to save the world, but with some interesting twists Though you can tell it s a first effort by a new author, it s a good one I loved the snake dialogue when they were in the desert It feels like it should rhyme and it s actually a joy to read The Bison scene is clever, too.I have only two complaints One is that I This one surprised me I saw it in the dollar store once, and my experience with dollar store books has not fared well.This is a story that can t be summed up easily It s a quest to save the world, but with some interesting twists Though you can tell it s a first effort by a new author, it s a good one I loved the snake dialogue when they were in the desert It feels like it should rhyme and it s actually a joy to read The Bison scene is clever, too.I have only two complaints One is that I m not sure what animal the Fisher is, and it was weird not knowing how to picture one of the main characters Did I miss the description or am I just dense And our trio of heroes spends way too much time traveling, eating, sleeping, walking and not enough time doing something.Much of the book comes across as mere filler, and it could ve done better with less traveling andscenes that strengthened the underlying theme Another draft might ve helped fill the hollow spaces, but even in its current state the last few chapters make the whole thing worth it Where our bobcat ends up saves the whole book Even if you don t fully understand what all the other stuff means, seeing how Bobcat saves the world is enormously satisfying He s a useless character right up until the end, and it s so wonderful to see him change from a useless drug addict to unlikely hero.I have a feeling it smeaningful than meets the eye It wanted to bemeaningful you can tell there s an insightful revelation hidden in here somewhere and, again, I wish Payne had run it through another draft to bring this forward It s just begging to come forward Unfortunately, it s been left in an unfinished state, and as a result it s unclear what it s supposed to show.But underdone as it is, there s enough there to grasp this deeper meaning, even if only on the edge of comprehension It s a satisfying read in the end, but I still wonder what it would be like if it were developed all the way I mean that in the nicest, most fulfilling way possible A new and gorgeously illustrated edition of The Blood Jaguar is currently available from Sofawolf Press But I m cheap, so I bought the Kindle edition for under 2 I tore through this in a weekend of travelling It s a jolly fantasy in the classic journey quest vein, with three bickering travellers heading off to confront the Blood Jaguar and prevent a cyclical plague which kills 50% of the population every hundred years or so And what a lovable population Otter labourers, rabbit farmers, exo A new and gorgeously illustrated edition of The Blood Jaguar is currently available from Sofawolf Press But I m cheap, so I bought the Kindle edition for under 2 I tore through this in a weekend of travelling It s a jolly fantasy in the classic journey quest vein, with three bickering travellers heading off to confront the Blood Jaguar and prevent a cyclical plague which kills 50% of the population every hundred years or so And what a lovable population Otter labourers, rabbit farmers, exotic meerkats you really don t want to think about these creatures dying horribly, so you feel the urgency of the mission Bobcat, Skink and Fisher are on.The twist is that Bobcat, like The Hobbit s Bilbo, thinks his quest is a load of nonsense He doesn t believe in the Twelve Curials, the spirit animals who preside over his world, he certainly doesn t think of himself as any kind of hero oh, and he has a small catnip problem Can Fisher and Skink straighten him out in time for the showdown The action never really rose to a peak for me There sabout eating and sleeping and travelling than there is of danger and adventure, but it s so charmingly and humorously written, with so many little details of this furry world, that I couldn t really hold a grudge This was an interesting take on the hero s journey, mystic quest idea I also didn t realize until after the book was over that Fisher is not a title but the name of an actual species of animal The story centers around Bobcat who spend most of his time getting high on catnip and not really doing much else He doesn t really know a whole lot about the world around him and doesn t particularly care to be educated about it either He s a nobody and isor less content staying that way.But when This was an interesting take on the hero s journey, mystic quest idea I also didn t realize until after the book was over that Fisher is not a title but the name of an actual species of animal The story centers around Bobcat who spend most of his time getting high on catnip and not really doing much else He doesn t really know a whole lot about the world around him and doesn t particularly care to be educated about it either He s a nobody and isor less content staying that way.But when the Blood Jaguar comes along Bobcat finds that he has no choice but to go along with a plan much bigger then himself.Bobcat was an interesting choice as the main character He doesn t really believe in what s going on, doesn t really want to understand it and really just wants to go home He s not one for heroics.This book tries hard to break out of some classic ideas and sometimes feels as if it is trying a bit too hard Still this was an interesting book and an interesting tale to watch unfold