Monday, December 29, 2008

Warriors series by Erin Hunter

Well, I didn't get much reading done over my holiday trip, but I did manage to finish one book. And that book wrapped up a series. I review the Warrior books as a series because reviewing them individually gets seriously repetitive and does not do them justice. This is actually the second of these series that I've read - I read The New Prophecy series before reading this one (my review is here), but reading the series out of order is not really that big of a deal.
I have to say that if these books had been out when I was in elementary school, they would have been my favorites. Even with the level of cat-against-cat violence, I think I still would have loved the idea of these wild forest cats living according to a warrior code. The first book in this series, Into the Wild, introduces us to Rusty, a house cat who feels the call of the forest. He meets some of the warrior cats of ThunderClan, and is accepted among them as an apprentice warrior, and renamed Firepaw. He must deal with prejudice against "kittypets" such as him, and prove that he can be a loyal and valuable member to ThunderClan.
The main plotline of the series as a whole is Firepaw's rivalry with Tigerclaw. In the first book Firepaw discovers Tigerclaw's treachery - he would do anything to gain power, even kill members of his own clan. Later, as Firepaw becomes a full warrior and is renamed Fireheart, he must continue this battle. It isn't until the third book, Forest of Secrets, that Fireheart is able to prove Tigerclaw's treachery and get him exiled from the clan forever. But that is not the end of his troubles with Tigerclaw. Tigerclaw continues to plague ThunderClan, and carries a personal vendetta against Fireheart. In addition to this main plotline, the clan must hold its own against the three other clans of the forest, as well as dealing with natural occurances like drought, storms, and fire.
I have to say that I do love these books, although they are a bit on the overdramatic side at times. And the violence is not something that can be ignored. These cats fight and kill each other, and are also killed by predators like birds of prey and feral dogs. They live a tough life. But for a kid that can handle that level of violence, these books are great. Older elementary school kids or younger middle schoolers are usually who I recommend this book to. There are powerful themes of acceptance and loyalty, trust, friendship, and family. And now I get to move on to another book in this world! The books in this series are: Into the Wild, Fire and Ice, Forest of Secrets, Rising Storm, A Dangerous Path, and The Darkest Hour.

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