Jul 18th, 2008
I just got hooked on these books. Violet and Dash recently discovered the “Warriors” series and until they finished all six books, they were taking them everywhere and constantly reading them. (I have learned it’s preferable to have a child reading at the table in a restaurant instead of a child who tells you every 43 seconds how boooooored they are. On the other hand, I wouldn’t extend this dispensation to a Game Boy.)
“Warriors” is the saga of four clans of cats, living in the wild, adhering to what they call (mew?) “the warrior code.” The cats hunt prey, patrol their territory, mentor their apprentices, take care of their elders and try to keep the fragile peace amongst the four clans. There are many skirmishes with rival clans and outside threats (dogs, badgers, foxes), as well as intrigue and drama within the clan.
Into the mix comes a nearby housecat (sneeringly referred to as a “kittypet”) named Rusty, who was caught hunting mice in Thunder Clan territory and then is invited to join the clan. Rusty becomes Firepaw (his apprentice name), and later Fireheart (his warrior name).
When I noticed my sister and brother-in-law (aka Mr. and Mrs. Incredible) reading the Warriors books too, I was really intrigued. So I read the first one, “Into the Wild” where Rusty becomes Firepaw and tries to live up to the clan’s expectation while being thwarted by a power-hungry cat nemesis named Tigerclaw.
I ended up reading all six books in the series. I just had to know what was going to happen to our hero and his clan. I can read one in less than two hours. They are all 200+ pages long, but the typesetting is very big and open. Dash, who is 8, had no problem finishing one after the other.
Then I read the second series, “Warriors: The New Prophecy”, where the next generation of apprentices play the starring role. Another six books with an interesting environmental underpinning. There’s a third series, and the only thing preventing me from reading it is that I feel a little embarassed about reading 18 books meant for young kids.
Best way to explain the story: it’s Harry Potter with cats! Four clans with special powers, into which a young male comes who must prove himself and save everyone from an evil genius cat bent on total domination. Sound familiar? Firepaw even has two best friends who help him get in and out of numerous scrapes and rule-breaking adventures. Check out the lineup:
Graystripe, his loyal friend: Ron
Cinderpelt, his female friend, very smart: Hermione
Bluestar, clan leader: Dumbledore/McGonagall
Thunder Clan: Gryffindor
Shadow Clan: Slytherin
The books are an easier read than the Harry Potter series, shorter and less complicated. They are a bit graphic when it comes to killing and eating prey; the phrase “juicy vole” comes up a lot, and if you love bunny rabbits, well, you might not like some of the scenes. There are a lot of fierce battles, and cats actually die. (I even cried at the end of one of the books…)
Aunt hack ratings:
Age group: 8 and up; obviously, some adults can even get hooked
Duration of activity:I can read one book in less than two hours; maybe double that for kids?
Cost: $6.99 per paperback, but you might as well buy the whole set, which is $24.41 at Amazon. They also had them at the library here.
Child/aunt fun ratio: 55/45. Kids will enjoy them a little more because they won’t overanalyze them and they don’t have the embarassment factor of reading a kids book.