Warriors (novel series)
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Warriors is a series of juvenile fantasy novels published by HarperCollins; it is written by authors Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui Sutherland with the plot developed by editor Victoria Holmes, who collectively use the pseudonym Erin Hunter. The series follows the adventures of four Clans of wild cats—ThunderClan, ShadowClan, WindClan, and RiverClan—in their forest and lake homes. SkyClan, the long-forgotten fifth Clan of the forest, is later introduced in the stand-alone novel Firestar's Quest. It receives additional focus in the novel SkyClan's Destiny, the manga trilogy SkyClan and the Stranger, and the 2013 novella Cloudstar's Journey.
There are currently five sub-series, each containing six books. The first, Warriors, was published from 2003 to 2004. Warriors: The New Prophecy, published from 2005 to 2006, follows the first sub-series, chronicling the Clans as they move to a new home. The third story arc, Warriors: Power of Three, was published from 2007 to 2009. The fourth sub-series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars, was published from 2009 to 2013 and continued where the third story arc left off. The fifth sub-series is entitled Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, and the first book, The Sun Trail, was released 5 March 2013.
Other books have been released in addition to the main series, including six lengthier stand-alone novels entitled Firestar's Quest, Bluestar's Prophecy, SkyClan's Destiny, Crookedstar's Promise, Yellowfang's Secret, and Tallstar's Revenge. Also originally-e-book-only novellas called Hollyleaf's Story, Mistystar's Omen and Cloudstar's Journey have been published, with Tigerstar's Fury also set to be released. Five field guides and several volumes of original English-language manga, produced as a collaboration between HarperCollins and TOKYOPOP, have been published as well. Manga published after TOKYOPOP's shutdown is published by HarperCollins on its own. In addition to the books, the authors have also written several short stories and two plays. The Warriors series, with the exception of the manga, has been released in e-book format for popular e-readers such as the Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle. The series has also been translated into several languages. In addition, the series has a website featuring games, promotional videos, quizzes, a message board, and news.
Major themes in the series deal with forbidden love, the concept of nature versus nurture, the reactions of different faiths meeting each other, and characters being a mix of good and bad. The authors draw inspiration from several natural locations and other authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, and William Shakespeare.
Warriors has received mostly positive reviews, but it has also been criticised for being confusing due to its large number of characters. Critics have compared it to the Redwall series, though one reviewer commented that the series is less elegantly written. Although nominated for several awards, Warriors has yet to receive any major literary prizes. The series has reached the New York Times Bestseller List and has found popularity in many countries, including Trinidad and China.
- 1 Setting and characters
- 2 Clan hierarchy
- 3 Main series
- 4 Other books
- 4.1 Super Editions
- 4.2 Field guides
- 4.3 OEL manga series
- 4.4 Novellas
- 5 Inspiration and origins
- 6 Critical reception
- 7 Themes
- 8 Editions
- 9 Other media
- 10 References
Setting and characters
In the Warriors universe, there are four Clans of feral cats that live in a forest: ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan. A fifth Clan, SkyClan, is driven out by the other Clans when its territory is destroyed by humans building a town, and it scatters shortly after arriving at a new home in a gorge. SkyClan is later rebuilt in Firestar's Quest. Cats in each Clan live and hunt in their own territory, which they defend from other cats. Each Clan is adapted to its own types of prey and members usually possess (or are taught) special skills which suit the territory's terrain. BloodClan is a group of stray city cats introduced in The Darkest Hour. However, they are not considered to be a true Clan because they do not believe in the warriors' spiritual ancestors, StarClan, or the warrior code, a set of rules followed by all Clan cats. BloodClan is considered to be a group of rogues (non-Clan cats who do not respect the Clan cats' rules).
StarClan is a group of the Clans' deceased ancestors who give guidance to the Clans. After death, most Clan cats join StarClan. StarClan is said to be represented by Silverpelt (the Milky Way), and each individual star represents the spirit of a single dead warrior. Upon joining StarClan, the cats' spirits take the form in which they were most happy while living (i.e. blindness and deafness can be cured). StarClan warriors keep watch over the Clans, usually watching the Clan they lived in while alive. They provide guidance to the Clans, often through dreams and other signs like omens. Often, this occurs when medicine cats go to the Moonstone, a large piece of quartz in an abandoned mine, which is used in the forest territory to communicate with the medicine cats' ancestors every half-moon. When the Clans move to live by a lake because humans destroy their forest, the medicine cats gather at the Moonpool, a pool used as the replacement for the Moonstone. In an author chat, Hunter said that StarClan can "just get glimpses of" the future, which they occasionally pass on.
In addition to StarClan, there also exists the Dark Forest, also known as The Place of No Stars. The spirits of cats who cause great pain and suffering to others during their lives reside there instead of in StarClan. Dark Forest cats eventually gain the ability to walk in dreams like StarClan. All Dark Forest cats eventually fade away as their evil deeds are forgotten. Also, StarClan cats fade away when they are forgotten. Both Dark Forest and StarClan cats fade away if killed again before they are forgotten.
Beyond the Clans' territories lies a mountain range, inhabited by the Tribe of Rushing Water. The Tribe is shown to be similar to the Clans, yet it follows a different set of ancestors: the Tribe of Endless Hunting. The Tribe has a Healer, cave-guards, and prey-hunters, who each serve a different function in the Tribe. The Healer leads the Tribe, heals the ill and wounded, and communicates with the Tribe of Endless Hunting; the cave-guards defend the Tribe, and the prey-hunters hunt.
The Clans' origin is described in Secrets of the Clans. Originally, many small groups of wild cats live in the forest. Without a code of honour to follow or ancestors to provide guidance, they fight constantly for food and territory. One night, a large battle occurs, and many cats die. The spirits of the cats killed in battle return and tell the remaining cats to "unite or die". In this way, the Clans are formed from the previous multitude of small groups. The dead spirits become StarClan, and the code of honour that the cats follow is gradually created, as described in Code of the Clans. Also, cats in Starclan do noy stay there for eternity. Eventually their spirits will fade away until they are no more.
The Clans have a hierarchical system, with different cats having different positions within the Clan. The leader receives his or her nine lives and leader name ending with the suffix -star from StarClan after he or she goes to the Moonstone/pool. The leader makes all major decisions for the Clan, such as deciding when to wage a battle or promote a warrior. The deputy is second in command and succeeds the leader when the leader loses his or her last life. The deputy's job is mainly to organise patrols and other everyday tasks. In order to be appointed deputy by the leader, a cat must already be a warrior and have mentored at least one apprentice. There is also a medicine cat in each Clan, who receives messages from StarClan and uses herbs to heal sick or injured cats. Medicine cats are not allowed to have kits or mates, as it would distract them from their duties. At each half-moon, the medicine cats from each Clan meet at the Moonstone/Moonpool to talk with StarClan. In a Clan, there is never more than one medicine cat apprentice at any one time: a medicine cat apprentice helps gather herbs and learns medicinal knowledge, but he or she is considered an apprentice until the current medicine cat dies or retires even if he or she has already received a full medicine cat name. There are also warrior apprentices (usually simply referred to as apprentices), who train to hunt for and defend their Clan, the duties of a warrior. All apprentices' names end with the suffix -paw. These apprentices are mentored by warriors, who pass down knowledge and skills they have learned from their own mentors. Apprenticeships usually last approximately six months. Apprentices occasionally undergo assessments, and they become warriors when their mentors deem them ready. Warrior name suffixes (e.g. -claw, -heart, -pelt, etc.) are selected by the leader during the warrior ceremony. When a cat becomes old or permanently ill or disabled, he or she retires to become an elder. Elders share their knowledge with the Clan and are cared for by the apprentices. The only task they carry out is burying dead Clanmates. Clans also have queens, who are she-cats expecting or caring for their kits. They return to warrior duties when no longer expecting or nursing kits. A queen is not obligated to reveal the identity of her mate. A kit's name always ends with the suffix -kit; kits become apprentices after they are six months old.
The characters have their own words for certain objects and ideas. Examples of these are the terms twoleg (person), horseplace (stable), and halfbridge (dock). The cats also use ways of measuring time and distance related to the natural world: sunhigh and moonhigh refer to the positions of celestial bodies as an indication of time. A moon is a used to indicate a month. The seasons have their own names as well, with newleaf meaning spring, greenleaf meaning summer, leaf-fall meaning autumn, and leaf-bare meaning winter. Distance terms vary from a kittenstep to a tree-length, but the most common examples are fox-length, tail-length, and mouse-length. Insults, exclamations, and phrases are also used. Mouse-brain, mouse dung, and fox dung are common expressions. There are other examples of common phrases: a mouse-hearted cat is cowardly, while a fox-hearted cat is cruel or sly. The term fish-face is used by ThunderClan to mock RiverClan cats. Similar to the human phrases "Good Lord", "What in God's name?", and "Thank God!", cats invoke StarClan for several phrases. Great StarClan, and What in StarClan's name? are used as exclamations of surprise and shock. Thank StarClan! is used as an exclamation of gratitude.
The original Warriors series, released from 2003 to 2004, consists of six books: Into the Wild, Fire and Ice, Forest of Secrets, Rising Storm, A Dangerous Path, and The Darkest Hour. The series follows a pet cat named Rusty who dreams about the forest that lies beyond the neighbourhood he lives in. One day, he ventures into the forest and is invited to join ThunderClan, one of four clans of wild cats in the forest. He accepts the invitation and receives the apprentice name Firepaw. Later, Firepaw receives his warrior name, Fireheart, and discovers that Tigerclaw, the deputy of ThunderClan, wishes to kill ThunderClan leader Bluestar in order to succeed her and become leader himself. In the third book, Forest of Secrets, Fireheart becomes deputy of the Clan after Tigerclaw tries to kill Bluestar, fails, and is banished from ThunderClan. Bluestar dies in A Dangerous Path, sacrificing her life to protect the Clan from dogs sent by Tigerstar, who becomes the leader of ShadowClan after his banishment. Fireheart then becomes the leader, receiving nine lives and the name Firestar. In The Darkest Hour, Tigerstar then attempts to take over all four Clans, telling them that the leaders will rule together. Leopardstar, leader of RiverClan, agrees, but Firestar and Tallstar, leader of WindClan, refuse. Tigerstar tries to use BloodClan, a vicious group of dangerous city cats, to take over the Clans, but BloodClan leader Scourge kills Tigerstar (taking all nine of Tigerstar's lives at once by slicing him from neck to tail) and decides to take over the forest for himself. The four Clans unite and fight BloodClan. Firestar loses the first of his nine lives in battle against Scourge, but he kills Scourge after returning to life, defeating BloodClan, and saving the forest.
Warriors: The New Prophecy
The second series, Warriors: The New Prophecy, was released from 2005 to 2006, and contains six books: Midnight, Moonrise, Dawn, Starlight, Twilight, and Sunset. In the series, four cats, Brambleclaw, Tawnypelt, Crowpaw, and Feathertail, are sent on a mission by StarClan to the ocean, with Feathertail's brother Stormfur and ThunderClan apprentice Squirrelpaw accompanying them. There, a badger named Midnight tells the six cats that all four of the Clans are in danger from humans and must leave for a new home.
On the way back to the forest, the travelling cats meet a group of cats called the Tribe of Rushing Water, who are being terrorised by a mountain lion called Sharptooth. The Clan cats stay with the Tribe, but they later run away after realising that they are being held prisoner and expected to kill Sharptooth. However, before having gone far, they have a change of heart and return to help the Tribe. After luring Sharptooth into the cave where the Tribe lives, a plan to poison Sharptooth fails, and the cats are forced to attempt to fight him off. Feathertail jumps onto a stalactite on the roof of the cave and plummets to the cave floor with it, falling on and crushing Sharptooth, sacrificing her life to save the Tribe.
In Starlight and Twilight, ThunderClan medicine cat apprentice Leafpool and Crowfeather (formerly Crowpaw) fall in love with each other. However, the warrior code says that Leafpool, as a medicine cat, cannot have a mate. In addition, Clan cats may not be mates with cats from other Clans. They eventually abscond, but they return when Midnight warns them that a large group of badgers plans to attack ThunderClan. Upon returning, they find that a badger has killed Cinderpelt, the ThunderClan medicine cat, while she was helping Sorreltail give birth. Shortly after, Leafpool discovers that Cinderpelt is reincarnated as Cinderkit, one of Sorreltail's kits.
The series then centres around the prophecy "before there is peace, blood will spill blood, and the lake will run red". Hawkfrost and Brambleclaw have been meeting with the spirit of their dead father Tigerstar in dreams, in which he is teaching them how to become Clan leader by force. Hawkfrost follows Tigerstar every step of the way, but Brambleclaw is split between loyalty to his leader and his own ambition. Firestar appoints Brambleclaw as deputy after finally accepting the possibility that Graystripe might never return. The series reaches its climax when Hawkfrost traps Firestar in a fox trap and tells Brambleclaw to kill him. Brambleclaw decides that he does not want to become leader by force,and refuses to kill Firestar. Instead, he frees him from the trap. Hawkfrost attacks Brambleclaw, but Brambleclaw kills Hawkfrost with the sharp stick that kept the fox trap into the ground. Hawkfrost's blood runs into the lake, dying it red, explaining the "blood will spill blood" prophecy as Brambleclaw is Hawkfrost's kin.
Warriors: Power of Three
The third series, titled Warriors: Power of Three, was released from 2007 to 2009 and includes The Sight, Dark River, Outcast, Eclipse, Long Shadows, and Sunrise. The plot is centred on the prophecy, "there will be three, kin of your kin, who hold the power of the stars in their paws", which was given to Firestar in Firestar's Quest by Skywatcher. The series follows Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze, three young cats who are Firestar's grand kits. This makes them the cats of the prophecy. Jayfeather is blind, but he soon discovers he has a unique power, as does one of his siblings. Jayfeather has the power to feel emotions and memories coming off of other cats and to walk in their dreams, where he is then able to see. Lionblaze has the power to never get hurt in a fight. Hollyleaf does not have any power and is later revealed not to be the third cat foretold in the prophecy. In Outcast, two cats from the Tribe of Rushing Water request help to drive away a group of loners that is stealing prey from the Tribe. The Clans send a patrol to help. There, Jayfeather learns that the Tribe came from the lake and tells his siblings about the prophecy. In Eclipse, a loner cat called Sol warns Jayfeather and Leafpool that the sun will disappear. During a battle involving all four Clans, the sun disappears in an eclipse. Sol then persuades ShadowClan to lose faith in StarClan in Long Shadows. Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf fake a sign from StarClan to convince Blackstar, leader of ShadowClan, that StarClan is real and should be followed, but StarClan cats come, making it a true sign. Sol is banished. Jayfeather, Hollyleaf, and Lionblaze learn in Sunrise that their true parents are Leafpool and Crowfeather, not Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw. Ashfur tries to kill Squirrelflight, Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather, because he is angry with Squirrelflight, wanting to be mates, but Hollyleaf kills Ashfur to keep him quiet. During a Gathering, Hollyleaf reveals the truth about their parents to all the Clans. She then runs away into a set of secret tunnels under the Clans' territories because she can not stand the fact that her birth is against the warrior code, which means a lot to her. The tunnels then collapse on Hollyleaf, and she is presumed dead. The novel ends with Jayfeather realising that Hollyleaf was never meant to be part of the Three and that either Dovekit or Ivykit, grandkits of Firestar's nephew Cloudtail, is meant to be the third cat of the prophecy.
Warriors: Omen of the Stars
The fourth series, entitled Warriors: Omen of the Stars, was released from 2009 to 2012 and includes The Fourth Apprentice, Fading Echoes, Night Whispers, Sign of the Moon, The Forgotten Warrior, and The Last Hope. It is a direct continuation of Warriors: Power of Three. In The Fourth Apprentice, ThunderClan apprentice Dovepaw finds out that she has the special power of hearing and seeing things from extreme distances. She sees beavers building a dam that is blocking the river upstream, causing the lake to dry up. Then Dovepaw reveals this, Jayfeather and Lionblaze both realise that she is the third cat in the prophecy. In Fading Echoes, Jayfeather, Yellowfang, and Spottedleaf go to the Dark Forest and discover that the cats there are training for battle. After Dovepaw saves ThunderClan from a falling tree, she receives special attention from Firestar that makes her sister Ivypaw jealous. Hawkfrost comes to Ivypaw and starts training her, telling her to have ThunderClan attack ShadowClan; Ivypaw says it is a sign from StarClan. In Night Whispers, Jayfeather finds out about Ivypaw's Dark Forest training and tells Lionblaze; Dovepaw overhears and tells the other two to ask Ivypaw to stop. Jayfeather suggests using Ivypaw as a spy, and Ivypaw learns that Tigerstar is training her and other jealous cats to fight against the Clans. She agrees to be a spy. In Sign of the Moon, Ivypaw and Dovepaw become Ivypool and Dovewing, and Jayfeather and Lionblaze find signs that Hollyleaf may be alive. They go to the Tribe of Rushing Water, where Jayfeather goes back to the Ancients and helps Half Moon become the first Stoneteller. He is then given a new prophecy: "The end of the stars draws near, three must become four, to battle the darkness that lasts forever". In The Forgotten Warrior, the warrior Briarlight—crippled by the falling tree in Fading Echoes—finds a tuft of black fur that Jayfeather recognizes as Hollyleaf's. Birchfall tells his daughter Ivypool that he is training with the Dark Forest. Ivypool kills Antpelt in the Dark Forest in front of Brokenstar to become a mentor. Hollyleaf scares off a fox that is attacking two apprentices, but when they go looking for her they find Sol. When in the tunnels eavesdropping on WindClan, Dovewing and Ivypool find Hollyleaf, who they bring back to camp. She shows them how to fight in the tunnels and traps Sol, but lets him go honorably. In The Last Hope, Ivypool listens to the Dark Forest warriors' plan. At the Moonpool, Yellowfang and Brambleberry—a former RiverClan medicine cat—tell Jayfeather that he must tell Lionblaze and Dovewing about the new prophecy and unite all the Clans. They discover that Firestar is the fourth cat of the prophecy, and when the Dark Forest attacks the Clans, Firestar kills Tigerstar. Lightning strikes a tree and kills Firestar in a flash of flame. Brambleclaw becomes Bramblestar and names Squirrelflight his deputy.
Warriors: Dawn of the Clans
The fifth series, entitled Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, details the origins of the Clans. The first book, The Sun Trail, has been published, and as has, Thunder Rising which was released on 5 November and The First Battle, is set to be released on 8 April 2014, with the fourth book The Blazing Star is set to be released 4 November 2014. In The Sun Trail, prey is scarce in the mountain home of the Tribe of Rushing Water, so a cat named Gray Wing and his companions must leave to find more food and a better home.
Once they reach their new home, they are attacked by many cats. Gray Wing falls in love with one of them named Storm. While in the forest, Clear Sky, Jagged Peak, and many other former Tribe cats start to live in the forest, and take in rogues. Gray Wing, while trying to visit Clear Sky and Jagged Peak, is attacked by one of the rogues Clear Sky has taken in. When Gray Wing sees Storm again, he invites her to visit Clear Sky. Once she meets Clear Sky, however, she falls in love with him. Gray Wing, one day, notices Storm is pregnant, and finds out that Clear Sky is the father and that she is going to live with him for a while. This breaks Gray Wing's heart.
When Turtle Tail (who becomes a housecat later in the book) tells Gray Wing that Storm is in trouble, Gray Wing does not believe her. When he finds Storm, she is dead along with two of her three kits. Gray Wing, Tall Shadow, and the Tribe cats who live on the moor, named the surviving kit Thunder. When Gray Wing shows Thunder his father, Clear Sky rejects Thunder. Sad and angry with his brother, Gray Wing adopts Thunder.
Super Editions are standalone books in the Warriors series that are approximately double the length of a normal Warriors book. There are six Super Editions as of July 2013: Firestar's Quest, Bluestar's Prophecy, SkyClan's Destiny, Crookedstar's Promise, Yellowfang's Secret, Tallstar's Revenge and the yet unreleased Bramblestar's Storm.
Firestar's Quest, the first Warriors Super Edition, was released on 25 August 2007. It is set between The Darkest Hour and Midnight and fills several plot gaps, and the births of Leafkit and Squirrelkit. The book details Firestar and Sandstorm's journey to restore SkyClan, the fifth Clan of the forest that is driven out when a town is built and is scattered when it is attacked by rats in its new home. Firestar and Sandstorm find rogues and kittypets to join SkyClan, and Firestar and Sandstorm leave with Leafstar as leader and Echosong as medicine cat of SkyClan, respectively.
Bluestar's Prophecy was released on 28 July 2009. It covers Bluestar's life from her birth to the beginning of Into the Wild. It explains Bluestar's constant and unfailing trust in Whitestorm, the backstory of her kits Stonekit, Mistykit, and Mosskit, and her secret mate Oakheart, and details her struggle between loyalty to her Clan and her heart. The book describes a prophecy given to Bluestar by her uncle, Goosefeather, the medicine cat at the time. The prophecy is "like fire you will blaze through the forest, but beware: even the most powerful flames can be quenched by water". Bluestar loses her last life when she falls into the gorge while saving Fireheart from a dog pack. She meets her kits, Mistyfoot and Stonefur for the last time before she joins StarClan.
SkyClan's Destiny was released on 3 August 2010. The book follows Leafstar and her struggle to rebuild the once-lost Clan. The book takes place several months after Firestar's Quest. The Clan's members are split over whether or not "daylight-warriors", housecats who join the Clan in the day and return to their owners at night, should be allowed to be part of the Clan. As well, a group of visiting rogues create challenges for the Clan.
Crookedstar's Promise was released on 5 July 2011. It takes place at the same time as Bluestar's Prophecy and explains how Stormkit becomes Crookedkit. The book describes the promise that Crookedkit makes to a Dark Forest cat, whom he believes is a StarClan cat, named Mapleshade. She tells him that she can give him anything he wants as long as he is faithful to his Clan and puts all other things aside. As a young warrior, Crookedjaw pledges his undying loyalty to RiverClan in exchange for the promise of power, not realising that his pledge will haunt him when he becomes the leader of his Clan. As a punishment from Mapleshade, Crookedstar loses his mother, Rainflower, his father, Shellheart, his mate, Willowbreeze and his daughter Silverstream.
Yellowfang's Secret was released on 9 October 2012. It is a Super Edition about the former ThunderClan medicine cat Yellowfang and her life in ShadowClan. It follows Yellowfang as she first trains to be a warrior, then later realizes her paws are not meant for shedding blood and her decision to switch to the role of medicine cat instead. However, she breaks the code of medicine cats when she gives birth and can only watch as she and her whole Clan are punished by her disloyalty to the code. In the end, she herself is cast out of ShadowClan by her own kit Brokenstar.
Tallstar's Revenge was released on 2 July 2013. It tells the story of Tallstar, whose father dies when he is an apprentice during a tunnel collapse. As a result, Talltail (later Tallstar) attempts to avenge his father's death by killing the cat (a rogue named Sparrow)who he believed had not helped his father Sandgorse escape the tunnel. On his quest he meets a kittypet named Jake and actually is father of Firestar. However, he discovers that his father actually sacrificed himself to allow the other cat to escape and so does not carry through with his intended vengeance.
Four field guides have also been published. They offer extra information, usually in the form of short stories, and are usually about 150 pages long. Secrets of the Clans is the first field guide in the series. It gives more details about the Clans previously unrevealed in the main series. Cats of the Clans, featuring illustrations and descriptions of the cats, was released on 24 June 2008. Code of the Clans, which describes the origins of the cats' code of honour, the warrior code, was released on 9 June 2009." Battles of the Clans, released on 1 June 2010, is about past battles and each Clan's special battle tactics. Enter the Clans is an omnibus field guide released on 26 June 2012. It is a collective work of the field guides Secrets of the Clans and Code of the Clans, although four pages of color artwork and the double foldout map inserts in the middle of Secrets of the Clans, as well as five pieces of color artwork in Code of the Clans, are not included in Enter the Clans.
Warriors: The Ultimate Guide
On 5 November 2013, a field guide titled Warriors: The Ultimate Guide has been released. HarperCollins held a contest in which ten fans would have their names appear on the dedication page. There are going to be descriptions of forty more cats, including Goosefeather, Dovewing, Brairlight, Lionblaze, and Ivypool. It also has various short stories, including how Tigerstar and Bramblestar got their nine lives.
OEL manga series
Several series of original English-language manga have been produced by HarperCollins with TOKYOPOP. With the shutdown of TOKYOPOP, subsequent manga volumes have been published under the HarperCollins name alone. Four of the manga series consist of three volumes, though The Rise of Scourge is a standalone book.
Graystripe's trilogy is a three-volume series following Graystripe from the time that he was taken by Twolegs in Dawn until he returns to ThunderClan in The Sight. It was published as the first part of a partnership between TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins. These books tell how Graystripe and Millie found their way to ThunderClan from a faraway town. It consists of 3 books: The Lost Warrior, Warrior's Refuge, and Warrior's Return. The final volume was published on 22 April 2008.
The Rise of Scourge
The Rise of Scourge was released on 24 June 2008 and, unlike the other manga, is a standalone volume. The story details the early life of BloodClan leader Scourge, one of the antagonists in The Darkest Hour, who was bullied in his youth for being small. The book chronicles his story up to the point when he kills Tigerstar, who once attacked Scourge when he ventured into the forest as a kitten.
Tigerstar and Sasha
Tigerstar and Sasha, is a manga trilogy detailing how Tigerstar and Sasha met and the events that occur after Sasha leaves Tigerstar and ShadowClan. The books are Into the Woods, Escape from the Forest, and Return to the Clans. The last volume was released on 9 June 2009.
Ravenpaw's Path is another trilogy which is centred around former ThunderClan apprentice Ravenpaw and his life on the farm with the farm cat Barley after the BloodClan battle. Holmes has said that the story takes place in the second half of the year between the original series and the The New Prophecy series, soon after Firestar and Sandstorm return to the Clan in Firestar's Quest. The three books are Shattered Peace, A Clan in Need, and The Heart of a Warrior, which was released on 3 August 2010.
SkyClan and the Stranger
SkyClan and the Stranger is another trilogy which is about SkyClan and how Sol came to know about the Clans. It begins with The Rescue, which was released on 5 July 2011. The second book is called Beyond the Code and was released 22 November 2011, and the third book is called After the Flood and was released 3 April 2012.
Originally published as e-book only features, the novellas Hollyleaf's Story, Mistystar's Omen, and Cloudstar's Journey were later published in print by HarperCollins in an anthology volume entitled Warriors: The Untold Stories, which was released on 2 July 2013. Tigerclaw's Fury was announced by the authors. Leafpool's Wish will also be published.
Hollyleaf's Story was released on 3 March 2012. It takes place starting from the time when Hollyleaf went into the tunnels at the conclusion of Sunrise, continuing until she goes to the tunnels beneath ThunderClan territory to find Ivypool and Dovewing spying on Sol and a group of WindClan cats. When she first goes into the cave, she is saved by Fallen Leaves and lives with him for the remainder of her time in the caves. The novella also describes various ways in which she continued to help ThunderClan during her absence.
Mistystar's Omen is novella released on 11 September 2012. When Leopardstar loses her ninth life, her longtime deputy, Mistyfoot, steps up to receive her new name—Mistystar—and lead her Clan through a troublesome time. Mistystar discovers a shocking secret about RiverClan, and her leadership is plunged into crisis as soon as it begins.
Cloudstar's Journey is a novella that was released as an e-book on 29 January 2013. The book describes SkyClan's situation as Twolegs destroying their home. Cloudstar tries to deny it is happening, but when their camp is ruined he brings his whole Clan to a Gathering and pleads with the other leaders of the Clans to help them.
Tigerclaw's Fury is the fourth novella.
Inspiration and origins
The series first began when HarperCollins asked Victoria Holmes to write a fantasy series about feral cats. Initially, Holmes was not very enthusiastic, since she "couldn't imagine coming up with enough ideas". She worked with the concept, however, expanding the storyline with elements of war, politics, revenge, doomed love, and religious conflict. Although the original plan was a stand-alone novel, enough material was created for several books, and the publisher decided upon a six-volume series. The first volume, Into the Wild, was written by Kate Cary, under the pseudonym "Erin Hunter", and was completed in about three months. Holmes then began to work behind the scenes, editing and supervising details. Cherith Baldry joined the Erins to write the third book, Forest of Secrets. Later, after Sutherland wrote the first Warriors field guide, she became the fourth Erin Hunter.
The authors have named several other authors as sources of inspiration when writing the novels. In an online author chat, Cherith Baldry listed the authors that inspire her as including Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Shakespeare. In the same chat, Victoria Holmes stated that Jacqueline Wilson, Kathy Reichs and J. K. Rowling are some of the authors that inspire her. According to the official website, other authors who have inspired the writers include Enid Blyton, Lucy Daniels, Ellis Peters, Tess Gerritsen, Kate Ellis, Lisa Gardiner, and Meg Cabot. The authors have also mentioned several other sources of inspiration. The New Forest in southern England was the base for the forest where the original series took place. Other influential locations include Loch Lomond, and the Scottish Highlands. Nicholas Culpeper, a physician who used materials occurring in the natural world as medicine, has also had an influence on the Warriors series. His book, Culpeper's Herbal, is used as a source by the authors for the herbal remedies that the cats use in the books. In addition, the authors mentioned that they may use some fan-created names in future books. Also mentioned as a source of inspiration was Rambo.
The first book of the series, Into the Wild, was generally well-received, with reviewers calling it a "spine-tingling," "thoroughly engrossing" and "exciting... action-packed adventure." One reviewer praised the authors for "creating an intriguing world... and an engaging young hero", but another criticised the characters and imagined world as being "neither... consistent nor compelling."
The large number of characters involved in the series has often been seen as a negative point; though one reviewer compared the "huge cast" to that of a Greek drama, others wrote that it was "hard to follow" and "a little confusing." The characters have also been criticised as being "somewhat flat" and "limited essentially to each individual's function within the clan."
As one reviewer put it, the cats in the series are "true to their feline nature," leading some critics to jokingly comment that the books will "leave readers eyeing Puss a bit nervously" and wondering "what dreams of grandeur may haunt the family cat." However, this realism also means that the series contains a relatively large amount of violence, with one critic stating that it is "not for the faint of heart." Several critics have compared Warriors to Brian Jacques' Redwall series, though one commented that it was "not as elegantly written." The New York Times called the series a "hit with young readers," specifically because of its "sprawling universe," and the series was able to appear on the New York Times Bestseller List for a total of 112 weeks, as of 6 May 2012.
Awards and recognitions
Into the Wild was nominated for the 2006 Young Reader's Choice Awards, but lost to Christopher Paolini's Eragon. It was also listed on Booklist's Top 10 fantasy books for youth in 2003 and was a Book Sense 76 Pick. The Sight was nominated as the best Middle Readers book at Amazon's Best Books of the Year (2007), and placed sixth out of the ten nominees, with six percent of the total votes. It was also nominated for the Children's Choice Book Awards. In 2006, Warriors also received an honourable mention for the best book series for Publisher Weekly's "On the Cuff" awards.
Themes in the series often revolve around forbidden love, with examples of forbidden relationships including Bluestar with Oakheart, Graystripe with Silverstream, and Leafpool with Crowfeather. These relationships are not allowed for various reasons: some involve medicine cats (such as Leafpool), who cannot have mates, while others developed between cats in different Clans, which is forbidden by the warrior code. Another idea explored in the novels is the reactions of different faiths when meeting each other. For example, the Tribe of Rushing Water, which believes in different spiritual ancestors than the Clans, is introduced in Moonrise. In an author chat, Holmes explained that the books never say that the Clans or the Tribe of Rushing Water are right about faith, because both are "equally valid." This leads to fear and suspicion between them because they are afraid of things they do not understand. Holmes said that "ignorance is a very scary thing!" Non-belief, as when Mothwing and Cloudtail do not believe in StarClan, is also significant in the storylines. On the other hand, Holmes said that another central theme of the series centres on "faith and spirituality" in StarClan. All books in the series heavily feature the influence of StarClan, not just as the cats think of them, but in terms of prophecies delivered by StarClan which inevitably come true. Some scenes take place within StarClan's realm, with no living cats present as point-of-view characters. Thus the existence of an afterlife and the influence of spirits who have passed on and yet retain their earthly identities is integral to all of the plot arcs in the series.
Another theme notes that characters can be a mix of good and evil. Holmes has said she is fascinated by these "shades of gray" in personalities. Her example of this was when Bluestar, a relatively noble and honourable cat, gave up her kits for her own ambitions so an evil cat would not take over. Another example she gave of this is how Tigerstar, even with all of his faults, is still courageous and fiercely loyal. Similarly, Holmes has also connected the theme to Brambleclaw and how nobody knew whether he was good or evil. A third major theme, often referred to as nature versus nurture, explores whether a person is born the way he or she will be, or if other things shape that, as in the example of Brambleclaw. This theme ties into the "shades of gray" theme.
A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that friendship and responsibility are taught to characters in the novels, while booksforyouths.com had a reviewer who pointed out the idea that, just as Clan cats shun house cats for their soft life, people should realise that it is necessary to experience hardships in life. A Storysnoops review noted that one of the themes was that "it doesn't matter where you come from, only who you are inside". In Dawn, the importance of cooperation is explored. The four Clans, normally hostile to each other, are forced to work together in order to find a new home. Other themes that have been pointed out deal with family, loss, honour, bravery, death, loyalty, and following rules.
Holmes has said that one of the good things about writing a book about cats is that "we can tackle difficult human issues such as death, racial intolerance, and religious intolerance [without seeming so heavy]."
All of the Warriors books except for the manga have been published as hardcovers, and the majority of them have also been published as paperbacks. Starlight, Twilight, and Sunset from The New Prophecy, as well as all of the Omen of the Stars books, are available in an audiobook format. The The New Prophecy audiobooks are spoken by Nanette Savard, whose performance has been praised by reviewers. A reviewer for AudioFile wrote, "Nanette Savard brings out the youth of the cats who are struggling to help their clan survive and to protect each other from outside danger." The Omen of the Stars audiobooks are spoken by Kathleen McInerney, a pseudonym of Veronica Taylor. The books in the four main series have also been released in an eBook format.
The Warriors series was first published in the United States and United Kingdom. The editions published of the first five books of the first series—Into the Wild to A Dangerous Path—in the United Kingdom had slight variations in cover design from their United States counterparts. Warriors is also sold in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Translations from English into other languages such as Czech, Lithuanian, Finnish, Japanese, French, Russian, Chinese and Korean have been published more recently. The first six books have been published in Korea and the first three series in Germany. Fandom even exists in Trinidad and Singapore. The first two books have been printed in Poland and Italy.
The Warriors website features Warriors screen savers, along with videos on the process of writing a manga book, and a video promoting The Last Hope. There is also a "How To Draw Manga" page. In addition, there are games, including: quizzes, the New Prophecy Adventure and the Warriors Adventure Game. On the FAQ section of the site, Erin Hunter said that they are working on an online game that would be released in late 2010. It finished the first round of testing in summer 2010, but by January 2011, had not been released. Whether it will be a role-playing game is unknown. Erin Hunter has stated on the official Warriors website that there is still no plan for an official video game, but if there was, it would probably be based on a movie version of the Warriors series, which is currently not under consideration. Many fans have also created their own forum-based role-playing games.
During a July 2009 author chat, Victoria Holmes stated that there are currently no planned Warriors movies, and none under consideration:
"Oh, the fickle world of movie making, well, there are currently no Warriors movies in production or even under consideration. The economy is not in a state to invest in a rather dark animation about feral cats, apparently. I promise I'll let you know if there are any changes."
In August 2010, she stated:
"Well, never say never, but there are currently no Warriors movies in production, and no immediate plans."
The first short story written by Erin Hunter was called Spottedleaf's Honest Answer. In it, Spottedleaf talks about her love for Firestar. It gives information on what happened in the Warriors series from Into the Wild to Firestar's Quest.
On 20 January 2009, another short story, called The Clans Decide, was released on the Warriors Ultimate Leader Election site, starring Firestar, who won an election through an online vote conducted in recognition of President Obama's Inauguration Day. The story is about the four Clans voting for a way to survive a tough winter. Every cat at the meeting voted whether or not the Clans would work together to survive the winter. In the end, the Clans decided to work together to survive winter.
Two short stories, titled After Sunset: The Right Choice? and The Elders' Concern were included with the Warriors mobile application. The Elders' Concern has been noted to contain timeline errors. Taking place after Bluestar's selection of Fireheart for deputy, it is about the elder Halftail, who is unhappy with the decision, and wakes the other elders to discuss it with them. In After Sunset: The Right Choice?, Leafpool runs into Brambleclaw in the evening of the day he had killed Hawkfrost; Brambleclaw confides in her his worry that the event was a sign that he is unfit to be deputy.
Written by Victoria Holmes for a tour, a play entitled After Sunset: We Need to Talk was first premiered on 28 April 2007, at the Secret Garden bookstore in Seattle, Washington. It details a meeting between Leafpool of ThunderClan and Crowfeather of WindClan after the events of Sunset. The script was released to the public at the official site for the Warriors series.
During a fundraising event in Russellville, Arkansas, Brightspirit's Mercy was performed by various high school drama students. The second of the two plays by Erin Hunter, Brightspirit's Mercy is about Jaypaw, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf. After going to a Gathering, where it is obvious all of the Clans except for ThunderClan are starving, three cats from StarClan appear to them: Brightspirit and her parents, Shiningheart and Braveheart, characters created on Wands and Worlds, a fantasy fiction forum, in memory of a 10-year-old Warriors fan, Emmy Grace Cherry, and her parents, Dana and Jimmy Cherry, who were killed in a tornado in February 2007. They tell the three young cats that they must help feed the other Clans. Jaypaw is easily convinced, but Hollyleaf and Lionblaze are harder to win over. Eventually, they agree and hunt, then wait at the WindClan border for a patrol. Ashfoot, WindClan's deputy, accepts the gift, but Breezepaw, too proud to have help from another Clan, refuses to eat it. Jaypaw, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf then head towards another Clan's territory.
In the Chinese translation of the series, "3-D trading cards" are packaged in each book. The 3-D effect is produced using stereoscopic lenticular printing. These cards feature pictures of the cats on the centre of the bookcover with the Chinese and English names, and biographical information on the back. Current cards feature Firestar, Bluestar, Tallstar, Graystripe, Tigerstar, a collage of the 5 previous cats, Brambleclaw, Feathertail, Leafpool, Onestar, Crowfeather, Hawkfrost, Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, Lionblaze, Blackstar, Squirrelflight, Breezepelt, Sandstorm, Oakheart, Leafstar, Crookedstar, Yellowfang, Dovewing, Ivypool, Flametail, Stormfur, Tigerheart,and Spottedleaf. Also produced are puzzles and cups with Warriors images.
On 30 June 2011, an official iOS application was released on the iTunes App Store. It contains information about the books in the series, profiles of the Clans and major characters (including app-exclusive information such as the name of Firestar's mother), an interactive timeline and maps, two application-exclusive short stories, and a trivia game.
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