Warriors (novel series)

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Warriors
Warriors full boxed Set.png
Boxed sets of the Warriors: The Prophecies Begin and Warriors: The New Prophecy series


Author Erin Hunter
Illustrator
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Genre Children's fiction, fantasy, young adult fiction
Publisher HarperCollins
Published January 21, 2003 – present
Website www.warriorcats.com

Warriors is a series of 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, later 5, Clans of wild cats—ThunderClan, ShadowClan, WindClan, RiverClan, and SkyClan, who will not be introduced into the territories until "A Vision of Shadows" —in their forest and lake homes, who look up to StarClan, the spirits of their warriors ancestors, who guide the four clans. They also follow the warrior code, a set of rules established in order to keep the clans as civil factions.

There are currently six sub-series, each containing six books. The first, Warriors (later re-titled as Warriors: The Prophecies Begin), 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 2012 and continued where the third story arc left off. The fifth sub-series Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, was published from 2013 to 2015. The sub-series acts as a prequel series, detailing the formation of the Clans. The sixth and most recent sub-series, Warriors: A Vision of Shadows, is still on its fifth book and is halfway finished. The first book of the sixth series, The Apprentice's Quest, was released on March 15, 2016, and the second book, Thunder and Shadow, was released on September 6, 2016. Chronologically, Warriors: A Vision of Shadows follows Warriors: Omen of the Stars, and Bramblestar's Storm.

Other books have been released in addition to the main series, including ten lengthier stand-alone "Super Edition" novels entitled Firestar's Quest, Bluestar's Prophecy, SkyClan's Destiny, Crookedstar's Promise, Yellowfang's Secret, Tallstar's Revenge, Bramblestar's Storm, Moth Flight's Vision, Hawkwing's Journey, and the latest one, Tigerheart's Shadow.[1] There are also a few other books that were published as e-book novellas: Hollyleaf's Story, Mistystar's Omen, Cloudstar's Journey, Tigerclaw's Fury, Leafpool's Wish, Dovewing's Silence, Mapleshade's Vengeance, Goosefeather's Curse, Ravenpaw's Farewell, Pinestar's Choice, Thunderstar's Echo, and Spottedleaf's Heart. These e-book novels have also been published in four print compilations, with three stories each: Warriors: Tales from the Clans, Warriors: The Untold Stories, Warriors: Shadows of the Clans, and Warriors: Legends of the Clans. Six 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, and news. The official message boards closed on August 12, 2016.

Major themes in the series deal with adventure, forbidden love, the concept of nature vs. 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, Germany and China.

On October 20, 2016, Vicky Holmes and Kate Cary, two of the Erin Hunters, announced that Alibaba Pictures had acquired the film rights to the series.

Inspiration and origins[edit]

New Forest, which became the base for the forest the cats live in

The series first began when publisher 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.[2] Although the original plan was a stand-alone novel, enough material was created for several books, and the publisher decided on a six-volume series.[2] The first volume, Into the Wild, was written by Kate Cary under the pseudonym "Erin Hunter" and was completed in about three months.[3] Holmes then began to work behind the scenes, editing and supervising details.[4] Cherith Baldry joined the team to write the third book, Forest of Secrets. Later, after she wrote the first Warriors field guide, Tui Sutherland became the fourth Erin Hunter.,[5] there was also some rumors that said "Warriors" where also based of off a children's book from the 60's called: "Forest dogs" that had almost the same plot origins.

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[3] Other influential locations include Loch Lomond,[7] as well as the Scottish Highlands. Nicholas Culpeper, a physician who used materials occurring in the natural world as medicine, 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 suggested that they may use some fan-created names in future books.[5][8] Also mentioned as a source of inspiration was the film series Rambo.[9]

Setting[edit]

In the Warriors universe, a large group of feral cats has settled into a forest, and claimed it for their own. The cats are split into four smaller Clans: ThunderClan lives in woodland areas, WindClan reside on the moors, RiverClan by the lake and ShadowClan within and around the swamps. SkyClan, a fifth group, also used to be a part of this system, but was forced to flee when their territory was destroyed to make human houses. Each Clan has adapted to their own terrain; RiverClan, for example, will swim in the river to catch fish, whilst the majority of cats from the other Clans fear and avoid bodies of water.

Relationships between different Clans are tense and they often come into conflict with one another. Each Clans is taught signature battle moves in order to protect their territory. Border skirmishes are the most common source of battle; they are often short-lived and cause no real damage to either side. Bigger and more brutal battles can occur, which can result in casualties. The Clans can also show concern for each other; the idea of one Clan being destroyed causes deep distress, and will prompt urgent action on behalf of all four Clans. On the night of every full moon, the Clans will meet at a designated spot in order to share stories and news in peace. This is known as a 'Gathering', and fighting is prohibited.

Cats who live outside of the Clans are split into three groups. Housecats, known as 'kittypets', are often sneered at by the Clan cats for their cozy and lazy life. Occasionally a curious kittypet will wander into the forest to explore; at this point, they are chased away, but will rarely come to harm. As a result, kittypets often warn each other not to enter the forest. 'Loners' are cats who walk outside of the Clans, usually by themselves. Although regarded by the Clans with suspicion, they do not cause the forest cats any trouble, and so are free to wander outside of the borders in peace. Similar to loners are 'rogues', who differ only because they intentionally try to cause the Clans harm. It is not unusual for a rogue to be a former Clan cat looking for revenge. For a kittypet, loner or rogue to join a Clan is rare, but not unheard of. Often, these newcomers have to prove themselves in order to be regarded with trust by the rest of the community.

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 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 Tribe was formed by the Ancients when they left the lake to live in the mountains. In turn, cats from the Tribe moved to the forest of the original series and formed the Clans.

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, 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, elders, deputies, queens, and kits 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 and leader cats' ancestors every half-moon. This is later replaced by the Moonpool, a small body of water from which cats can drink from in order to communicate with StarClan. In an author chat, Hunter said that StarClan can "just get glimpses of" the future, which they occasionally pass on, although these visions tend to be convoluted and difficult to understand. StarClan cats are often described as being transparent and silver in color, with stars sparkling around their paws. In the manga, their eyes are portrayed as blank and empty. On very rare occasions, a StarClan cat will interact with the world of the living, mainly to take a recently deceased cat to their place of resting. When a StarClan cat is forgotten by all living memory, or is killed in battle, they will fade away-it is unknown what happens to them after this.

In addition to StarClan, there exists the Dark Forest, also known as The Place of No Stars. The spirits of traitors who cause great pain and suffering to others during their lives reside there in order to pay for their sins. As the name suggests, it takes the form of a never-ending forest, forcing its residents to forever walk alone. Although cats of the Dark Forest are meant to be isolated as punishment, they later learn how to walk in the dreams of living cats. Like StarClan cats, Dark Forest residents will fade away if they are forgotten, or killed in battle. A unique aspect is that if a living cat dies whilst visiting the Dark Forest in their dreams, they will automatically become a spirit of the Dark Forest themselves. In addition, it is possible for StarClan cats to become lost within the forest if they stay there for too long, hence why the majority avoid it.

Series[edit]

Warriors: The Prophecies Begin[edit]

The original Warriors series, later re-titled Warriors: The Prophecies Begin,[10] was released from 2003 to 2004 and consists of six books: Into the Wild (January 21, 2003), Fire and Ice (May 27, 2003), Forest of Secrets (October 14, 2003), Rising Storm (January 6, 2004), A Dangerous Path (June 1, 2004), and The Darkest Hour (5 October 2004).[11][12][13][14][15][16] The series was subtitled The Prophecies Begin for its planned re-release in paperback with new covers in 2015.[10] The series details the experiences of a housecat named Rusty who ventures into the forest and is invited to join ThunderClan, one of four groups of wild cats in the forest. He rises through the clan hierarchy and becomes the leader of ThunderClan by the end of the series.

Warriors: The New Prophecy[edit]

The second series, Warriors: The New Prophecy, was released from 2005 to 2006, and consists of six books: Midnight (May 10, 2005), Moonrise (August 1, 2005), Dawn (December 27, 2005), Starlight (April 4, 2006), Twilight (August 22, 2006), and Sunset (December 26, 2006).[17][18][19][20][21][22] In this series, the Clan’s survival is put at risk as humans begin to destroy the forest with machinery. To combat this, one cat from all four Clan’s is chosen to journey and find a new home for the cats to live. These cats are Tawnypelt of ShadowClan, Crowfeather of WindClan, Feathertail of RiverClan, and Brambleclaw of ThunderClan, the latter of whom also struggles with his heritage as the late Tigerstar’s son. Feathertail’s brother Stormfur and the ThunderClan apprentice Squirrelflight also accompany them.

Warriors: Power of Three[edit]

The third series, Warriors: Power of Three, was released from 2007 to 2009 and consists of six books: The Sight (April 24, 2007), Dark River (December 26, 2007), Outcast (April 22, 2008), Eclipse (September 2, 2008), Long Shadows (November 25, 2008), and Sunrise (April 21, 2009).[23][24][25][26][27][28] The plot is centered 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.[29] The series revolves around the lives of Jayfeather, Lionblaze and Hollyleaf, kits of Crowfeather and Leafpool and grandchildren of the ThunderClan leader Firestar, who discover that they have a special power.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars[edit]

The fourth series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars, was released from 2009 to 2012 and consists of six books: The Fourth Apprentice (November 24, 2009), Fading Echoes (March 23, 2010), Night Whispers (November 23, 2010), Sign of the Moon (April 5, 2011), The Forgotten Warrior (November 22, 2011), and The Last Hope (April 3, 2012).[30][31][32][33][34][35] It is a direct continuation of Warriors: Power of Three, wherein Hollyleaf dies and Dovewing replaces her.

Warriors: Dawn of the Clans[edit]

The fifth series, Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, was released from March 5, 2013 to September 1, 2015 and consists of six books: The Sun Trail (March 5, 2013), Thunder Rising (November 5, 2013), The First Battle (April 8, 2014), The Blazing Star (November 4, 2014), A Forest Divided (April 7, 2015), and Path of Stars (September 1, 2015).[36][37][38][39][40][41] Warriors: Dawn of the Clans May also be known as the "Prequel Series", due to it being about how the five clans (ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, ShadowClan, and SkyClan) were created. In The Sun Trail, prey is scarce in the mountain home of the Tribe of Pointed Stones, so a cat named Gray Wing and his companions must leave to find more food and a better home. Once they reach their new forest home Gray Wing falls in love with a rogue cat there named Storm. The Tribe cats start to live in the forest and take in rogue cats. When Gray Wing sees Storm again, he invites her to visit Clear Sky, another former Tribe cat and Gray Wing's brother. Once she meets Clear Sky, however, she falls in love with him. Gray Wing discovers that Storm is pregnant by Clear Sky and that she is going to live with him, breaking Gray Wing's heart. When Turtle Tail, another one of the Tribe cats, who becomes a kittypet later in The Sun Trail 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. Storm had left Clear Sky after he banished his own brother Jagged Peak who was barely an adult because he had fallen out of a tree and broken his leg. Clear Sky banished all cats who couldn't look after themselves. Gray Wing, Tall Shadow, and the Tribe cats who live on the moor name 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 as his own kin. The second book, Thunder Rising, takes place a couple of months after The Sun Trail. Turtle Tail returns to Gray Wing's group pregnant by an aggressive kittypet tomcat named Tom, and becomes Gray Wing's mate. A fire breaks out in the forest, forcing Clear Sky's group to take shelter with Gray Wing. While taking shelter with Gray Wing, Clear Sky realizes that he was wrong about Thunder and invites him to join his group. Thunder quickly accepts the offer, but soon realizes that his father is too power-hungry and concentrated on the needs of the group over the individual and leaves. In the third book, The First Battle, Clear Sky declares war upon Gray Wing's group. Gray Wing tries to make peace, but Clear Sky is ambitious and wants more territory. Tom arrives to look for Bumble (another housecat) and Turtle Tail. He steals Turtle Tail's kits and brings them to live with him. Cats from Gray Wing's group go to look for and bring them back, but they find Turtle Tail dead by a road. The cats manage to rescue the kittens from Tom, who swears revenge. At the end, Gray Wing's cats fight Clear Sky's. Many cats die, such as the following: Rainswept Flower, Jackdaws Cry and Hawk Swoop. The battle ends in a stalemate. The ghosts of the fallen cats known as 'spirit cats' return to tell the fighting cats to "unite or die". Clear Sky is struck with guilt and grief. In the fourth book, The Blazing Star, rogues (non-Clan cats) join the groups and One Eye, a rogue tries to take control of the forest. The groups meet again at the full moon, where they are greeted again by the fallen cats. This time, they bring a new message: "To tame the Claw that blights the forest, grow and spread like the Blazing Star". No cat can understand what it means; however, during the meeting, Thunder meets a she-cat named Star Flower. Then to realise she is One Eye's daughter. After the meeting, the cats notice that a strange sickness is starting to infect the prey, giving them sores and bloated bellies. One of Wind Runner's kits Morning Whisker, fell ill with the disease and eventually died. Struck by sadness, Wind Runner, Gorse Fur, and their remaining kits, Dust Muzzle and Moth Flight, leave the hollow to live on their own up in the moor.

Warriors: A Vision of Shadows[edit]

Warriors: A Vision of Shadows is the sixth sub-series. The series was originally titled, Warriors: StarClan's Promise. The first book, The Apprentice's Quest, which takes place approximately eight months after Bramblestar's Storm, was released on March 15, 2016. The books' main characters are Sparkpaw and Alderpaw who are Bramblestar's and Squirrelflight's children. The first book, The Apprentice's Quest, starts with each Clan's medicine cats receiving a prophecy from StarClan together, telling them to "Embrace what you find in the shadows, for only they can clear the sky".[42] This is the titular prophecy of the series (A Vision of Shadows). When receiving this prophecy, Jayfeather sees Alderkit (Alderpaw's former name) in his dream, as well as the other medicine cats. Later, he, Leafpool, and Bramblestar decide that Alderpaw should become a medicine cat apprentice. Further into the book, Alderpaw has a vision of the far-off SkyClan. After deciding that Alderpaw's vision relates to the prophecy, Bramblestar sends Alderpaw on a quest to help SkyClan along with his ex-mentor, Molewhisker, Sandstorm, his sister Sparkpaw, and her mentor Cherryfall. While on the quest, they're joined by ShadowClan apprentice Needlepaw. Sandstorm dies along the way. When they reach the gorge where SkyClan lives, they find that they have been run out of their territory by a group of rogues. They decide that they arrived too late to help SkyClan and return back to the lake. On the way back Alderpaw and Needlepaw find two female kits (Twigkit and Violetkit) who lost their mother. Needlepaw suggests that the kits could be "what you find in the shadows". They then take the kits back to the lake and at a full moon Gathering, the Clan leaders decide that ShadowClan should take one kit and ThunderClan should take the other. ThunderClan takes Twigkit and ShadowClan takes Violetkit. The second book, Thunder and Shadow, was released on September 6, 2016. It follows Twigkit and Violetkit's lives in ThunderClan and ShadowClan. The two kits struggle to find their place in their respective Clans, and feel lonely. However, Alderpaw and Needlepaw befriend the kits, and even arrange for them to meet in secret between the two Clans' borders. The Clan cats discover that the rogues from A Vision of Shadows followed the quest cats to the lake, and have made camp near ShadowClan. Meanwhile, the ShadowClan apprentices start to lose faith in the warrior code, and many of them eventually join the rogues, including Needlepaw, who brings Violetkit with her. The third book, Shattered Sky, was released on April 11, 2017. It details the war that ensues between the Clans and Darktail's so called Kin after his annexation of ShadowClan. It heavily focuses on the sisters Twigpaw and Violetpaw as they find themselves on two different sides of a very brutal conflict that will determine the fate of the Clans. Battles will be fought, loyalties will be tested, prophecies will be interpreted and as always, cats will die before the Clans know peace again.[43] The fourth book, Darkest Night, was released on November 7, 2017.[44] The fifth book, River of Fire, was released on April 10, 2018.[45] The sixth book, The Raging Storm, is set to be released on November 6, 2018.

Standalones[edit]

Super Editions[edit]

Super Editions are stand alone books in the Warriors series that are approximately double the length of a normal Warriors book.

Field guides[edit]

Six field guides have also been published. The guides offer extra information, usually in the form of short stories, and are usually about 150 pages long.

Original English-language manga[edit]

Several series of original English-language manga have been produced by HarperCollins with TOKYOPOP.[46] 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.

Novellas[edit]

Originally published only in e-book format, the novellas were later published in anthology volumes.

List of Standalones[edit]

First Timeline for Warriors Series, spanning from Dawn of the Clans to after Firestar's Quest
Second Timeline for Warriors Series, spanning from Ravenpaw's Path to end of Power of Three and Hollyleaf's Story
Third Timeline for Warriors Series, spanning from before Omen of the Stars to Book 4: Darkest Night in A Vision of Shadows series
Title Type Release Date Note
Firestar's Quest Super Edition 2007-08-21
Bluestar's Prophecy Super Edition 2009-07-28
SkyClan's Destiny Super Edition 2010-08-03
Crookedstar's Promise Super Edition 2011-07-05
Yellowfang's Secret Super Edition 2012-10-09
Tallstar's Revenge Super Edition 2013-07-02
Bramblestar's Storm Super Edition 2014-08-26
Moth Flight's Vision Super Edition 2015-11-03
Hawkwing's Journey Super Edition 2016-11-01
Tigerheart's Shadow Super Edition 2017-09-05
Crowfeather's Trial Super Edition 2018-09-04
Secrets of the Clans Field Guide 2007-05-29
Cats of the Clans Field Guide 2008-06-24
Code of the Clans Field Guide 2009-06-09
Battles of the Clans Field Guide 2010-06-01
Enter the Clans Field Guide 2012-06-26
Ultimate Guide Field Guide 2014-11-05
The Lost Warrior OEL Manga 2007-04-24 Book 1 of Graystripe's Adventure Trilogy
Warrior's Refuge OEL Manga 2007-12-26 Book 2 of Graystripe's Adventure Trilogy
Warrior's Return OEL Manga 2008-04-22 Book 3 of Graystripe's Adventure Trilogy
The Rise of Scourge OEL Manga 2008-06-24
Into the Woods OEL Manga 2008-09-02 Book 1 of Tigerstar and Sasha Trilogy
Escape from the Forest OEL Manga 2008-12-23 Book 2 of Tigerstar and Sasha Trilogy
Return to the Clans OEL Manga 2009-06-09 Book 3 of Tigerstar and Sasha Trilogy
Shattered Peace OEL Manga 2010-08-03 Book 1 of Ravenpaw's Path Trilogy
A Clan in Need OEL Manga 2010-08-03 Book 2 of Ravenpaw's Path Trilogy
The Heart of a Warrior OEL Manga 2010-08-03 Book 3 of Ravenpaw's Path Trilogy
The Rescue OEL Manga 2011-07-05 Book 1 of SkyClan and the Stranger Trilogy
Beyond the Code OEL Manga 2011-11-22 Book 2 of SkyClan and the Stranger Trilogy
After the Flood OEL Manga 2012-04-03 Book 3 of SkyClan and the Stranger Trilogy
Hollyleaf's Story Novella 2012-03-03 Originally released e-book only. Also part of the anthology Warriors: The Untold Stories
Mistystar's Omen Novella 2012-09-11 Originally released e-book only. Also part of the anthology Warriors: The Untold Stories
Cloudstar's Journey Novella 2013-01-29 Originally released e-book only. Also part of the anthology Warriors: The Untold Stories
Tigerclaw's Fury Novella 2014-01-28 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Tales from the Clans
Leafpool's Wish Novella 2014-04-22 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Tales from the Clans
Dovewing's Silence Novella 2014-11-04 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Tales from the Clans
Mapleshade's Vengeance Novella 2015-04-07 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Shadows of the Clans
Goosefeather's Curse Novella 2015-09-01 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Shadows of the Clans
Ravenpaw's Farewell Novella 2016-01-26 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Shadows of the Clans
Spottedleaf's Heart Novella 2017-04-11 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Legends of the Clans
Pinestar's Choice Novella 2017-04-11 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Legends of the Clans
Thunderstar's Echo Novella 2017-04-11 Also part of the anthology Warriors: Legends of the Clans

Critical reception[edit]

The first book of the series, Into the Wild, was generally well-received, with reviewers calling it a "spine-tingling,"[47] "thoroughly engrossing"[48] and "exciting... action-packed adventure."[49] One reviewer praised the authors for "creating an intriguing world... and an engaging young hero",[50] but another criticised the characters and imagined world as being "neither... consistent nor compelling."[51]

The manga has also earned praise: a reviewer for Children's Bookwatch noted that Into the Woods "ends on a tense cliffhanger, leaving the reader in anxious anticipation for more. Suitable for readers age ten to one hundred and ten, warriors Tigerstar and Sasha's manga story, #1: Into the Woods, is especially recommended for cat lovers everywhere".[52] Its sequel, Escape from the Forest, was also well reviewed: a reviewer for Publishers Weekly believed that girls would benefit from reading about Sasha leaving the powerful Tigerstar due to his "growing violence". The art was also praised, with the reviewer writing that "Hudson's artwork brings Sasha's emotional journey to life, showing each moment of fear, anxiety, contentment and joy. The cat's-eye perspective of many of the panels, in addition, add [sic] a dramatic, energizing element to the book". The reviewer also wrote that "a twist at the end will leave fans eager for the next installment of Sasha's saga", and that the book would appeal to young adults trying to find their place in the world.[53] Lisa Goldstein for School Library Journal also gave the book a positive review, writing that the plot would attract new fans and appeal to old fans. The reviewer also wrote that "though the cover claims that this is a 'manga,' the straightforward illustrations are drawn in a simple, realistic style".[54]

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,[55] others wrote that it was "hard to follow"[56] and "a little confusing."[50] The characters have also been criticised as being "somewhat flat"[56] and "limited essentially to each individual's function within the clan."[51]

As one reviewer put it, the cats in the series are "true to their feline nature,"[47] leading some critics to jokingly comment that the books will "leave readers eyeing Puss a bit nervously"[57] and wondering "what dreams of grandeur may haunt the family cat."[49] However, this realism also means that the series contains a relatively large amount of violence,[50] with one critic stating that it is "not for the faint of heart."[55] Several critics have compared Warriors to Brian Jacques' Redwall series,[47][51] though one commented that it was "not as elegantly written."[50] The New York Times called the series a "hit with young readers", specifically because of its "sprawling universe",[58] and the series was able to appear on the New York Times Bestseller List for a total of 117 weeks, as of 24 November 2013.[59]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Into the Wild was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Library Association's 2006 Young Reader's Choice Awards but lost to Christopher Paolini's Eragon.[60][61] It was also listed on Booklist's Top 10 fantasy books for youth in 2003[62] and was a Book Sense 76 Pick.[11] The Sight was nominated for the best Middle Readers book in Amazon's Best Books of the Year (2007) and placed sixth out of the ten nominees, with six percent of the total votes.[63] It was also nominated for the Children's Choice Book Awards.[64] In 2006, Warriors also received an honorable mention for the best book series for Publisher Weekly's "On the Cuff" awards.[65]

Themes[edit]

Themes in the series often revolve around forbidden love. These relationships are not allowed for various reasons: some involve medicine cats, who are not allowed to have mates according to the warrior code, while others develop between cats in different Clans, which is also forbidden by the warrior code (for example, Graystripe and Silverstream.) Holmes said that another central theme of the series centres on "faith and spirituality" in StarClan.[66] All books in the series 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 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 either of the Clans or the Tribe of Rushing Water is 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!"[67] Non-belief is also significant in the storylines: Mothwing and Cloudtail do not believe in StarClan.[68] kittydogs or ferals were also a very important theme (at least for Erin Hunter).

Another theme is 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 noble and honorable 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 the antagonist Tigerstar, even with all of his faults, is still courageous and fiercely loyal.[69] Similarly, Holmes has also connected the theme to Brambleclaw and how nobody knew whether he was good or evil.[5] 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. For example, Brambleclaw's father is the evil Tigerstar, but he eventually demonstrates that despite this, he is not evil himself, despite initial suspicion from Clanmates due to his father's legacy. This theme ties into the "shades of gray" theme.[67] similar to the book ¨Forest dogs¨.

A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that friendship and responsibility are taught to characters in the novels,[49] 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 realize that it is necessary to experience hardship in life.[70] A Storysnoops review noted that one of the themes was that "it doesn't matter where you come from, only who you are inside".[71] 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, honor, bravery, death, loyalty, and following rules.[67][49]

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]."[69]

Publication history[edit]

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 the first four Omen of the Stars books, are available in an audiobook format.[72][73][74][75][76][77][78] 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."[79][80] The Omen of the Stars audiobooks are spoken by Ash Ketchum's voice actor. The books in the four main series have also been released in an e-book format.[81]

Foreign editions[edit]

The Warriors series was first published in the United States and United Kingdom.[3] The editions published of the first two series—Warriors and Warriors: The New Prophecy—in the United Kingdom had slight variations in cover design from their United States counterparts.[82] Warriors is also sold in New Zealand,[83] Australia,[84] and Canada. Translations from English into other languages such as Czech, Lithuanian, Finnish, Japanese, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Korean have been published more recently.[85] The first six books have been published in Korea, Italy and Latin America,[86] the first five series in Germany and the first three series in the Netherlands.[5][87] Fandom also exists in Trinidad and Singapore.[88] The first two books have been published in Poland.[89]

Other media[edit]

Website[edit]

The Warriors website features Warriors screensavers,[90] along with videos on the process of writing a manga book and a video promoting The Last Hope.[91] There is also a "How To Draw Manga" page.[92] In addition, there are games, including quizzes,[92] the New Prophecy Adventure, and the Warriors Adventure Game.[93] On the Frequently Asked Questions section of the site, Erin Hunter said that they are working on an online game that would be released in late 2010.[94] It finished the first round of testing in summer 2010, but has 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 was at the time not under consideration.[94] Many fans have resorted to making their own games and websites, many of these sites being Play-by-post role-playing game forums.[67]

Film[edit]

On October 20, 2016, Victoria Holmes announced that Alibaba Pictures and STX Entertainment have bought the production rights for a film and is planning to do one with David Heyman and Gigi Pritzker set as producers. The release date, for now, still remains unscheduled, but, as of May 14, it was announced that screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have being attached to write the script for the movie. However, as of now, no director was announced for the film.[95][96]

Short stories[edit]

The first short story written by Erin Hunter is "Spottedleaf's Honest Answer". In it, the spirit of former ThunderClan medicine cat Spottedleaf discusses her love for Firestar. It gives information on what happened in the Warriors series from Into the Wild to Firestar's Quest.[97]

On 20 January 2009, another short story, "The Clans Decide", was released on the Warriors Ultimate Leader Election site, starring Firestar, who won an election through an online fan vote conducted in recognition of President Obama's Inauguration Day. In the story, the four Clans vote for a way to survive a tough winter. Every cat at the meeting votes on whether or not the Clans should work together to survive the winter. The cats vote in favour of working together.[98]

Two short stories, "After Sunset: The Right Choice?" and "The Elders' Concern", are included with the Warriors mobile application.[99] "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?", After Brambleclaw is forced to kill Hawkfrost, he is worried about what Firestar might do, but Firestar is extremely proud of him.

Plays[edit]

Written by Victoria Holmes for a tour, a play titled 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 on the official site for the Warriors series.[100]

During a fundraising event in Russellville, Arkansas, Brightspirit's Mercy was performed by various high school drama students. The second of 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.[101] 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.[102]

Physical Media[edit]

An example of a cat named Brambleclaw on a Chinese trading card.

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 and their 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.[103]

Mobile application[edit]

On 30 June 2011, an official iOS application and Android application was released on the iTunes App Store[99] and Play 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, a trivia game, and even an amino. The app has been taken off the Google Play store.

References[edit]

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