Warriors (novel series)
Boxed sets of the Warriors: The Prophecies Begin and Warriors: The New Prophecy series
|Genre||Fantasy, young adult fiction|
|Published||21 January 2003 – present|
Warriors is a series of novels based around the adventures and drama of several groups (Clans) of wild cats. The series is primarily set in the fictional location of White Hart Woods, and, later, Sanctuary Lake. The series is published by HarperCollins and written by authors Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui T. Sutherland under the collective pseudonym Erin Hunter, with the plot developed by editor Victoria Holmes.
There are currently seven sub-series, each containing six books except for the seventh sub-series, which is currently in progress. The first, Warriors (later re-titled Warriors: The Prophecies Begin), was published from 2003 to 2004, and details the adventures of a housecat named Rusty, who joins one of the warrior cat Clans, ThunderClan. Warriors: The New Prophecy, published from 2005 to 2006, follows the first sub-series, chronicling the Clans' journey to a new home. The third story arc, Warriors: Power of Three, was published from 2007 to 2009, and centres around a prophecy about three cats with extraordinary powers. The fourth sub-series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars, was published from 2009 to 2012 and continues the story arc of Warriors: Power of Three. The fifth sub-series, Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, was published from 2013 to 2015. This prequel series arc details the formation of the Clans. The sixth sub-series, Warriors: A Vision of Shadows, was published from 2016 to 2018. Chronologically, Warriors: A Vision of Shadows follows Warriors: Omen of the Stars. The seventh sub-series is entitled Warriors: The Broken Code. The first book in the seventh series, Lost Stars, was released on 9 April 2019. The next book in Warriors: The Broken Code is Silent Thaw. After that is Veil of Shadows and the fourth book, Darkness Within has not been released yet.
Other books have been released in addition to the main series, including eleven lengthier stand-alone "Super Edition" novels, several e-book novellas later published in five print compilations, six guide books, and several volumes of original English-language manga, initially produced as a collaboration between HarperCollins and TOKYOPOP before the latter's closure. The series has also been translated into several languages. Alibaba Pictures has acquired the film rights to the series as of 2016.
Major themes in the series include adventure, forbidden love, the concept of nature vs. nurture, acceptance, the struggle of good vs. evil, the reactions of different faiths meeting each other, and all people 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 criticized for being confusing due to its large number of characters and complex relationships. Critics have compared it to the Redwall series. Although nominated for several awards, Warriors has yet to receive any major literary prizes. Several novels in the series have reached the New York Times Bestseller List, and the series has found popularity in many countries, including Trinidad, the U.K, Germany, and China.
Inspiration and origins
The series first began when publisher HarperCollins asked Victoria Holmes to write a fantasy series about feral cats. Holmes was initially not 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 for a stand-alone novel, enough material was created for several books, and the publisher decided on 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 team to write the third book, Forest of Secrets. Later, after she wrote the first Warriors field guide, Tui Sutherland became the fourth author to use the pseudonym 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, 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 many herbal remedies that the cats use in the books. In addition, the authors suggested that they may use some fan-created character names in future books. The film series Rambo has also been cited as a source of inspiration.
Setting and universe
The Warriors universe centres around a large group of feral cats who initially reside in a forest, and later, around a lake after fleeing their initial home due to its destruction by humans. The cats are split into four groups called Clans: ThunderClan lives in woodland areas, WindClan resides on the moors, RiverClan by the river, and ShadowClan within and around the swamps. SkyClan, a subsequently introduced fifth group, is revealed to have been a part of this system but was forced to flee when their territory was destroyed by humans for urban development. Each Clan has adapted to their own terrain. For example, RiverClan cats, swim in the river to catch fish, while the majority of cats from the other Clans fear and avoid bodies of water. On the other hand, WindClan cats are faster runners, allowing them to catch rabbits and hares on the open moors of their territory. Relationships between different Clans are tense and they often come into conflict with one another. However, the Clans also sometimes show concern for each other; the idea of one Clan being destroyed usually causes deep distress and prompts urgent action on behalf of all Clans.
The Clan cats have a faith system based on the concept of StarClan, a group of the spirits of the Clans' deceased ancestors, who provide guidance to the living Clan cats, usually those of the Clan in which they resided in life. After death, the spirits of most Clan cats join StarClan and reside in a paradisiacal forest. StarClan often provides guidance to the Clans through dreams and other signs like omens, most often directed towards each Clan's medicine cats, part of whose role it is to commune with StarClan, in addition to providing medical care to their Clan. In addition to StarClan, there exists the Dark Forest, also known as The Place of No Stars, which takes the form of a never-ending forest. The spirits of cats who caused great pain and suffering to others while alive walk alone there as a form of punishment. Although cats of the Dark Forest are meant to be isolated as punishment, they eventually learn how to appear in the dreams of living cats much the way StarClan does.
Cats who live outside of the Clans are categorized into three groups. Housecats, referred to as "kittypets" by Clan cats, are often looked down upon by the Clan cats for their cozy and lazy lifestyle. "Loners" are feral cats who live outside of the Clans, usually by themselves. They are often regarded by the Clans with suspicion. Similar to loners are "rogues", who differ in that they try to cause the Clan cats harm. In some cases, these cats may form groups, such as The Sisters, The Kin, BloodClan and The Guardians. It is rare, though not unheard of, for a kittypet, loner, or rogue to join a Clan, as outsiders are generally distrusted by Clan cats. In several instances, Clans that have taken in outsiders have been met with scorn by the other Clans.
Beyond the Clans' territories lies a mountain range, inhabited by the Tribe of Rushing Water (often referred to simply as the Tribe), a group of cats who follow a different set of ancestors: the Tribe of Endless Hunting. The Tribe has a different hierarchical structure than the Clans, consisting of 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 for the Tribe. In a subsequent prequel series, it is revealed that the Tribe was formed by the predecessors of the Clans when they left the lake territory to live in the mountains. In turn, cats from the Tribe later moved to the forest of the original series and formed the Clans.
Warriors: The Prophecies Begin
The original Warriors series, later re-titled Warriors: The Prophecies Begin, was released from 2003 to 2004 and consists of six books: Into the Wild (21 January 2003), Fire and Ice (27 May 2003), Forest of Secrets (14 October 2003), Rising Storm (6 January 2004), A Dangerous Path (1 June 2004), and The Darkest Hour (5 October 2004). The series was subtitled The Prophecies Begin for its re-release with new covers in 2015. 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. Throughout the series, he rises through the Clan hierarchy while attempting to uncover and later stop the treachery of his Clanmate and deputy Tigerclaw, who intends initially to usurp ThunderClan's leadership and later plans to take over all the Clans.
Warriors: The New Prophecy
The second series, Warriors: The New Prophecy, was released from 2005 to 2006 and consists of six books: Midnight (10 May 2005), Moonrise (1 August 2005), Dawn (27 December 2005), Starlight (4 April 2006), Twilight (22 August 2006), and Sunset (26 December 2006). In this series, the Clans' survival is put at risk as humans begin to destroy their forest home with machinery. The series revolves around a group of cats, consisting of Tawnypelt of ShadowClan, Crowpaw (later Crowfeather) of WindClan, Feathertail of RiverClan, and Brambleclaw of ThunderClan, and joined by Feathertail’s brother, Stormfur, and ThunderClan apprentice Squirrelpaw (later Squirreflight), brought together by visions from StarClan to embark on a quest to find a new home for the Clans. The series also details the Clans' subsequent journey to find their new lakeside territories, before introducing a new prophecy that "blood will spill blood and the lake will run red", foreshadowing a conflict between Brambleclaw and his half-brother Hawkfrost, who plans to follow in their father Tigerstar's footsteps and take over the Clans.
Warriors: Power of Three
The third series, Warriors: Power of Three, was released from 2007 to 2009 and consists of six books: The Sight (24 April 2007), Dark River (26 December 2007), Outcast (22 April 2008), Eclipse (2 September 2008), Long Shadows (25 November 2008), and Sunrise (21 April 2009). 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 the standalone novel Firestar's Quest, which takes place between the original Warriors arc and Warriors: The New Prophecy. The prophecy refers to Firestar's grandchildren, who discover over the course of the series that they each have unique supernatural abilities. Jayfeather, who, despite being congenitally blind, can sense others' emotions and enter their dreams, first learns of the prophecy when he enters Firestar's dream. Believing the prophecy refers to him and his siblings, the series details their efforts to discover his siblings' abilities. They discover that Lionblaze is invulnerable to injury during battle, but, despite their efforts, ultimately conclude that their sister Hollyleaf does not possess any special ability, and thus that the prophecy refers to a yet-undiscovered third cat, a plot point further explored in the subsequent series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars.
Warriors: Omen of the Stars
The fourth series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars, was released from 2009 to 2012 and consists of six books: The Fourth Apprentice (24 November 2009), Fading Echoes (23 March 2010), Night Whispers (23 November 2010), Sign of the Moon (5 April 2011), The Forgotten Warrior (22 November 2011), and The Last Hope (3 April 2012). The series continues the plot of Warriors: Power of Three, after it is discovered at the end of the previous series that Lionblaze and Jayfeather's sister, Hollyleaf, does not have a special power, and is thus not the third cat foretold in the prophecy "There will be three, kin of your kin, who hold the power of the stars in their paws". The series begins with Jayfeather and Lionblaze's discovery that the third cat foretold in the prophecy is Dovepaw, one of Firestar's great-grandnieces, when she is discovered to possess the ability of clairvoyance. The trio learn throughout the course of the series that the cats of the Dark Forest, who are spirits of deceased Clan cats who committed acts of evil during their lives, are preparing an attack on the living Clan cats, recruiting disgruntled living cats to their cause, brutally training them for battle in their dreams, and manipulating the Clans through these cats. Jayfeather receives a vision informing him that there will be a fourth cat integral to the prophecy, who is ultimately revealed during the climactic battle between the Dark Forest and Clans to be Firestar himself, whose defeat of Tigerstar's spirit concludes the battle in the Clans' favour, though Firestar is mortally wounded in the process.
Warriors: Dawn of the Clans
The fifth series, Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, was released from 5 March 2013 to 1 September 2015 and consists of six books: The Sun Trail (5 March 2013), Thunder Rising (5 November 2013), The First Battle (8 April 2014), The Blazing Star (4 November 2014), A Forest Divided (7 April 2015), and Path of Stars (1 September 2015). The arc centres around the formation and early days of the Clans.
Warriors: A Vision of Shadows
Warriors: A Vision of Shadows is the sixth sub-series. The series was originally planned to be titled Warriors: StarClan's Promise. The series comprises six novels: The Apprentice's Quest (15 March 2016), Thunder and Shadow (6 September 2016), Shattered Sky (11 April 2017), Darkest Night (7 November 2017), River of Fire (10 April 2018), and The Raging Storm (6 November 2018). The series is set approximately eight months after Bramblestar's Storm and is initially written from the points of view of Sparkpaw (later Sparkpelt) and Alderpaw (later Alderheart), Bramblestar and Squirrelflight's children. Subsequent novels also introduce the points of view of Twigkit (later Twigpaw and Twigbranch) and Violetkit (later Violetpaw and Violetshine), who are eventually discovered to be children of lost SkyClan cats. The Apprentice's Quest opens with each Clan's medicine cats receiving a prophecy from StarClan telling them to "Embrace what you find in the shadows, for only they can clear the sky". Alderpaw is sent with a patrol to find SkyClan, the fifth Clan that had been driven out long ago and had more recently been rebuilt by Firestar in Firestar's Quest. The patrol discovers a group of cats under the leadership of a cat named Darktail living in SkyClan's gorge camp, who have driven SkyClan away. On the journey back to the Clans' territories, the patrol encounters two abandoned kits under a road. They name them Twigkit and Violetkit and bring them back to be adopted by ThunderClan and ShadowClan, respectively. However, Darktail's group of cats follows the patrol and attacks the four Clans. A group of ShadowClan cats rebel against their leader, Rowanstar, and ultimately join Darktail's invasion, driving out Rowanstar and his mate, Tawnypelt, and son, Tigerheart. WindClan leader Onestar reveals that Darktail is his long-lost son with a kittypet (housecat) named Smoke; Smoke raised Darktail to hate the Clans. Onestar fights Darktail to the death. Twigpaw leaves ShadowClan in search of SkyClan and brings them to the lake territories. However, the four other Clans have difficulty accepting SkyClan's presence in their territories. ShadowClan ultimately disbands and joins SkyClan, with Rowanstar reverting to his warrior name, Rowanclaw. However, his son Tigerheart rebuilds the Clan and becomes their new leader, taking the name Tigerstar. Tensions between the Clans rise when Tigerstar's deputy, Juniperclaw, attempts to poison SkyClan, but Juniperclaw later sacrifices himself to save Tigerstar's son, Shadowkit. SkyClan is finally accepted by the other Clans.
Warriors: The Broken Code
Warriors: The Broken Code is the seventh sub-series. The first book, Lost Stars was released on 9 April 2019. This series revolves around Bristlepaw/Bristlefrost, a ThunderClan apprentice/warrior, Rootpaw/Rootspring, a SkyClan apprentice/warrior, and Shadowpaw/Shadowsight, a ShadowClan medicine cat apprentice. The second book, The Silent Thaw was released on 29 October 2019. The third installment, Veil of Shadows, was published on 7 April 2020. It revolves around the ThunderClan’s leader, Bramblestar, who has been behaving erratically after losing one of his nine lives during an unexplained period of silence by StarClan, with only Shadowpaw being able to hear a voice from them. It is later revealed that Bramblestar's body has been possessed by an unnamed cat, and his spirit seeks the help of Rootpaw, the only one who can see it, for help in regaining his body. The impostor causes chaos in all five Clans by exiling cats he claims are "codebreakers" and have broken the warrior code beyond redemption, demanding that the other leaders do the same, manipulating the young and eager-to-please Bristlefrost to spy on ThunderClan, and almost killing Shadowsight, whom he is revealed to have tricked into stealing Bramblestar's body by impersonating StarClan. Despite his claims that StarClan are silent because of codebreaking, Shadowsight visits the Dark Forest and finds the portal to StarClan covered up and Bramblestar's weakened ghost, fading without his body, trapped in a hollow tree. A number of rebels within the five Clans begin to emerge, with the whole of ShadowClan and SkyClan resisting his efforts, until a battle between all five Clans explodes and results in the impostor's capture and Squirrelflight realizing who it is.
Super Editions are stand-alone books in the Warriors series that are approximately double the length of a normal Warriors book, about 500 pages long. The first Super Edition was Firestar's Quest, about Firestar going on a quest to reform Skyclan. Other super editions include Bramblestar's Storm, about newly appointed Bramblestar learning how to lead his clan through hardship, Yellowfang's Secret, about a Shadowclan medicine cat who gave birth to a kit who murdered his own father and very nearly destroyed his entire Clan with his vicious conquests, and Bluestar's Prophecy, about Bluestar, ThunderClan's leader before Firestar, when she was young, ambitious, and a fool in love. There have been twelve Super Editions so far, with the thirteenth, "Graystripe's Vow", set to release in 2020.
In addition, multiple field guides have been published. The guides offer extra information, usually in the form of short stories, and are usually about 150 pages long. They include
- Secrets of the Clans (29 May 2007) A guide that details a variety of topics, most notably the founding of the clans as well as the mythology of the clans.
- Code of the Clans (9 June 2009) A breakdown of the Warrior Code and its tenets. Includes several short stories that explain the origins of certain parts of the code.
- Cats of the Clans (24 June 2008) This is a character guide which gives both a synopsis and official art for the major characters of The Prophecies Begin and The New Prophecy.
- Battles of the Clans (1 June 2010) A guide that goes into detail on the martial skills of Clans as well as their clan specific tactics and techniques.
- Warriors: The Ultimate Guide (5 November 2013) This is a character guide that gives both a synopsis and official art for the major characters for all arcs up to and including the fifth arc of Dawn of the Clans. It is an updated edition of Cats of the Clans.
Original English-language manga
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. The manga series consists of several sub-series, Graystripe's Adventure, Tigerstar and Sasha, Ravenpaw's Path, and Skyclan and the Stranger, each with three books, as well as the stand-alone, The Rise of Scourge by prolific writer Dan Jolley.
Originally published only in e-book format, the novellas were later published in anthology volumes.
List of standalones
|Firestar's Quest||Super Edition||08-21-2007|
|Bluestar's Prophecy||Super Edition||07-28-2009|
|SkyClan's Destiny||Super Edition||08-03-2010|
|Crookedstar's Promise||Super Edition||07-05-2011|
|Yellowfang's Secret||Super Edition||10-09-2012|
|Tallstar's Revenge||Super Edition||07-02-2013|
|Bramblestar's Storm||Super Edition||08-26-2014|
|Moth Flight's Vision||Super Edition||11-03-2015|
|Hawkwing's Journey||Super Edition||11-01-2016|
|Tigerheart's Shadow||Super Edition||09-05-2017|
|Crowfeather's Trial||Super Edition||09-04-2018|
|Squirrelflight's Hope||Super Edition||09-03-2019|
|Secrets of the Clans||Field Guide||05-29-2007|
|Cats of the Clans||Field Guide||06-24-2008|
|Code of the Clans||Field Guide||06-0-2009|
|Battles of the Clans||Field Guide||06-01-2010|
|Enter the Clans||Field Guide||06-26-2012|
|The Warriors Guide||Field Guide||08-08-2012||Barnes & Noble exclusive|
|The Ultimate Guide||Field Guide||11-05-2014|
|The Lost Warrior||OEL Manga||04-24-2007||Book 1 of Graystripe's Adventure Trilogy|
|Warrior's Refuge||OEL Manga||12-26-2007||Book 2 of Graystripe's Adventure Trilogy|
|Warrior's Return||OEL Manga||04-22-2008||Book 3 of Graystripe's Adventure Trilogy|
|The Rise of Scourge||OEL Manga||06-24-2008|
|Into the Woods||OEL Manga||09-02-2008||Book 1 of Tigerstar and Sasha Trilogy|
|Escape from the Forest||OEL Manga||12-23-2008||Book 2 of Tigerstar and Sasha Trilogy|
|Return to the Clans||OEL Manga||06-09-2009||Book 3 of Tigerstar and Sasha Trilogy|
|Shattered Peace||OEL Manga||08-03-2010||Book 1 of Ravenpaw's Path Trilogy|
|A Clan in Need||OEL Manga||08-03-2010||Book 2 of Ravenpaw's Path Trilogy|
|The Heart of a Warrior||OEL Manga||08-03-2010||Book 3 of Ravenpaw's Path Trilogy|
|The Rescue||OEL Manga||07-05-2011||Book 1 of SkyClan and the Stranger Trilogy|
|Beyond the Code||OEL Manga||11-22-2011||Book 2 of SkyClan and the Stranger Trilogy|
|After the Flood||OEL Manga||04-03-2012||Book 3 of SkyClan and the Stranger Trilogy|
|Hollyleaf's Story||Novella||03-03-2012||Originally released e-book only. Also part of the anthology Warriors: The Untold Stories|
|Mistystar's Omen||Novella||09-11-2012||Originally released e-book only. Also part of the anthology Warriors: The Untold Stories|
|Cloudstar's Journey||Novella||01-29-2013||Originally released e-book only. Also part of the anthology Warriors: The Untold Stories|
|Tigerclaw's Fury||Novella||01-28-2014||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Tales from the Clans|
|Leafpool's Wish||Novella||04-22-2014||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Tales from the Clans|
|Dovewing's Silence||Novella||11-04-2014||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Tales from the Clans|
|Mapleshade's Vengeance||Novella||04-07-2015||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Shadows of the Clans|
|Goosefeather's Curse||Novella||09-01-2015||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Shadows of the Clans|
|Ravenpaw's Farewell||Novella||01-26-2016||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Shadows of the Clans|
|Spottedleaf's Heart||Novella||04-11-2017||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Legends of the Clans|
|Pinestar's Choice||Novella||04-11-2017||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Legends of the Clans|
|Thunderstar's Echo||Novella||04-11-2017||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Legends of the Clans|
|Redtail’s Debt||Novella||04-09-2019||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Path of a Warrior|
|Tawnypelt’s Clan||Novella||04-09-2019||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Path of a Warrior|
|Shadowstar’s Life||Novella||04-09-2019||Also part of the anthology Warriors: Path of a Warrior|
|Pebbleshine's Kits||Novella||04-07-2020||Also part of the anthology Warriors: A Warrior's Spirit|
|Tree's Roots||Novella||04-07-2020||Also part of the anthology Warriors: A Warrior's Spirit|
|Mothwing's Secret||Novella||04-07-2020||Also part of the anthology Warriors: A Warrior's Spirit|
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 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". 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. 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".
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 117 weeks, as of 24 November 2013.
Awards and recognitions
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. 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 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. It was also nominated for the Children's Choice Book Awards. In 2006, Warriors also received an honorable mention for the best book series for Publisher Weekly's "On the Cuff" awards.
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 medicine cat code, while others develop between cats in different Clans, which is also forbidden by the warrior code (for example, Graystripe of ThunderClan and Silverstream of RiverClan). Holmes said that another central theme of the series is "faith and spirituality" in StarClan. 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!" Non-belief is also significant in the storylines: Mothwing and Cloudtail do not believe in StarClan. Kittypets, loners, and rouges 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. 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. 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. similar to the book ¨Forest dogs¨.
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 realize that it is necessary to experience hardship 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, honor, 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 the first four Omen of the Stars books, are available in an audiobook format. 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 Veronica Taylor who played Ash Ketchum and many anime and cartoon characters . The books in the four main series have also been released in an e-book format.
The Warriors series was first published in the United States and United Kingdom. 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. Warriors is also sold in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Translations from English into other languages such as Czech, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Finnish, Japanese, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Korean have been published more recently. The first six books have been published in Italy and Latin America, the first five series in Germany and the first four series in the Netherlands. Fandom also exists in Trinidad and Singapore. The first two books have been published in Poland, and the first two series have been published in Korean.
The Warriors website features Warriors screensavers, 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 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. 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. Many fans have resorted to making their own games and websites, many of these sites being Play-by-post role-playing game forums.
On 20 October 2016, Victoria Holmes announced that Alibaba Pictures had bought the production rights for a film adaptation with David Heyman as producer. On 14 May 2018 it was announced that STX Entertainment had come on board to co-produce the film, with STX board member Gigi Pritzker working alongside Heyman. It was also announced that screenwriters Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger would write the screenplay for the movie. No director or release date has yet been announced for the film.
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.
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.
Two short stories, "After Sunset: The Right Choice?" and "The Elders' Concern", are 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?", After Brambleclaw is forced to kill Hawkfrost, he is worried about what Firestar might do, but Firestar is extremely proud of him.
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.
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. 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 center of the bookcover and their Chinese and English names, and biographical information on the back. Also produced are puzzles and cups with Warriors images.
On 30 June 2011, an official iOS application and Android application was released on the iTunes App Store 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.
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The first Warriors series is finally to get its own name with its relaunch next year: "The Prophecies Begin". Purrfect! :D
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In this first spine-tingling episode in the planned Warriors series [...] sure to appeal ... to followers of Brian Jacques' ongoing Redwall series
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In the first exciting installment of the Warriors fantasy series [...] the stage is set for more action-packed adventure.
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The author has created an intriguing world with an intricate structure and mythology, and an engaging young hero. [...] The supporting cast of players is large and a little confusing [...] This is not as elegantly written as Brian Jacques's "Redwall" series
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The author's attempt to create a hierarchical warrior-clan society falls a bit short: neither the imagined world nor the characters within it are consistent or compelling. Characterization is limited essentially to each individual's function within the clan, and the cast therefore remains cartoon cats engaged in territory marking [...] while the pace occasionally flags there are a lot of bloody tooth-and-claw battles here that may engage readers of the Redwall series.
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This exciting book is not for the faint of heart as it is often violent [...] It is reminiscent of Greek drama, with its huge cast of characters
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Readers not familiar with the first book may find this one hard to follow. [...] The characterizations of the animals are somewhat flat [...] and the plot's twists and turns seem mapped out and predictable.
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Hunter debuts with a suspenseful animal adventure that will leave readers eyeing Puss a bit nervously.
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The Warriors books are a hit with young readers, in part, because of the sprawling universe they open up.
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