As one of a large group of feral cats, Brambleclaw maintains strong ties to the other members of the Thunderclan. He has trained long and hard to become a warrior, ready to defend his clan and hunt for food to sustain it. For reasons unknown to him, Brambleclaw is haunted by strange dreams sent from the StarClan, a group of mysterious supernatural cats. He suspects that he has received a special mission essential to his clan’s survival, but dares not reveal this to anyone, not even the leader of the Thunderclan cats, Firestar.
Following instructions from his dreams, Brambleclaw learns that he must fulfill this mission with the help of cats from other clans. Although the warrior code forbids it, he sets out with five other cats to discover what danger threatens the cats of the forest and what they can do to save themselves. On their journey, these felines encounter the world of men. Working together, they succeed in evading a variety of threats, both from humans and their contraptions as well as from other animals.
Erin Hunter has developed an imaginary world in which animals can communicate with each other as well as with supernatural beings. Indeed, these cats seem to have a religion of their own in which they rely on the StarClan for guidance and protection. Each clan is a close-knit society in which everyone plays an important role in the community. Of particular interest is the manner in which the cats treat their elderly. Great care and respect are taken in providing safety, food and medical care for the “retired” cats.
While the cats’ perspective on life in the forest as well as man’s inventions (such as roads and cars) is clever at first, for this reader, at least, it eventually became tedious. The relationships between the cats of varying clans are quite complex and at times hard to follow. And there is, not surprisingly, a blatant “man is encroaching on the animals’ habitat”, message that clearly casts humans as the bad guys, even when some of them actually help the journeying cats. All in all, there is nothing exceptional about this book. That said, the Warrior series is quite extensive and would provide several months reading material for young cat lovers.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ.