Reviews: Warrior Cats

There are a lot of problems

As a fan of Warriors, I read at least thirty of the Warriors books and up til now enjoyed them, especially arc one and two. But my initial love for the series has pointed out to me what is wrong with it. I've lost interest; I stopped reading Warriors after five arcs in. I don't mean to turn potential readers away from the books, but I must mention these things:

  • Deaths are often glossed over or cheap.
  • Previously main or prominent characters become wooden or nonexistent.
- Firestar was the star of the show in the first arc and had his own super edition. He's done a lot more in the series than most of the main characters written. And yet he's nearly nonexistent within the third and fourth arc up until his sudden importance in the climax of The Last Hope, and subsequent death You also have characters like Sandstorm and Graystripe where sometimes it's debatable if they even showed up in a book. For people who may have enjoyed some of these characters, they seem to up and disappear, and we don't see much else of them. Now, people may point out that the old must make room for the new, but there is still enough room for the old and new characters to still shine through. But the books seem to be too focused on the not-as-interesting newer characters.
  • Three cats gain powers that are hardly needed throughout the two arcs or the climax of the story.
  • Too much padding in the third and fourth arcs.
- You can cut out a lot of the content in the books and it would just save your time and paper. A lot of this consists of patrolling, hunting, and very little content related to the actual plot.
  • Repeating subplots. Too many subplots.
- A lot of these subplots that are set up often go unfinished and leaves unanswered questions.
  • Star Clan gets too involved with the Clans.
- That's one of the most majorly upsetting things I see from the books. Star Clan was involved in the first arc as more or less cryptic spirit guides for the cats, believed to be all powerful but it isn't really acknowledged, which is fine. But as the series progress, they become more involved and less guiding, as they often argue among "themselves" and frequently mess with the main characters, and their actions and reasons are often convoluted.
  • The grammar is God-awful sometimes.

A series which improved with age

While it has been said that the first arc of Warriors was amazing and the others were bad, I respectfully disagree. The first two books were notoriously clunky, with the laws of the Clans not meshing well with later iterations of The Verse. The earlier books feature lots of other flaws: a perfect hero, too much angst (I'm looking at you, A Dangerous Path) and several poorly thought out plots (like the whole GrayXSilver arc). That's not to say the early books are bad, because they still contain plenty of compelling characters like the morally-conflicted Yellowfang, classical anti-hero Cloudtail, and Genki Girl turned snarky medicine cat Cinderpelt. It also has many amazing scenes, like Firestar's final battle with Scourge, which remains one of my favourite Warriors fights.

However, the later arcs and Expanded Universe greatly improve on all aspects of the series. Tigerstar, Brokenstar, and Scourge, the villains of the first arc were all Complete Monsters, and while the series doesn't try to justify their actions, it gives them complex backstories and reasons for doing what they did. It also adds grayer and more interesting villains, such as Thistleclaw, who provided a twist on Warriors villains by being an antagonist who wasn't evil, and the enigmatic Sol, who is always one step ahead of the heroes.

The protagonists grow deeper and more interesting as well. Characters like Jayfeather start off selfish, but over the story grow and mature into true heroes. Meanwhile, Hollyleaf deconstructs the notion of a Classical Hero, and has one of the best character arcs ever.

The series also has a deep mythos, with hidden connections between the groups of characters, and motivations which stretch far into the past.

That's not to say the later material is without faults. Due to the multiple authors, the books are riddled with errors that range from easy to ignore/overlook (pelts changing colour), to utterly astounding (Hollowpaw's amnesia). There's also the problem of the nostalgic flashes back to what the older heroes are doing often being overdone, leading to the feeling of the new heroes getting shafted.

However, if you can get through the first arc and overlook a few flaws and some Fridge Logic, Warriors is a truly amazing book series that that's deep enough to remain entertaining throughout multiple rereads.

The premise itself is ridiculous

When I first came across Warrior Cats, I was eight years old. The book in question was Sunrise. I have to admit, I enjoyed it, even though I really had no idea what was going on. A year later, I decided to read the first two books in the first series.

So, basically, I was reading them all out of order. Well, that didn't matter much, because a few days after finishing Into the Wild, I realized just how completely stupid the idea is. Cats assembling into clans and all that. The prose is all right, but when you really get down to it, it's boring. With each new "arc", the characters grew flatter and flatter. Firestar, who was once the hero of the clans, wound up doing next to nothing. The series is victim to Ensemble Darkhorse, for some reason or another. The supporting cats barely have any personality. Mousefur is crabby, sure, but then there are plenty of Elders like that.

Starclan and the Warrior Code wound up influencing everything, I am serious. The Warrior Code, which makes no sense at all. Starclan, which doesn't know every single thing out there, and yet the Clan cats keep looking to them for answers.

Again, Erin Hunter apparently really likes cats, but she just fails biology. Forever. At least in the Guardians Of Gahoole, which has quite a few similarities, the author tries to teach us a little about owls.

The first arc or whatever was good enough, but then it just started going downhill. Listen, everyone: There are plenty of children's books out there with blood and all that. Warrior Cats is not special.

The bonus editions or whatever you want to call them are good, though. Since they're self-contained stories (long self-contained stories at that), we don't have to go on and on with the same underdeveloped characters. Also, I don't know why, but it has made me cry. Several times, actually.

Its one of those things that seem okay on the first read, but then when you actually think about it, they're just plain ridiculous.

-So concludes my review here. It would have been a lot longer, but let me just say this: If you want a series with mechanical characters and embarrassing lexicon (almost as embarrassing as in that owl series!), which is also a Franchise Zombie, then look no further.

It's dragged on too long.

The first six books tell a delightful tale. We learn the story of a seemingly ordinary house cat, who stumbles upon a clan of feral cats and decides to join them. We learn how he struggles to establish a rightful place in the clan and gain his clanmates' acceptance, all the while grappling with the outside affairs of conflicting neighbor clans and ultimately facing a prophecy that he alone can save his clan. We also deal with death, the merciless forces of nature, and a hint of the supernatural, all building up to an explosive climax and a satisfying ending.

That's where my praise ends.

Warriors did well as just six books. The second arc of books bear an interesting premise. What bugged me was the decision to give StarClan such a driving influence on the rest of the plot. Back in the first series, the existence of StarClan in the Warriors universe was left relatively ambiguous. StarClan cats only appeared as vague apparitions in cats' dreams and were never outwardly stated to be real supernatural forces. It was just a religion and nothing more. Readers could decide for themselves whether or not there really was a StarClan. The story just felt more contrived to me when StarClan started appearing regularly and influencing the plot more heavily.

Beyond TNP, the storytelling begins to feel the strain. Plot devices begin to repeat. StarClan influences practically everything. I felt that PoT was mostly just filler, as it often included stuff irrelevant to the actual plot like the Daylight gathering in The Sight and Sol's manipulation.

As the prose gets better, the storytelling gets worse. The first series had fine storytelling but somewhat mechanical prose. In the later books, the authors have improved in their writing and it shows in the text - but the storytelling suffers when the books keep dragging on and on.

Only the main and supporting characters are given much depth. The rest act as mere props in the stage to make the Clans appear big, appearing regularly in the text to remind the reader they're there.

Once you get into it, the series becomes addicting. But there came to be a point where I just stopped caring about what happens.

I'll give that the super editions are significantly better than the main books. But they really need to give this series a rest.

Rapidly Becoming a Franchise Zombie

This won't be an in-depth review, seeing as I actually have a Chapter-by-Chapter review series on the Warriors Official Forum, (actually, a lot of this review is repeat of what I said there) but I wanted to do an overall review of the series, so... here I go.

I first got into Warriors when I was 9 years old. Frankly, I loved the series- it got me through the wait for the last two Harry Potter books, and I really got into the characters. The Original Series was great, and I personally thought that the first half of New Prophecy was even better. Around Starlight, though, I started to have to put down whatever book I was currently reading every few chapters, and by the time I reached Power of Three and, later, Omen of the Stars, I was doing it EVERY chapter. Why? Because I kept feeling like characters who were once basically good were being forced down a dark road, and my then-10-year-old brain immediately started thinking up scenarios of what I thought the characters should be doing in their situations. At the time, I credited it to my overactive imagination and my overpowering optimism, but now I'm not so sure.

It was only when I recently finished doing a review of Night Whispers that I realized what the problem was. The characters had taken a back seat to the plot. When you have a series without a set ending in mind, having characters take a back seat to a plot that has only been planned 3 or 4 books in advance is not a good idea. It forces characters that the Erins had set up and made the readers like become total jerks or make illogical decisions just to push the plot along to the point they want it to go. If Warriors wants to continue going on and on indefinitely, the Erins either need to start planning further ahead, or make the characters more important then the plot. At least, I think so. I'm no literature student, so maybe I'm wrong.

That said, I really do like Warriors. I deeply care about the characters, the themes are mature, the prose is pretty darn good, and the Super Editions (due mostly to the fact that they are self-contained stories with planned out plots) are very, very good. The Erins just need to clean up some things before Warriors really becomes a Franchise Zombie.

Okay, if you can suspend your disbelief enough

I actually used to enjoy Warriors. Back when I was in middle school and was reading Redwall and Watership Down and such, it was my favourite. Now, I've found that I like the series less mainly because of Fridge Logic and disbelief.

First off, The cats act nothing like cats. Cats are not noble. Cats do not adhere to any code or law other than "stay alive and try to reproduce". Real life feral colonies are not structured like the clans. The idea of monogamous cats is especially hilarious. And kitty doctors? When most plants would wreak havoc on a feline's insides? The religion doesn't bother me too much. If cats were social animals, they might have some sort of belief system. What really bothers me is the heavy-handed use of morality. When Firestar claims higher moral ground over scourge because Star Clan is on his side. When other cats move into the mountain tribe's territory and are OMG evil because they have no warrior code. I might have been able to pass this off as the cats simply being overzealous with their religion and morals (an actual flaw), but then the Erins try to paint the Clanners as accepting and tolerant...

My second big problem was the Stus. Firestar reminds me of the Mighty Whitey archetype, in that he enters a closed tribal society, surpasses everyone else, and becomes one of the most pivotal members of said society. Brambleclaw is a little bit more rounded, but not by much. It seems that most of the cats lack distinctive personalities. The toms are all either stu-type, belligerent opposer type, or reliable warrior type. The she-cats are either "gentle" or "feisty".

To its credit, Warriors is actually rather addicting, if you can get past all the You Fail Biology Forever and Wall Bangers. Its like those Telenovellas my family likes to watch...or Twilight. Not necessarily deep or complex but a decent read. It is actually suitable for older children and preteens, and not nearly as violent and edgy as the fans like to claim. I'm not good at critiqueing prose itself, but I can say that it was understandable and that I did not find any odd word usage. Some of the secondary characters are actually quite interesting, my favorites being Graystripe, Blackstar, and Leopardstar. The Clan structure also creates a convenitent formula for fanfiction and RPG set ups.

And hey, kitty wars.

What The Series Has Become: A Franchise Zombie that Won't Die

I was re-reading the original fourth book at chruch when someone my age laughed at me for reading "a kids book" and that got me thinking about the latest book in the series I read before taking a break to read the originals again [At the time it was T Pot 5] and I realized that unfortunately I had to admit they were kids books,but that while Rising Storm was good,they no longer were

The first series I'd give an A- because originally the plot was good,and curiously enough Harry Potter like,except trade Harry for Rusty,Harry discovering he's a wizard to Rusty pretty much not discovering and accepting but jumping straight into being a warrior. However everyone who has more than page of dialogue per book is nicely rounded out,the forest is well described as is the mythos,and the subplots all merge into one great plot.Too bad for the Chronic Hero Syndrome,predictability,and tedious subplot of Bluestars' BSOD

Then comes my personal Base Breaker, The New Prophecy which is the way it is becuase the plot,atmosphere all seem to change midway.I'd give the first half {Midnight to Dawn} an A+ for brilliant use of Continuity Lockout,successfully being Darker And Edgier,improved prose,and expanding the mythos,along with adding some themes of tolerance [courtesy of the Tribe]. The characters are even more 3D too.And had the series stopped here many jarring moments would still be meaningful [the death of Feathertail and Crowpaw's reaction].

The second half I'd give a B- becuase this is the point where Star Clan starts to take over too much,characters start becoming too amoral,but it still had it's moments and it was good Lighter And Softer break with the discovery of new camps,the death of Tallstar,and resolving the Hawkfrost subplot which was frozen for a while. Too bad this part focused too much on the Crow/Pool relationship and left a Sequel Hook.Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw went through beautiful Character Development,but at the cost of Ashfur who got Derailed.

The T Pot I'd give an F thanks to starting off as Filler,then when it got Darker And Edgier it all went nowhere.Everything I hated about Sunset [Word Of God hated this one to] was magnified here and the "protagonists" are simply Designated Heroes,the prose is sloppy,and Star Clan/Ancient Crap has taken over the mythos too much.Also everyone's been Flanderized to hell.

Great if you can get yourself into it.

I'll be honest; the series didn't appeal to me initially. You see, Mother bought the second series box set for me to read over the summer when I was still relatively young, under the impression that it was about space cats based off the cover. So, out of courtesy, I tried to read them. The first time through, nearly none of the characters I cared that much for (Squirrelpaw in particular I despised instantaniously), I wasn't able to understand what the heck was happening, and, overall, I just didn't care what happened to them. I made it to about 1/3 of the way through the second book before giving up and not picking them up again...

...until about a year later. I got bored one day and decided to look up the series on Wikipedia. After reading through the article on it (and having about all of the plot spoiled for me), I learned that Feathertail, the only character that I actually gave a crap for, was going to die. I decided to give the series a second chance, and started over.

This time through, I was able to connect to the book. Though still despising Squirrelpaw, the characters overall became more 3D, I actually picked up what was happening, and cared that their home was going to get destroyed by Twolegs. After that, the series became one of my favorites of all time.

So, in conclusion, the series may not instantly appeal. Didn't for me. My suggestion is to at least try to get through a book or two to see if it hooks you. If not, oh well. That's your personal opinion, and I respect that.

Not at all impressed.

I've only read Into the Wild, and... good gravy was it enough to convince me to never touch this series again. Maybe I'm being harsh, but this book came off to me like the author was trying to do Watership Down with cats and failed so spectacularly hard it wasn't even So Bad It's Good.

My main problems with the book are an unbelievably Stuey main character and one of the most idiotic Idiot Plots I've seen in a while. Also, the "conlang" of the cats was... well, clunky is the best I can come up with. A large series of CamelCaps and random compound words does not a constructed language make. Really, the whole book is clunky.

And... is it just me, or does the "oh noes neutering" thing seem to go just a little bit beyond what the cat characters themselves would make of it? Maybe it's just the book being clunky again, but when the first chapter is acting less like it's trying to make me sympathize with sapient cat characters and more like it's trying to make me feel like I'm a jerk for having a neutered cat... holy Wall Banger, Batman. I've seen speutering made to feel like a heartbreaking tragedy without insulting my intelligence in other books about sapient cats, so I'm gonna blame Warriors over my own views for this one.

I gave the book as fair a shake as I give any. I love Xenofiction, and it's so hard to find that I was ready to continue even after the wall-denting first chapter, but all in all I just can't recommend Warriors based on the first book.

Decent, flawed, well-done... YMMV.

When I was given the first one of all these books as a birthday present, I thought right away that it would be interesting, as I like cats and I'd heard some good things about the series. And I loved 'em.

In A World where feral cats live on their grounds of a forest, a conflict arises that a cat (or cats) chosen by StarClan, the cat's ancestors, to solve said conflict. This is mainly the basic plotline for most of the books, but in other stories, such as the manga editions, aren't based from a prophecy, and not all prophecies refer to specific cats. On the bright side, prophecies vary. There are various subplots including relationships (often forbidden), tensions/fighting between the Clans, and many secrets. What I like about these books is that they are rather gripping as mentioned above. Every chapter seems to end at a point where you think "I gotta keep reading to find out what this leads to!". And while they can be predictable, some twists were out-of-the-blue, yet still done right and foreshadowed just enough for the reader to think "Hey, that's weird..."

What I'm not saying, however, is that the books are perfect. There are some definite faults- for example, at times, the plot can be slow-moving or bland, the characterization is sometimes weak, and the character's motivations may be confusing. To clarify on the first, it sometimes feels like nothing important happens. This reaction usually occurs during the Power of Three series, which had a good portion of Filler and very insignificant sub-plots. As for the characterization... as mentioned in another review, most of the cats have set personalities based on their gender, due to Loads And Loads Of Characters. Only the main characters usually get very defined personalities. When it comes to motivation- this isn't always a problem, but Alternate Character Interpretation is common. For example, why did Onestar start a war against kittypets in the Clans? Not to mention some blatant predictability- Hollyleaf and Leafpool's kits, anyone?

However, the books still contain many epic, heartwarming, emotional moments to make up for it. And either way, it's a creative universe, which just makes it the more fun.

So, in conclusion... Not the best book series ever, but they're worth giving a try.