Warrior Cats: A Vision of Shadows (formerly StarClan's Promise), is the sixth arc of the Warrior Cats franchise. Announced shortly after Bramblestar's Storm was released, it will be the first Warriors series that is written entirely without any input from Victoria Holmes, the creator of the original concept and the one who developed most of the other book's storylines. note
As usual, there will be six books in the arc.
- The Apprentice's Quest (March 15, 2016) (Cherith Baldry)
- Thunder and Shadow (September 6, 2016) (Kate Cary)
- Shattered Sky (April 11, 2017) (Cherith Baldry)
- Darkest Night (November 7, 2017) (Kate Cary)
- River of Fire (April 10, 2018) (Cherith Baldry)
- The Raging Storm (November 6, 2018) (Kate Cary)
This arc resumes the story of the modern Clans around the lake, last seen in Bramblestar's Storm. Eight moons have passed, and Bramblestar and Squirrelflight now have two kits, the shy and nervous Alderpaw, and the wild and reckless Sparkpaw. Although the two are training to be warriors, a mysterious vision soon makes it clear that Alderpaw's true destiny is to be a medicine apprentice. However, before he can become one, Alderpaw must embark on a journey that will take him far away from everything he's ever known.
Although the series initially followed Alderpaw, two other point of view characters, Twigpaw and Violetpaw, were added in Thunder and Shadow; the latter is a member of ShadowClan. As well, Sparkpaw is rumoured to become a POV character at some point.
In addition to being the first arc completely free of input from Vicky, this will also be the first arc where Wayne McLoughlin will not paint the covers. Instead, all of the covers will be done by Owen Richardson, the new cover artist of the series. As well, this is the first arc to feature Modern SkyClan.
The story seems to be dealing with several conflicts as of Thunder and Shadow, but focuses overall on the Clans' efforts to decipher a mysterious prophecy, Alderheart's quest to find a lost and scattered SkyClan, who are trying to find them, and Darktail's poisonous influence and his feud with the Clans.
This series provides examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: Once again, ShadowClan got one of these, from Thunder and Shadow onward. Specifically, the newly-introduced Violetshine.
- Anyone Can Die: Seems to be in full effect. Although the first book had only one major death, Thunder and Shadow goes out of its way to kill off multiple ShadowClan cats, including the beloved Littlecloud. Shattered Sky has multiple major deaths including that of the Big Bad and kills off many minor characters.
- The Bus Came Back:
- For a second time, after Bramblestar's Storm. Once again, we're getting to see the modern Clans around the lake, this time with an entire new series about them.
- Modern SkyClan as well, who haven't appeared since After the Flood in 2012, four years before The Apprentice's Quest. They appeared first in Ravenpaw's Farewell, out in January 2016, but A Vision of Shadows is the arc where their timeline finally catches up to that of the modern Clans, and their first appearance in an actual Warriors novel since SkyClan's Destiny in 2010.
- The Cameo: It's been confirmed by Kate Cary that some of the characters from Dawn of the Clans will cameo in StarClan, although it's unknown which ones.
- In Thunder and Shadow, a mysterious cat who is confirmed to be Clear Sky/Skystar appears in a dream sequence. He later cameos in the following book.
- In the prologue of River of Fire, Tall Shadow/Shadowstar appears.
- Continuity Nod: The usage of the sixteenth warrior code, which was only added in Bramblestar's Storm.
- Distaff Counterpart: Sparkpelt is described as looking exactly like Firestar, except as a she-cat.
- Disney Death: This happens to Twigbranch in Shattered Sky, to the point where her survival isn't revealed for seven chapters.
- Don't Split Us Up: Alderpaw and Needlepaw find two orphaned/abandoned kits that they name Violetkit and Twigkit. When they return to the Clans, the kits foster in ThunderClan for a while, but ultimately it is decided that Violetkit will be raised in Needlepaw's Clan, ShadowClan, since she had an equal share in finding them and the kits are believed to be important, part of a prophecy. Alderpaw considers it cruel to split them up and the kits are heartbroken, meeting in secret on occasion as they grow.
- Expy: Pre-character development Alderheart was very similar to Ravenpaw in Into the Wild, while Sparkpelt is quite similar to her mother Squirrelflight during her youth.
- Violetshine and Twigbranch share many parallels with Ivypool and Dovewing, respectively.
- Needletail's character arc is reminiscent of Hollyleaf's.
- Gender-Blender Name:
- Fernsong, due to Kate's desire to have more toms that break gender roles in the series. Not only is his name feminine, but he's also named after Ferncloud, who was a she-cat.
- Juniperclaw sounds like the name of a she-cat, but is actually the son of Dawnpelt and Crowfrost. It's probably not one in-universe, due to juniper just being another plant, but out of universe Juniper is also a girl's name.
- Identical Grandson: Sparkpelt, Bramblestar and Squirrelflight's daughter, looks exactly like Firestar, only as a she-cat.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: The first announcement of the arc mentioned "Bramblestar and Squirrelflight's kits", which is a big spoiler for those who hadn't read the recently (at the time) released Bramblestar's Storm, and an even bigger one for those who hadn't read The Last Hope yet.
- The Medic: Alderheart is a ThunderClan medicine cat. ShadowClan finally got a new medicine cat as well, in the form of Puddleshine.
- Spin-Offspring: Several examples. In addition to Sparkpelt and Alderheart, the kits of Bramblestar and Squirrelflight, Lionblaze and Cinderheart's kits appear as have their second litter, Ivypool and Fernsong's kits appear, and we get to see the kits from the other Clans that were mentioned in Bramblestar's Storm. Of particular note are Dawnpelt's kits, as well as Tigerstar (Tigerheart) and Dovewing's kits as they, along with Bramblestar's kits, are the next generation of Tigerstar's line. Finally, Breezepelt and Heathertail have two daughters, Smokehaze and Brindlewing.
- Time Skip: The Apprentice's Quest is set eight moons after the manga at the end of Bramblestar's Storm.