Firestar's Quest is the first released Warriors "Super Edition", an extra-long standalone book. It takes place five moons after the end of The Darkest Hour, before the Ravenpaw's Path manga trilogy and Midnight, the first book in the second series.
The prologue takes place many moons before we first met the Clans as we know them. There's a Gathering, and the four Clans greet each other. But they can't start yet, because not everyone is there. Finally, the last cats arrive - SkyClan. But something strange is going on here - they've brought their entire Clan, down to the oldest elders and tiniest kits. The leader, Cloudstar, reveals that while Twolegs had been encroaching on their territory for a while, the camp has finally been destroyed. He pleads to the other Clans on SkyClan's behalf, but the other Clans insist that they have no room for another Clan in their territories, and that SkyClan must leave. SkyClan has no choice, so they start to head out of Clan territory. Cloudstar's mate, Birdflight, is heavily pregnant, and cannot go on a long journey, so she is welcomed as a ThunderClan cat. After they say their goodbyes, Cloudstar vows to never look to the stars again.
Five moons after the battle with BloodClan, Firestar hunts in ThunderClan territory. All of a sudden, he is attacked... but it turns out to just be Bramblepaw successfully completing his final assessment. On the way back to camp, he sees a strange gray cat who suddenly disappears, and that night, he dreams of strange cats fleeing through the mist, wailing in terror. The next morning, he's shaken but acts normal, performing Bramblepaw's warrior ceremony. Over the next few days, life continues as normal, while Firestar continues to have dreams about the unfamiliar cats. After a Gathering, he decides to visit the Moonstone, and it is there that Bluestar reveals to him what his dreams mean: many seasons ago, there used to be a fifth Clan, called SkyClan, who left when Twolegs took over their territory. The pale gray cat was their leader at the time, and he evidently wants Firestar to help him somehow, though Bluestar advises Firestar to just worry about his own Clan. Troubled, he heads home. The next day, Brambleclaw and Ashfur discover Firestar's kittypet friend Smudge on ThunderClan territory. Smudge explains to Firestar that he's been having dreams about a pale gray cat as well. Realizing that Smudge's yard is where the SkyClan camp used to be, Firestar spends the night there, and speaks to the ancient SkyClan leader. Cloudstar tells him that SkyClan disbanded long ago, but that Firestar can help rebuild the Clan, if he travels upstream to the river's source.
Two days later, Firestar has made up his mind. He tells Cinderpelt, Graystripe, and Sandstorm about his dreams and about the journey he has planned - and he invites Sandstorm to come along. They spend two days learning herbs and telling the Clan that StarClan has called Firestar away on a mission, and finally they leave. The first three days of their journey are peaceful. During the fourth day, however, a storm is on the way, and tensions are building between the two. When the storm breaks, Firestar insists on traveling through the weather, which Sandstorm is unhappy about. Still upset that Firestar loved Spottedleaf, she argues with him about it, and gets swept away in a flood when crossing the river. Firestar spends three desperate days searching for Sandstorm, finally finding her after being helped by a group of rogues in a Twolegplace.
They continue traveling for the next few days, eventually coming upon a gorge. Firestar knows they're close when he dreams of the ancient SkyClan cats, relaxed and settled in their new home. They soon find the old camp, and signs that cats still live in the gorge somewhere, but no remnants of the Clan itself. They end up finding a couple of local cats - unfriendly rogues, and a pair of young kittypets named Boris and Cherry (who initially thought that Firestar and Sandstorm were a strange old cat they call "Moony" due to the fact that he always comes to the gorge at the full moon and talks about cats in the stars). Realizing that he must be the only local cat who has any idea that SkyClan once lived there, Firestar and Sandstorm look for him, but when they find him, he refuses to speak to them. They decide to wait until the full moon, when he'll likely be more willing to talk about the ancient Clan.
Four days later, it's the full moon. Firestar and Sandstorm meet Moony at a rock on top of the gorge. It is there that he explains that his real name is Sky - his grandmother was the last cat in his family born into SkyClan, and his mother named him in memory of the Clan. Firestar tells him about his dreams. Sky points out that even though SkyClan no longer exists (he never says why), some cats in the area still have SkyClan's physical features - strong hindlegs for jumping, and hard pawpads for climbing on rocks. Boris and Cherry are two such cats. The next morning, Sky gives them a tour of the old camp and territory: the dens were in caves in the side of the gorge, the Clan leader gave meetings from a Rockpile in the gorge, the medicine cats communicated with their ancestors in a cave with phosphorescent-glowing moss, the Clan had Gatherings at the Skyrock, the rock at the top of the gorge where they had met him the night before (even though there were no other Clans to meeet with, it was a time for cats within the Clan to share news.) In the surrounding area, he tells them about his own history: he and his brother, Twig, were born to a cat named Lowbranch, and taught to hunt by one of her friends, Pricklenose, before they grew older and Twig decided to become a kittypet. Firestar and Sandstorm comment on how Clan customs seemed to have been passed on to the local rogues - the names, and the tradition of having a friend mentor kits. It all hits Firestar, though, that the Clan just doesn't exist anymore - this old loner, who never lived a day in a Clan, is all that's left of it - and he decides that his journey's over and he wants to go home. Sky urges him to right the wrongs of the Clan ancestors, and rebuild SkyClan.
Firestar decides he needs to hunt and think for a while. He soon realizes that the kittypets Boris and Cherry are following him, and after letting them watch for a while, teaches them the hunter's crouch. They're so intrigued by life in the wild that they return the next day. Firestar and Sandstorm hunt with them and tell them about SkyClan. Later that evening, after the kittypets have gone home, the two explore the gorge, and come across a rogue trying to protect her kits from a fox. With the help of a second rogue, they fight it off. They introduce themselves to each other - the she-cat is Clover, and the tom who helped is named Scratch - and Firestar and Sandstorm tell them about SkyClan. Both cats agree to come back to the gorge.
Over the next few days, they continue to train the kittypets and two rogues. Boris gets the idea that they can hold a meeting to tell local cats about SkyClan, and, with the help of Cherry, Boris, and Scratch, invite both kittypets and rogues. The meeting goes mostly well, as several cats agree to try out the Clan. The next day is the first day of the new SkyClan officially operating as a Clan. After some patrols, Firestar gives the cats their Clan names - Boris and Cherry are renamed Sparrowpaw and Cherrypaw; Clover and Scratch are named Clovertail and Sharpclaw; Clover's kits are Rockkit, Bouncekit, and Tinykit; and the other cats who joined - Hutch, Leaf, and Patch - are named Shortwhisker, Leafdapple, and Patchfoot. Sky is given the name Skywatcher, to honor the fact that he has kept the memory of the Clan alive. Skywatcher tells Firestar to come to his den that night. When he does, Skywatcher speaks a prophecy to him: There will be three, kin of your kin, who hold the power of the stars in their paws. Firestar wonders what it means, and prays to his ancestors for guidance. The next day marks a milestone for the new Clan and a sad day: new SkyClan marks its borders for the first time, but Skywatcher is discovered to have died overnight. The Clan sits vigil for him.
The Clan continues to patrol and train over the next several days. Shortwhisker, a former kittypet, lacks confidence in his skills, but Firestar assures him that he's improving and he'll learn in time. One day, the rogue Rainfur, who had been at the meeting but refused to join, comes to the Clan, desperately begging for help. His mate is a kittypet, and her Twoleg has shut her and her kits in. The Twoleg is old and doesn't care for her well, but at least in the past Rainfur could bring her food. The Clan agrees to help; they cause a ruckus to lure him out of the house, and in the meantime, they run in and help get Petal and her kits out.
Toward the end of the moon, a patrol is attacked by rats - Shortwhisker claims that there were so many, you couldn't see the ground for all the rats. Patchfoot is hurt. Firestar brings a patrol to investigate the area. The rats come out, but instead of attacking, one speaks in rough Cat - the cats must leave the gorge, he says, and "we killed you before", promising to do so again. When the cats arrive back at the gorge, they realize that "we killed you before" means that rats are what destroyed the old SkyClan after they made their home in the gorge. After a pep talk with the Clan, Firestar checks on Patchfoot. He's getting worse, despite Sandstorm trying to heal him. Spottedleaf appears to the both of them, giving them the proper herb for rat bites. Firestar comments, without thinking, that he's surprised Spottedleaf could come so far to help them since he hasn't seen her since they left the forest. Sandstorm realizes this means that Spottedleaf has visited Firestar before, and she feels hurt and betrayed. Spottedleaf explains to her that Firestar does love Sandstorm, and that even if she hadn't died, Spottedleaf would not have become his mate. Sandstorm is reassured of Firestar's feelings for her.
In the wake of the rat attack, the Clan increases its patrols and does extra battle training. Patchfoot's injury has also made Firestar and Sandstorm realize how much they need a medicine cat for the Clan. Medicine cats are born, not made, though, and no cat in the gorge seems right for the job, so they hope that StarClan will send them the right cat soon. Firestar dreams about Skywatcher, who tells him that their medicine cat is already on her way. He decides to take Sparrowpaw to the Twolegplace to look for her, and they find her, a she-cat named Echo who dreams about cats with stars in their fur. Shortly afterward, the Clan holds its first Gathering to share news and talk about how their training's coming along, and Firestar gives Echo her Clan name, Echosong. Over the next few days, the Clan continues with the extra training and patrols, but they start to think that another attack won't come. Echosong is worried because she hasn't dreamed of StarClan since arriving at the gorge, though she finally does after sleeping on the Skyrock and she's reassured after hearing their voices whispering in the Shining Cave.
A few nights later, the attack finally comes - the rats attack the camp itself. They flee before too long, and the Clan cats realize it's a warning, e meant to bring fear. They resolve to bring the fight to the rats the next day. The following morning, they get in a last training session, and Rainfur and Petal decide to join the Clan (Firestar gives Petal the name Petalnose, and her kits, Mint and Sage, have their names Clan-ized to Mintkit and Sagekit.) That night, they attack the barn. There are so many rats inside, though, that the fight goes very badly and they try to get out because they're so overwhelmed. Firestar tries to save Rainfur - the last cat to exit the barn besides him and Sandstorm - but ends up losing a life. He wakes up outside the barn - Sandstorm dragged him out - and the SkyClan cats urge him to join them in a tree they have climbed to get out of the rats' reach. Sandstorm explains that she could only save one cat - either Firestar or Rainfur - and she had to choose Firestar. The cats share some determined words of encouragement, and Firestar realizes that the rat pack has been acting like a Hive Mind - something, a leader, must be controlling them. The cats climb down to fight again. With Spottedleaf whispering encouragement to Firestar, he notices little ripples in the rat army as orders are passed from one rat to another. He follows the ripples to their source - the leader rat. He kills the leader, and while the rats are momentarily lost without orders, the SkyClanners rush in to help, and the rats flee.
The Clan's triumph at defeating the rats is tempered by sorrow at Rainfur's death. They sit vigil for him. The next morning, Shortwhisker tells Firestar he's leaving the Clan; Rainfur's death made him realize that he is not a Clan cat at heart - he doesn't want to give up his life for the Clan, and he hates fighting. The cats acknowledge that accepting what's in his heart doesn't make him a coward. To put the last of the rat battle behind them, the Clan goes into their dens, and they make their own claw markings on the walls, erasing the scratches the rats had made after defeating the first SkyClan.
Firestar and Sandstorm realize that they've made this group of random cats a Clan again. They really aren't needed anymore, but the Clan is still missing one thing: a leader. Echosong comes to Firestar and tells him about a vision she's just had: she was in a clearing, and there were shadows of leaves dappling the ground. They realize that it's referring to Leafdapple, and that she's the right cat to be SkyClan's leader. That night, she sleeps on the Skyrock with Firestar and Echosong. She dreams of StarClan, who give her her nine lives: Cloudstar, a life for endurance; Skywatcher, a life for hope; her mother, a life for love; Spottedleaf, a life for healing wounds caused by words and rivalry. At this point, they are joined by the leaders of the Clans who had driven the ancient SkyClan out. They acknowledge that they had made the wrong decision, and the four of them give Leafdapple lives: Redstar, the ThunderClan leader, a life for wisdom; Birchstar, the RiverClan leader, a life for sympathy and understanding; Swifstar, the WindClan leader, a life for selflessness; and Dawnstar, the ShadowClan leader, a life for determination. After this, the StarClan cats wait, as if they're expecting another cat to arrive. And arrive she does - it's Birdflight, Cloudstar's mate. She introduces Cloudstar to their kits, Spottedpelt and Gorseclaw, who look almost exactly like Spottedleaf and Tigerstar; Firestar realizes that they must be descended from SkyClan. Birdflight gives Leafdapple her final life, a life for faithfulness, and StarClan welcomes her with her leader name.
The next day, Leafstar calls her Clan to a meeting for her first time. She appoints Sharpclaw as her deputy, and gives Cherrypaw and Sparrowpaw the warrior names of Cherrytail and Sparrowpelt. She names Clovertail's kits as apprentices: Patchfoot is named mentor to Bouncepaw, Cherrytail is the mentor of Rockpaw, and Sparrowpelt is the mentor of Tinypaw. They spend a moment honoring Firestar and Sandstorm, thanking them for all they have done for the Clan. The two decide to leave, as their job is done and their Clan is waiting for them back in the forest. They say their goodbyes and head home.
Three moons later, when Firestar and Sandstorm are back home, Firestar visits the nursery. Sandstorm has recently had kits, and she tells him she has decided upon names: Squirrelkit for her bushy tail, and Leafkit in honor of Leafstar and Spottedleaf. He's proud of them and has so many hopes for them. However, the words of Skywatcher's prophecy - kin of your kin - ring in his ears, and he wonders how his bloodline will affect the Clan in seasons to come.
Tropes appearing in this book:
- Bad People Abuse Animals: There is an old Twoleg living near SkyClan who is cruel to his pets; Petal and her kits have to be rescued from him.
- But Now I Must Go: Shortwhisker leaves the Clan to return to his life as a kittypet after the rat battle, which had made him realize that he's not willing to give up his life for his Clan.
- Call-Forward: Firestar wonders if there is another afterlife for evil cats, and if Brambleclaw will ever go there. The Dark Forest, which is exactly that, was previously revealed in The New Prophecy, which Firestar's Quest precedes. And Brambleclaw trains there.
- Career-Ending Injury: Longtail retires early when he starts to go blind from infected scratched eyes.
- Cat Stereotype: The "bratty, showy, and aristocratic" part of the Siamese stereotype is played straight in this book. When trying to recruit cats to join the new SkyClan, he encounters two Siamese she-cats who are disdainful of the idea of living wild."What, us?" Rose's eyes opened wide. "You're joking, of course."
"Us live in a cave? With no warm blanket?" Lily added. "No creamed chicken?"
"To chase mice and kill them?" Rose's tongue rasped delicately over one brown paw. "How vulgar!"
- Crisis of Faith: Ancient SkyClan, particularly Cloudstar, believes that StarClan has abandoned them.
- Distant Prologue: The prologue takes place several generations before the main story of the book; long enough that SkyClan - the Clan featured in the prologue - has been forgotten by the modern Clans.
- Eye Scream: Longtail's eyes are clawed by a rabbit, and the wounds become infected; it becomes clear that he's going to be permanently blinded.
- Famous Last Words: Skywatcher: "Farewell, Firestar. In seasons to come, remember me."
- Fighting for a Homeland: SkyClan, after they were exiled from the forest.
- Gender Bender: In the Allegiances list, Mintkit is female and Sagekit is male; in the book itself their genders are flipped. Later books confirm the Allegiances to be correct.
- Glowing Flora: The Whispering Cave in SkyClan's gorge has phosphorescent moss growing inside. The cats find it odd and mysterious, and it ends up being the place where they can communicate with StarClan, the spirits of their ancestors.
- Hive Queen: This book features a Hive Mind horde of rats led by one that can speak Cat. Firestar actually loses a life in battle with the rats, and then his Spirit Advisor Spottedleaf tells him "Not many, but one." He realizes that this means killing the leader will ensure the cats' victory.
- Identical Grandson: Firestar realizes that Tigerstar and Spottedleaf are distantly descended from SkyClan when, during Leafstar's nine lives ceremony, he sees the kits of an ancient SkyClan leader that look identical to them.
- Internal Reveal: Bluestar telling Firestar about SkyClan, which the reader saw in the prologue. Although some of the information was new.
- I Will Find You: The SkyClan leader Cloudstar and his mate Birdflight are separated for good when SkyClan is forced to leave the forest and Birdflight stays behind as a ThunderClan cat because her kits are too young to travel. The two promise to find each other in the afterlife, and they eventually do, after many years.
- I Will Wait for You: Though it's just best friends and not a romantic example, Firestar and Graystripe do this. Firestar goes away on a quest that leads him far out of the forest, leaving the Clan in Graystripe's care. Graystripe promises "I'll wait for you as long as it takes."
- Keystone Army: Near SkyClan's gorge lives a large horde of Hive Mind rats. Once Firestar kills the leader, they're too confused to fight because they have absolutely no idea what to do now, and those who aren't killed scatter.
- Killer Rabbit: Longtail has to retire at a young age because a rabbit he was chasing scratched his eyes, and the resulting infection blinded him.
- Living Is More Than Surviving: Leaf uses this as a reason as to why they should join the new SkyClan."Yes, I'll join," Leaf assured him. "If the Clan really works how you say it will, then cats will have a purpose. We'll be more than just rogues, just living to stay alive."
- Living Relic: Sky is the only remaining SkyClan descendant who has any knowledge of the Clan. His grandmother was born into the Clan, and he was named after the lost Clan and taught its traditions, and still tries to cling to them, despite younger area cats believing him crazy. He is able to teach Firestar and Sandstorm about SkyClan's life in the gorge.
- The Load: Clovertail wanted to join the Clan for protection but had no interest in giving back to the Clan by hunting and fighting. She eventually got over it and became a warrior.
- Love Triangle: Firestar/Spottedleaf/Sandstorm comes to a head in this one. Firestar had loved Spottedleaf until her death, then fell in love with Sandstorm while Spottedleaf still visited him in his dreams. In this book, his feelings for Sandstorm are still strong but he struggles with feeling like he's being disloyal to Spottedleaf, and Sandstorm herself learns about Firestar's feelings for Spottedleaf and hates the idea that she might be "second best".
- Meaningful Name:
- Petalnose named her kits Mint and Sage for the herbs in her Twoleg's garden.
- Firestar and Sandstorm name one of their daughters Squirrelkit, for her fluffy tail, and the other Leafkit, in honor of Leafstar and possibly Spottedleaf.
- Meaningful Rename: Firestar gives everyone Clan names when they join the new SkyClan. One of the most meaningful names is Sky's new name Skywatcher, which was given in honor of how he kept SkyClan's memory alive for so long.
- The Missing Faction: SkyClan, who were forced to leave the forest after losing their territory. Eventually they were lost from the memory of the living Clans.
- Mixed Ancestry: There are ThunderClan cats with SkyClan blood due to being the descendants of Gorseclaw and Spottedpelt, who were SkyClan kits that were raised in ThunderClan. Spottedleaf and Tigerclaw were two of their descendants.
- Never Trust a Title: The title is Firestar's Quest, but back when it was released and wasn't quite what readers were expecting, it was often said by fans that Firestar and Sandstorm's Quest would be a more accurate title.
- A Pet into the Wild: Several of the new SkyClan cats were kittypets who left their homes to join the Clan.
- The Quest: The book is named after this: Firestar must travel far out of Clan territory to rebuild a lost Clan that disbanded seasons ago.
- Rat King: SkyClan is threatened to be wiped out by a swarm of rats. Firestar realizes that the rats have a leader, which is more intelligent than the others: it is able to speak Cat, and give commands to all the other rats. Once he kills the leader, the rest of the rats have nothing to command them, and they scatter.
- Rage Against the Heavens: After StarClan did nothing to prevent SkyClan's exile, Cloudstar vowed that they would never look to the stars again. However, being a compassionate leader, he tacitly allowed the more devout members of his Clan to keep their faith.
- Rescue Introduction: Firestar and Sandstorm meet Clover and Scratch when they find Clover trying to defend herself and her kits from a fox; the two of them rush over to rescue her, and Scratch joins in shortly afterward.
- Ruler Protagonist: Firestar has to decide whether it's the right thing to do to leave his Clan and possibly risk his life on a long journey to restore another, long-lost Clan. His experience in leading a Clan serves him well in bringing cats together and training their new leader.
- Series Continuity Error: There is a mention of Firestar having six lives left. This is incorrect; he has only lost the one to Scourge in The Darkest Hour at this point. (Note that while you may have seen Vicky's answer about where the two extra lives went, it is also incorrect: she said that one was lost to the rats in this book - though this scene is before he lost that one - and that the other was lost helping Ravenpaw, but Ravenpaw's Path takes place after this book and he doesn't lose one there anyway.)
- The Siege: SkyClan had to endure this. Forced out of their home, they found a gorge and settled down in it. However, a massive horde of rats surrounded them, just waiting for them to try to leave. When a cat left, they were swarmed by rats and killed. It was enough to drive a cat mad, and led to the end of SkyClan.
- Sky Face: When Firestar's going on his Quest, he sees his deceased mentor/leader Bluestar's face in the clouds, and she looks worried. This is right before Sandstorm goes missing in the flood.
- Spoiler Title: For people who haven't finished the first five books, Firestar's Quest spoils the fact that the protagonist of the first series becomes Clan leader.
- Struggling Single Mother: Clover starts as this, explaining that her mate left her before her kits were born and that it's hard raising them on her own; it's why she's so eager to join the new Clan after Firestar and Scratch save her and her kits from a fox.
- Swarm of Rats: A huge Hive Mind swarm of rats serves as a major antagonist. There are so many that when a character tells Firestar "you can't see the ground for all the rats", Firestar thinks he's exaggerating, but realizes when he goes to fight the rats himself that it was Not Hyperbole.
- Tagline: The original hardcover and paperback had one on the front cover:
- "The greatest adventure ever for ThunderClan's hero." (original hardcover)
- "An all-new adventure for ThunderClan's hero." (original paperback)
- Took a Level in Badass: All of the new SkyClan cats that learn to be warriors, especially the kittypets and other former non-combatants like Clovertail.
- Trauma Conga Line: This happened to ancient SkyClan: originally they lost most of their territory due to Twolegs and began to starve, and then were driven out of the forest by other Clans. When they found the gorge, the remainder of the Clan was either killed by rats or split up.
- Unnamed Parent: Leafstar's mother. This is notable because the characters who give a leader their nine lives have impacted the new leader's life in some significant way, and since the leader is almost always a main character, the cats who give them their nine lives are pretty important characters too.
- Whispering Ghosts: The new members of SkyClan end up hearing whispering voices in a cave, which turns out to be the place where they can commune with the spirits of their ancestors. Appropriately, they name it the Whispering Cave.
- You Dirty Rat!: A large group of rats was responsible for ending the original SkyClan. They're determined to make sure it doesn't stay rebuilt.