Once again, Gray Wing meets with Stoneteller in his dream in the prologue. Stoneteller advises him that things are going to get even more difficult, and that he needs to be flexible to survive.
After the battle at the four trees, the cats bury their dead and agree to meet again at the next full moon, as the spirit cats had asked them to do. Gray Wing declares that Thunder is now a leader equal to Tall Shadow. On the way back to the hollow, a trio of rogues named Holly, Mouse Ear, and Mud Paws join the group. At the next full moon, the cats meet again, and the spirits tell them that "To survive, you must grow and spread like the Blazing Star", without an explanation of what this means.
The following day, Clear Sky meets the kittypet Tom, who asks to join, along with a rogue named One Eye. One Eye seems sketchy, and Mouse Ear warns that Clear Sky will regret taking him in. In the moor camp, the cats find a tainted mouse in the fresh-kill, which Pebble Heart thinks is a sign of a coming sickness. The cats think that perhaps the "Blazing Star" is a five-petaled plant that Mouse Ear knows of, and they go off to find it, but it doesn't give any more hints.
A few days later, Turtle Tail's kit Sparrow Fur decides to go to Clear Sky's group to meet her father. One Eye claims that Sparrow Fur needs to prove herself by fighting him, and that she needs to be taught a lesson. Clear Sky lets them fight, and One Eye nearly kills the kit before Tom jumps into the fight and dies himself. Clear Sky orders the rogue away.
The same day, one of Wind Runner's kits, Morning Whisker, falls ill, and she dies a few days later. Wind Runner and Gorse Fur decide to leave the group. The cats meet to discuss the illness, and afterward Clear Sky returns to his camp to find the kit Alder ill. One Eye's there too, and he declares that he's in charge now, with new rogues to back him up. One Eye orders him to leave, and Clear Sky frees Sparrow Fur and runs with her.
The following day, Thunder spends some time with a she-cat that he'd met a few times before, Star Flower, and she tells him that The Blazing Star is a healing herb. Upon retuning to the hollow, Clear Sky is there, and he explains what happened. More importantly, though, Holly - who is now Jagged Peak's mate and is expecting his kits - is ill, and they urgently need to find the Blazing Star to cure her. They send out an expedition to collect some the following morning, but are attacked and driven away by One Eye and his rogues on the way back. They come up with a plan to lure him out and work together to defeat him.
The plan is put into motion a few days later: Clear Sky challenges him to a fight, one-on-one, with the other moor cats and river cats hiding in wait. But then it turns out that One Eye was ready for this: Star Flower (who One Eye reveals is his daughter) had told him about the plan after she'd learned it from Thunder. The rogues chase them away at first, but they regroup and eventually manage to kill him. While some of them go to fetch the Blazing Star, Clear Sky returns to camp and finds Petal dying of the sickness. They're able to use the flower to save the kits, though, as well as Holly, who has her kits safely.
The leaders have a shared dream in which they meet with the spirit-cats again. The spirits repeat their "grow and spread" message, pointing out that the Blazing Star has five petals like a paw has five claws. Upon awakening, they all meet at the four trees, wondering how "grow and spread like the Blazing Star" and "Unite or die" go together. Finally, Gray Wing says he thinks he understands.
In the bonus scene, we see the Tribe during the events of the book, from the point of view of Moon Shadow's son Sun Shadow. He's always felt the urge to explore, and gets scratched up while exploring a cave. Upon returning to the cave he's lectured by his mother and adopted father, and assigned to look after Stoneteller. When checking on her, she speaks to cats who have died, and he's worried, thinking that Stoneteller will join them soon.
The following day, he looks after her, and she confirms that she will die soon. She tells Sun Shadow that he'll leave the Tribe before the next leader is chosen. He thinks about setting out to find his father, and after driving away a hawk, he feels ready to leave. That night, he slips out, and Gray Wing and Clear Sky's mother Quiet Rain notices him. At that moment, they hear a grief-stricken cry and know that Stoneteller is dying. Quiet Rain urges him onward, and lets him know that she will face the Sun Trail with him.
Tropes appearing in this book:
- Alliterative Name: River Ripple, Sun Shadow
- And This Is for...:
- Star Flower betrays Thunder and helps her father One Eye attack Thunder's father, Clear Sky. Later in the fight, Gray Wing (Thunder's uncle and Clear Sky's brother) kicks her back, thinking with satisfaction, "That one's for Thunder".
- When Sparrow Fur lures One Eye to the group, she tells the others first, "I'm doing this for Tom."
- The Bait:
- Clear Sky decides that he needs to be bait to lure One Eye out alone; he challenges him to a one-on-one fight.
- Sparrow Fur taunts One Eye when they regroup and prepare to fight him again.
- Bat Scare: Happens to Sun Shadow while exploring a cave in the bonus scene.
- Blood from the Mouth: One of Morning Whisker's symptoms when she is ill.
- Chase Scene: Clear Sky frees Sparrow Fur from One Eye's rogues and flees with her through the forest, pursued by One Eye's rogues, but they manage to lose them.
- The Chosen Many: Thunder and River Ripple discuss that they, the leaders, are this because they were chosen to speak with the spirit-cats in dreams.
- Cut Himself Shaving: Sun Shadow gets scratched by a bat while exploring a cave that he's not supposed to. When Sharp Hail asks how it happened, he claimed that he encountered a hawk; Sharp Hail doesn't believe him.
- Dead Person Conversation: The spirit-cats meet with the living cats a few times to share advice.
- Death of a Child: Wind Runner's kit Morning Whisker dies of sickness.
- The Determinator: Sparrow Fur. She's so determined to see her biological father that she travels to the forest on her own, and then when a vicious cat says she'll have to fight him, she does so, despite her youth and lack of skill. It reminds Clear Sky of her mother, Turtle Tail.
- Dies Wide Open: Tom, after attacking One Eye to protect his kit.
- Dream Intro: In the prologue of the book, Gray Wing dreams of the Tribe, and speaks to Stoneteller.
- Due to the Dead:
- The moor group gives Morning Whisker a burial near the recent battle grave.
- The group decides to bury One Eye. When Sparrow Fur wonders why, Thunder replies that it's because they're different from One Eye.
- Establishing Character Moment: The first thing One Eye does is land almost on Clear Sky, then attack his ally Tom, snapping that he can speak for himself.
- Excellent Judge of Character: Holly declares that she's one.
- Expecting Someone Taller: A variant; Star Flower comments that Thunder's paws aren't as big as some cats have said.
- Famous Last Words:
- Tom: "Leave her alone! She's my kit!"
- One Eye: "If you want a fight, I'll give you one you won't forget because you'll be dead."
- Petal: "I have to get better... I want to help you, Clear Sky... to repay all you've done for me!"
- Fisticuff-Provoking Comment: After Thunder asks Lightning Tail if he's jealous of Star Flower, Lightning Tail attacks him.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: At different points in the book, Clear Sky and Thunder believe they shouldn't kill One Eye, just drive him out, since killing him would make them as bad as One Eye himself.
- Immediate Sequel: The First Battle ends with Tall Shadow declaring that they must bury the dead. The Blazing Star picks up with the same line.
- It's All My Fault: Clear Sky about Sparrow Fur's injury.
- It's Raining Men:
- Clear Sky meets One Eye when One Eye drops out of a tree almost on top of him.
- The moor cats attack One Eye this way toward the end of the book.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Holly claims that Mouse Ear is this.
- Keeping the Enemy Close: Clear Sky gets bad vibes from One Eye right away, but invites him to join the group anyway since he thinks it's better to keep an eye on a cat like that rather than let him wander free.
- Meaningful Name: Holly is named for her bushy fur that sticks up like holly prickles, Mouse Ear is named for his small ears, and Mud Paws is named for his black paws.
- The Medic: Dappled Pelt and Cloud Spots, as well as Pebble Heart.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Clear Sky after realizing he let One Eye nearly kill Sparrow Fur.
- My Way or the Highway: Snake attacks Clear Sky when he returns to the forest. After beating him, Clear Sky says that Snake can accept him as leader or leave the forest; Snake decides to leave.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
- New Season, New Name: This arc is named Dawn of the Clans.
- A Pet into the Wild: Tom the kittypet decides to live in the forest.
- Pet the Dog: Tom is a cruel bully, but he dies trying to save his daughter from One Eye.
- Prequel: Dawn of the Clans and its supplemental books take place long before the main series or any of the other prequels.
- A Scar to Remember: One Eye scars the cats under his command on their paw pads.
- Series Continuity Error:
- Falling Feather is listed in the Allegiances; she died in the previous book.
- Toward the start of the book, it claims that Clear Sky killed Rainswept Flower before the battle at the Four Trees. In The First Battle he actually killed her near the end of it, not before it.
- At the end of The First Battle, many cats left the four trees at the end of the battle (including Lightning Tail and Acorn Fur), before the spirit cats even showed up. This book picks up where the last book ended (with Tall Shadow declaring that it's time to bury the dead after the spirit cats disappear), and the cats who left earlier are suddenly there as if they'd never left at all.
- In The First Battle, Gray Wing sees the current state of the Tribe in a dream, and he notices four kits running past with their mother Dewy Leaf following them, and he comments that she's kitted safely. In the prologue of The Blazing Star, he sees them again and once again comments that she's kitted and sees that there are three of them (and the bonus chapter confirms this, with the three kits being Sun Shadow, Crow Muzzle, and Dancing Leaf.)
- In The First Battle, Wind Runner's kits are three toms and a she-cat. In The Blazing Star, it's actually two toms (Emberkit and Dust Muzzle) and two she-cats (Moth Flight and Morning Whisker).
- Sneaky Departure: Sun Shadow and Quiet Rain leave the Tribe in the dead of night.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Sun Shadow looks just like his father Moon Shadow.
- Switching P.O.V.: Gray Wing, Thunder, and Clear Sky.
- Taking the Bullet: When Pebble Heart tries to keep Wind Runner from touching her ill kit, Wind Runner swipes at him. Thunder jumps in the way and takes the hit himself.
- Talking in Your Dreams:
- Gray Wing and Stoneteller once again communicate in a shared dream.
- All of the leaders share a dream with each other to meet with the spirit-cats.
- Tell Me About My Father: After Dewy Leaf tells Sun Shadow that he's like his father Moon Shadow, he asks about what he's like.
- Tempting Fate: Clear Sky thinks that Jagged Peak's comment about "I'm glad it was so easy" about crossing the Thunderpath is tempting fate.
- Third-Person Person: One Eye, for a little bit when facing off against Clear Sky.One Eye: You'll kill me, will you? You'll kill One Eye? If One Eye were that easy to kill, he'd never have survived kithood.
- Tree Cover: One of the times Star Flower meets Thunder, she calls out to him while hiding in a bush.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Star Flower is the beautiful daughter of the hideous One Eye. Even Thunder wonders how a cat as beautiful as her ever came from someone so hideous.
- Vagueness Is Coming: Holly lampshades this about the "blazing star" message.
- Would Hurt a Child: One Eye. He insists that the kit Sparrow Fur fight him to prove that she can see her father, and he nearly kills her.
- The X of Y: The series name Dawn of the Clans.
- You Fool!:
- Mouse Ear calls Clear Sky a fool for taking in One Eye.
- One Eye calls Clear Sky a fool when Clear Sky claims that he doesn't want to "keep his cats in line".
- You Remind Me of X:
- Dewy Leaf tells Sun Shadow that he's so much like his father.
- Sparrow Fur's feistiness and determination reminds Clear Sky of her mother Turtle Tail.
- Zorro Mark: One Eye leaves an eye-shaped wound on his subjects' paw pads as his mark, and scratches the same mark into trees.