Warning: This review may contain spoilers.
This is a book review of the first mini-series in the Warriors saga by Erin Hunter. The series starts when the main character, then a house cat named Rusty, journeys into the forest behind his house for the first time. There he meets a forest cat named Graypaw, who tells him about life in ThunderClan, a group of feral cats living in the woods. Soon Rusty is faced with the biggest decision of his life...should he join ThunderClan and leave behind his soft life or stay with his "Twolegs" (the cats' word for humans)? When he decides to head into the forest, his life is changed forever. But clan life is not easy. There are three other clans in the forest--WindClan, ShadowClan, and RiverClan, and they often fight one another. Now known as Firepaw, he must handle his new duties as a warrior apprentice, a mysterious prophecy from StarClan (the "heaven" of the cat world, where good warriors go after their death), and the gnawing suspicion that ThunderClan is housing a murderous traitor...
In the next book, Bluestar, ThunderClan's leader, sends Fireheart and Graystripe (now full warriors with their own warrior names) well beyond the boundaries of the forest to retrieve WindClan, who has been driven out by ShadowClan's murderous leader, Brokenstar. The journey will be long and hard, and it will test the skills of both cats to the end. Fireheart must also deal with the evidence that one of the most trusted cats in ThunderClan is a traitor, and the fact that Graystripe is having an illegal romance with a she-cat from RiverClan, a romance which puts both cats in incredible danger.
In the third book, Fireheart decides he must uncover the truth. Is ThunderClan deputy Tigerclaw a murderer or not? While digging for clues, he discovers another fact, something quite unexpected...many years ago, two ThunderClan kits vanished without a trace. But two cats in RiverClan also have ThunderClan blood. Could these be the two missing kits? And if so, who is their mother?
By the time that the next book starts, murderous Tigerclaw has been exiled from ThunderClan...but Fireheart can't shake the feeling that he's lurking in the forest somewhere, waiting to strike. Meanwhile, Bluestar has not dealt well with Tigerclaw's treachery. She has become a shell of her former self, and Fireheart, now the new deputy, feels as if he is the one running the clan. And as ThunderClan struggles to deal with the aftermath of a raging forest fire that took three cats' lives, Fireheart begins to wonder if he can really handle the pressure of his new job.
The fifth is the most chilling book yet. Cinderpelt, ThunderClan's medicine cat, tells Fireheart of a warning she was given by StarClan of a dangerous new enemy, and a dream in which she heard the words, "Pack, pack," and "kill, kill". A mysterious force is sweeping through the forest, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Fireheart is not sure what it is, but he has a feeling that Tigerstar, now leader of ShadowClan, has something to do with it. But what can he do about it when ThunderClan's leader has begun to lose her mind and has decided to wage war on StarClan itself?
In the final book of the mini-series, Fireheart, or Firestar now, has become leader of ThunderClan after Bluestar gave her life to save the Clan from the mysterious threat lurking in the last book. But Fireheart must deal with an even bigger problem as Tigerstar brings another threat into the forest, and every cat must prepare themselves for the final battle, where the clans will fight side by side, heroes will be made, and one brave cat's destiny will be fulfilled.
These were some truly excellent books. I would recommend them to fans of animal fantasy or cat books. Although they are violent, they are recommended for 8-12 year olds, and are quite appropriate for children. Erin Hunter brought the cats to life and personified them in a unique way. It is sometimes easy to forget that they are cats at all!