Warriors Wednesday: A Dangerous Path, by Erin Hunter

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Author’s website
Publication date – May 20, 2004

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) ShadowClan has chosen Tigerclaw–now called TigerStar–as their new leader, and Fireheart fears that his old enemy still harbors dark plans for vengeance on his former clan.

Thoughts: As much as this book is absolutely essential to the series and contains a wealth of information and major plot events, I can’t help but rate it lower than the other books thus far. Why? Because of Bluestar. Her mind has snapped, essentially, after Tigerclaw’s betrayal, and her overwhelming suspicion of everyone and everything got very tedious to read after a while. I can’t say that there was a good way of avoiding this tedium, since Hunter had to express Bluestar’s state of mind and the added burdens that lay on Fireheart, but that doesn’t mean it made for the best reading.

Still, it’s not as though this book could be skipped without leaving the reader very lost and confused. A great deal of important thing happen here. Tigerclaw is now Tigerstar, leader of ShadowClan. Bluestar’s history with her lots kits comes into play, and is revealed to her now-grown RiverClan kits. Dogs are loose in the forest, stealing prey and making life difficult, but Bluestar won’t see the truth of the matter.

And then there’s the ending, which involves the ultimate and final death of Bluestar. It was an emotional death, in many ways, since was readers we’ve come to know Bluestar quite well since her appearance in the first book. In a moment of clarity, she sacrifices herself for the good of her Clan. But at the same time it was also a welcome death, since was growing old and was not mentally capable of leading her Clan anymore, and her shattered mental state left me feeling more pity and disgust for her than real sympathy, after a while.

The writing style remains consistant, as it has through the rest of the series, though it still takes a darker bent than the first two novels, because things are still in the process of heating up and there’s a lot of hard concepts to tackle as the series goes on. Faith in higher powers, noble sacrifice, dementia, betrayal for the sake of power, these things are not flinches away from, and for a mid-grade series, I honestly can’t recommend these books enough if you feel that you or your children are mature enough to handle books about cats that are far more than fluffy sweetness-filled stories involving balls of yarn and comfy beds. Hunter once again proves that young readers are capable of handling far more than many writers will give them, and does it with style and emotion that will leave you desperately wanting to pick up the final book of the first Warriors series.

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