Warriors Wednesday: Twilight, by Erin Hunter

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Publication date – June 21, 2007

Summary: (Taken from GoodReadsNew territory brings new troubles for the fierce cats of the warrior Clans, who are still uncovering the secrets of their new home around the lake. Dangers they have never faced before are lurking in the twilight shadows, and former allies are acting strangely hostile.

As divisions between the Clans grow deeper, Firestar’s daughters face troubling decisions. One is torn between loyalty to her calling and a forbidden love, while the other struggles with her best friend’s betrayal and the surprising perils of the forest. The choices they make now could affect ThunderClan for generations to come . . . and with an unexpected enemy preparing to attack, their courage and strength will be needed more than ever if the Clan is to survive.

Thoughts: I wanted to rate this book higher. I really did. But I had so many problems with it, so many things that made me frustrated with the book that I really couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

For starters, this book feels very much like a filler book. Now, I’m normally all for large pieces of character development, and will often forgive that when it comes at the expense of action. But here? No. It wasn’t even character development. What was dragged out for a while book could have been accomplished in a quarter of another book, which made me think that this book has its place for no more reason than to pad this second Warriors series out to the same 6 books as the first series. And it really shows.

Brambleclaw is now distant from Squirrelflight. Squirrelflight, of course, blames Brambleclaw’s closeness to Hawkfrost, whose ambition and calculated moves I think we’re supposed to get a better feel for here, but since he shows up in one scene and doesn’t saw a word, that’s really hard to tell. Squirrelflight is a horribly unreliable narrator, and reading between the lines, it’s easy for anyone with eyes to see that Brambleclaw’s distance from her has nothing to do with the dark dreams he’s sharing with Hawkfrost and his dead father Tigerstar, and far more to do with the fact that Squirrelflight is treating him like crap and Ashfur is moving in on his territory, so to speak. And Squirrelflight’s temper often gets the better of her, so in spite of Brambleclaw being a senior warrior and acting as Clan deputy, she’ll often do the opposite of what Brambleclaw’s orders are, even when it means clearly going against the warrior code. She returns to being the same brat she was when she was an apprentice, and the amount of times this behaviour gets shown just gets annoying.

Leafpool, on the other hand, is torn between her duties as a medicine cat and her growing love for Crowfeather, something that’s denied all medicine cats. Crowfeather returns the affections, which seemed to me less like genuine love and more like rebound and the need for comfort after Feathertail’s death… and saving Leafpool from a similar situation to the one Feathertail died from in the first place. Again, this is all reading between the lines, but to not do so makes these characters all seem really flat and without subtlety and nuance, and I prefer to think that there’s more to a situation than what’s being explicity said on the book’s pages. Anyway, Leafpool spends so much time vacilating between, “I wanna, but I shouldn’t, but I wanna, but I shouldn’t,” that I got tired of it pretty quickly.

Ultimately, very little actually got accomplished here. Tigerstar shows up in the prologue and explains a little bit about kitty hell for the readers, and how he’s going to take revenge on Firestar through Hawkfrost and Brambleclaw (why not Tawnypelt, who actually left Thunderclan to join Shadowclan like her father? No reason, except that nobody’s mistrusts Tawnypelt on sight or has anything to lose by her turning on Firestar, so she’s just not important to the plot).Thunderclan takes in a rogue and her kits, Sorreltail gives birth, Cinderpelt dies. But those are the main important events in here that aren’t included in Leafpool’s great love affair and Squirrelflight’s annoyance with Brambleclaw.

See what I mean when I said this book could have been done as a quarter of another book and still not lost anything important?

The battle scene with the badgers was really what bumped this up a notch for me, even if it seemed a bit contrived. Especially Midnight showing up to warn them. But it was a good scene with a lot of legitimate tension and fear going through it, and as with many heavy action scenes in this series, it led to character death, which lent it a good chunk of emotion, too.

But ultimately, thisbook felt like little more than a waste of time, unnecessary padding, and something that should have been condensed and worked on more than it was. The love story was overblown, the betrayal wasn’t actually anything more than speculation, and aside from Cinderpelt’s death and the adoption of Daisy and her kits, it would be so very easy for a person to completely skip this book and not to lose anything from it.

I certainly hope the next one’s better.