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Warriors (novel series)

Warriors is a series of children's fantasy novels published by HarperCollins. Though the books are published under the pseudonym of Erin Hunter, writing alternate between authors Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and the newly-recruited Tui Sutherland, with plot ideas by storyline editor Victoria Holmes. The series follows the adventures of four clans (ThunderClan, ShadowClan, WindClan and RiverClan) of wild cats trying to survive in their forest homes. It currently consists of three miniseries, with a fourth announced, each containing six books. The first, Warriors, was published in 2003–2004, beginning with Into the Wild, and was followed by Warriors: The New Prophecy, published 2005–2006. The third, Warriors: Power of Three, has been underway since April 2007 and its fourth book, Eclipse, was released on September 2, 2008.

Other books have been released to supplement the main series, including an lengthier, individual book, titled Firestar's Quest, two field guides, and several volumes of original English-language manga, produced as a collaboration between HarperCollins and Tokyopop. The series has also been released for the Amazon Kindle and translated into several languages.

Publication history

The whole series originally came about when HarperCollins asked Hunter to write a story about lives or wild cats, which she was not happy about. Once the storyline for the first book was finished, Kate Cary wrote the story. Cherith Baldry was invited to write Forest of Secrets because of her storyskills and love of cats. Tui Sutherland has recently joined the group, formerly their US editor. Over time, the storyline stretched into what it is now. Victoria Holmes decided to use human issues, like starting at a new school (Rusty joining ThunderClan), falling in love when you shouldn't (Graystripe and Silverstream) and being bullied by someone who you should look up to (Ravenpaw being bullied by Tigerclaw) and even knowing a deep secret that you only tell your friends (Ravenpaw knowing about Tigerclaw's crimes). This helped her overlook the fact that it was a fantasy, and let the characters flow through. The authors wanted their books to be together on bookshelves, not spread out because of their different names. Because of this, they chose a pen name. The authors wanted their books to be close to the similar Redwall series by Brian Jacques, so their surname had to begin with an H, I, or K. "Hunter" w as chosen because it seemed to match cats, and "Erin" simply because Holmes liked it. Victoria Holmes makes up the storylines, which takes a month. Then Cary and Baldry take turns writing the book. Holmes then edits the book to make sure it is consistent. The first manuscript's editing takes about a week, while the second version takes longer. The third draft edits very quickly. However, Cary and Baldry have not had some time together privately.

Main series

Warriors

The first series follows the adventures of Rusty, a young house cat, who is taken into ThunderClan as an apprentice with the new name Firepaw--because his pelt is the color of fire. Also, the medicine cat at that time, Spottedleaf, received a prophecy from StarClan, the fallen spirits of all four clans' warrior ancestors, that fire alone would save the clan. When Fireheart finally proves Tigerclaw's treachery, he questions that maybe the prophecy is about him. As the series progresses, Firepaw becomes a warrior and receives yet another new name, Fireheart. As a warrior, Fireheart defends his Clan while trying to help the other Clans. He discovers a traitor in his Clan, Tigerclaw, who becomes the antagonist of the series. Centred around the prophecy that "Fire alone can save our Clan", (which really is prophesied about Fireheart) the series contains six books: Into the Wild, Fire and Ice, Forest of Secrets, Rising Storm, A Dangerous Path and The Darkest Hour.

Warriors: The New Prophecy

The second series, called Warriors: The New Prophecy, centres around seven cats from the four different Clans: the ThunderClan representative Brambleclaw, the ShadowClan representative Tawnypelt (Brambleclaw's sister), the WindClan representative Crowpaw (Crowfeather), and the RiverClan representative Feathertail, with Feathertail's brother, Stormfur, and the ThunderClan cat, Squirrelpaw (Squirrelflight), tagging along. Stormfur goes along because he believes he should always keep Feathertail safe, and Squirrelflight comes because she notices Brambleclaw leaving and promises to tell the clan if she cannot tag along. It also follows Leafpaw (Leafpool), Squirrelpaw's sister who is training to be a medicine cat. The books show insight into their lives as they fight to save their Clans and find a new home. They encounter Midnight the badger who can oddly speak like a cat, and sends the prophecy telling the cats to go to "the sun-down place". They first encounter the Tribe of Rushing Water, a group of cats similar and different from clans that live behind a waterfall. The first part of the series centres around the prophecy that "Darkness, Air, Water and Sky shall come together... And shake the forest to its roots", and the second centres around to prophecy that "Before there is peace, blood will spill blood and the lake will run red." The series was released from 2005–2006, and consists of six books: Midnight, Moonrise, Dawn, Starlight, Twilight, and Sunset.

Warriors: Power of Three

The third series, titled Warriors: Power of Three, follows three young cats named Hollypaw, Jaypaw, and Lionpaw, the grandchildren of both Firestar and Tigerstar and children of Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw. Jaypaw is blind, and is often looked upon differently by his Clan, but he discovers he has a unique power. He is currently training to be a medicine cat, while Lionpaw and Hollypaw are training to become warriors. Cinderpaw, a cat who experiences a leg injury from falling from a tree, is later told to Leafpool and Jaypaw to be Cinderpelt, given another chance to live the life she always wanted as a warrior. She does not know this, but experiences memories in her dreams from Cinderpelt. The series centres around the prophecy "There will be three, kin of your kin, who hold the power of the stars in their paws." Jaypaw finds he can walk into the dreams of others, read minds, and send out a mind-reading power as where he can sense the presence of others cats in a fairly large range. Hollyleaf finds that she is the most loyal of any cat to the warrior code, and would do anything to save it. Lionblaze realizes that he is an unstoppable on the battlefield, most notably in the battle of the Tribe's invaders and when he comes close to nearly killing Crowfeather in the battle of all four clans, where all the cats able to fight in the clans battle in four territories on Thunderclan land, in the camp, by the Windclan border, by the Shadowclan border, and by the lake. Riverclan soon joins into the battle, allying with Windclan. when Thunderclan realize they are outnumbered, Hollypaw(Hollyleaf) goes to the Shadowclan camp to seek aid. Hollypaw and Lionpaw eventually gain their warrior names - Hollyleaf and Lionblaze.

The first four books in the series, The Sight, Dark River, Outcast, and Eclipse, were published beginning in April 2007. The fifth book, Long Shadows, is expected to be released on November 25, 2008. The release date for the sixth book, Sunrise, is April 21.

Warriors: The Fourth Apprentice

It has been confirmed that there will be a fourth series of the main Warriors novels and that it will follow Firestar's kin.

Other Warriors books

Super Editions

Firestar's Quest, a larger-than-normal sized book, was released on August 21, 2007. It covers the year between The Darkest Hour and Midnight, and answers many questions as to what happened in between the books, such as Longtail's blindness, Willowpelt's death, and the birth of Leafpool and Squirrelflight. The plot follows Firestar and Sandstorm, who leave on a quest after Firestar receives messages from an ancient fifth Clan. This Clan, named SkyClan, was forced out of the forest by the other four Clans when the Twolegs built their houses over their camp. Firestar and Sandstorm then begin to restore SkyClan, as its ancient leader told Firestar to do.

Three other books are to be released under the Super Edition name. The first will centre around the life of former ThunderClan leader Bluestar before Firestar's arrival to the forest, the second will feature the modern-day SkyClan and the third will feature the early days of the Clans. Bluestar's Prophecy will be released August 2009, the Modern SkyClan Super Edition in 2010, and the Early Clan Days Super Edition in 2011.

Field Guides

Secrets of the Clans was the first field guide to be released for Warriors. This book gives more details about the Clans never written down in the books. Cats of the Clans, featuring illustrations of the cats, was released on June 24, 2008. Code of the Clans, expected to be released in 2009, is the next field guide.

OEL manga

Graystripe's Trilogy

There is a three volume original English-language manga series based on what happened to Graystripe between the time that he was taken by Twolegs in Dawn until he returned to ThunderClan in The Sight. It has been published as the first part of a partnership between TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins. The final volume was published on April 22, 2008.

The Rise of Scourge

The Rise of Scourge was released on June 24, 2008. It is a single volume and not part of a trilogy. The story follows Scourge, one of the antagonists of The Darkest Hour and the leader of BloodClan, centring around his early years and rise to power.

Tigerstar and Sasha's Trilogy

There is also a trilogy about Tigerstar and Sasha. The first volume is called Into the Woods and was released on September 2nd, 2008. The second volume, Escape From the Forest, is scheduled to be released December 23, 2008.

  • Book 1: Into the Woods
  • Book 2: Escape from the Forest
  • Book 3: Title Unknown

Ravenpaw's Trilogy

The third original English-language manga trilogy will focus on Ravenpaw after he leaves ThunderClan to live with Barley. This was confirmed in an AuthorTracker email.

Setting and characters

In the forest the cats call home, there are four Clans (ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan). Each Clan has a leader, given nine lives and the name of "star" by StarClan. StarClan is a group made up of the Clans' spiritual ancestors and gives guidance and even prophecies to the Clans. The leader appoints a deputy who will later succeed him or her as leader. Every Clan has a medicine cat, who communicates with StarClan and heals injured or sick cats. Most of Clan is made up of warriors, the cats who fight in battles and patrol the borders, while following the warrior code. Warriors train apprentices to become new warriors. Old or impaired warriors become elders. When a female warrior has kits, she becomes what is called a queen. Kits cannot become apprentices until they are six moons (months) old. The Clans each also have a Medicine Cat Apprentice, who is normally trained at six moons old to become a Medicine Cat. Medicine Cats gather every quarter moon to share dreams with StarClan at MoonStone (Forest home) or MoonPool (Lake home). The Clan rivalries do not apply to medicine cats, and they have peace with each other, and usually help each other. Medicine Cats can also be warriors who are fatally wounded or decide they want to be trained as Medicine Cats. This does not often happen, but it does, as in the case with one of ThunderClan`s former Medicine Cats, Cinderpelt.

The cats in the Clans also have a special naming system. When a kit is given its name, it will end in "kit." When a kit becomes an apprentice, during the ceremony, the leader will change the "kit" to "paw." When an apprentice becomes a Warrior, the leader, with the help of StarClan, chooses a permanent ending of the name. When a Deputy becomes a Leader, StarClan performs a ceremony, in which the new leader must travel to Highstones (Forest home) or the MoonPool to share dreams with StarClan. During the ceremony, the Leader receives nine lives from StarClan and the ending name of "star." An example of this is when Fireheart becomes Firestar in the first series. Any cat in the Clan has the right to become a Deputy, as long as it is a warrior and has had at least one apprentice.

The forest the cats live in is together with the world of humans. This allows interaction between the two species. One notable example of this is when humans, called "Twolegs" by the cats, began constructing a new road and new houses, the four Clans were forced to leave and find a new home. Beyond the Clans' territories lies a mountain range, inhabited by the Tribe of Rushing Water. The Tribe was shown to be similar to the Clans, yet it follows a different set of ancestors, the Tribe of Endless Hunting. In a town near the Clans' old home lived a vicious group of cats called BloodClan, led by a cat called Scourge. Also living in the surrounding area are cats without owners or Clans, known as loners, and house cats, called kittypets.

Critical reception

The first book of the series, Into the Wild, was generally received well, with reviewers calling it a "spine-tingling", "thoroughly engrossing and "exciting ... action-packed adventure." One reviewer praised the authors for "creating an intriguing world ... and an engaging young hero", but another criticised the characters and imagined world as being "neither ... consistent nor compelling."

The large number of characters involved in the series has been seen as a negative point; though one reviewer compared the "huge cast" to that of a Greek drama, others wrote it was "hard to follow" and "a little confusing". The characterization has also been criticised as "somewhat flat" and "limited essentially to each individual's function within the clan".

As one reviewer put it, the cats in the series are "true to their feline nature", leading some critics to jokingly comment that the books will "leave readers eyeing Puss a bit nervously" and "[wonder] what dreams of grandeur may haunt the family cat". However, this realism also means that the series contains a relatively large amount of violence, with one critic stating that it is "not for the faint of heart".

Several critics have compared Warriors to Brian Jacques' Redwall series, though one commented that it was "not as elegantly written". The New York Times called the series a "hit with young readers", specifically because of its "sprawling universe", and indeed, many of the books in the series have appeared on the newspaper's best-seller list.

Awards

Into the Wild was nominated for the 2006 YRCA Awards, but lost to Christopher Paolini's Eragon. The Sight was nominated as the best Middle Readers book at Amazon.com's Best Book of 2007, and placed sixth out of the ten nominees, with six percent of the total votes. The Sight was also nominated for the Children's Choice Book Awards.

Themes

One prominent theme featured in the novel is the reactions different faiths have when meeting each other. This was inspired by the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks. To show this, the Tribe of Rushing Water was introduced in Moonrise. In an author chat, Holmes explained that the books never say that the Clans or the Tribe of Rushing Water are right about faith, because both are "equally valid". This leads to fear and suspicion between them because they are afraid of things they don't understand. Holmes finally said that "Ignorance is a very scary thing!" Non-belief is also featured in the storylines. Another theme shown in the books shows how characters can be a mix of good and evil. Holmes has said she is fascinated by these "shades of gray" in personalities. Her example of this was when Bluestar, a "lovely" cat, gave up her kits for her ambition. A third major theme, called nature versus nurture, relates to whether a person is born the way he or she will be, or if other things shape that. This theme ties into the "shades of gray" theme. Other themes that have been pointed out include family, loss, honor, bravery and death, loyalty, and following rules.

Inspirations and influences

Authors

The authors have named several other authors as a source of inspiration when writing the novels. In an online author chat, Cherith Baldry, listed the authors that inspire her as including Tolkien, Ursula le Guin, and Shakespeare. In the same chat, Victoria Holmes stated that Jacqueline Wilson, Kathy Reichs and J. K. Rowling are some of the authors that inspire her. Currently, she is also working on a new series called "Seekers". It is in close relation to Warriors in terms of format but it is not affiliated.

Other

There are some other influencing factors in the series. New Forest, a forest in southern England, became the base for the forest where the story took place. Other influencing locations include Scottish Highlands and the Forest of Dean. Nicholas Culpeper, a physician who used materials occurred in the natural world, has also had an influence on the Warriors series. His book, Culpeper's Herbal, is used as a source by the authors for the herbal remedies that the cats use in the books.

Editions

Other formats

All of the Warriors books in the main series have been published as a hardcover, and several have been published as paperbacks. The manga volumes have only been released as paperbacks, while all other new releases are hardcover. Starlight, Twilight, and Sunset are in an audiobook format, spoken by Nanette Savard, whose performance has been praised. It is unknown if any other Warriors books will be available in audiobook format. The books in the main series have also been released in an eBook format.

Foreign editions

The Warriors books were first published in USA, then the United Kingdom. Warriors is also sold in New Zealand and in Australia. Translations from English into other languages have been published more recently. Translations for languages such as Czech, Lithuanian, and Japanese have appeared, as well as French, Russian, and Korean. The Korean publisher, Kim-yeoung-sa, has only published the first six books. Fandom even exists in Trinidad and Singapore.

Other media

Movie

There are currently no planned Warriors movies, however, in a recent author chat, Victoria Holmes said:

Hey, it’s the movie question! Well, we are in talks with a major Hollywood production company at the moment, but it’s the earliest possible stage, so there’s no script yet, or any plans for a release date. Things are looking much more hopeful than they were a year ago, but I can’t say there will DEFINITELY be a movie, nor can I tell you when it would come out. Sorry! But I promise I’ll keep you all posted if I get any more news.

Later in the chat, Holmes stated:

Which animation studio is working on the Warriors movie/s? We’re not at this stage yet, I’m afraid. We’ve got some big producers who are very interested in taking the project forward (la-speak!), and we may have a director who’s willing to work on a script, but we’re nowhere near finding an animation team or starting production. Sorry!

Promotions

HarperCollins created a video. It was made available on the Warriors website. A Warriors screen saver, E-cards, and messages are also available on the website.

Short story

A short story called "Spottedleaf's Honest Answer" was released on the Reading Warriors website. It is about Spottedleaf talking about her love for Firestar. It gives information on what has happened in the Warriors series from Into the Wild to Firestar's Quest.

Play

Written by Victoria Holmes for a tour, a play entitled After Sunset: We Need to Talk was first premiered on April 28, 2007 at the Secret Garden bookstore in Seattle, Washington. It details a meeting between Leafpool of ThunderClan and Crowfeather of WindClan after the events of Sunset. The script was released to the public at the official site for the Warriors series.

References

External links

fr: La Guerre des clans (roman)

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