by Erin Hunter
Source: I received this book from a student
Let me begin by saying that it’s not every day that one of my students not only recommends a book to me, but puts it into my hands and tells me that I should really read it so I can understand what they’re talking about more. Okay, point taken. Warriors it is.
Within the Warriors series, there are a few “sub-series.” Dawn of the Clans is the prequel--the beginning of it all. It shows how this group of cats traveled down from high mountains, seeking new territory and finding their place in a new land. We follow Gray Wing as he struggles with the idea of leaving the only home he’s ever known in order to find a place with enough prey to sustain a tribe of cats. As the cats travel down their mountain, they encounter many dangers, some of which take the lives of their friends and family. Gray Wing and his litter mate, Clear Sky, struggle with loss and their relationship with one another as they travel and finally arrive in a place that seems peaceful and like it could be called home.
I can see how animal lovers, especially cat lovers, would really enjoy this book. The cats have their own lives, relationships, feelings, families, and loyalties. They converse with one another, are angry at one another, and have rifts that at times tear them apart. It seems like this is what should bring this story together and help create characters out of these animals, however it falls short. Not only are there so many cats (enough that I was often confused at which cat I was reading about), but their interactions with one another are somewhat contrived. For example, when Clear Sky’s mate dies tragically, Gray Wing blames himself because he was with her. He cannot speak with Clear Sky because he feels so guilty. It’s obvious that Clear Sky is upset. When they finally do speak, surprise! Clear Sky blames himself and never even thought of blaming his brother. There are a number of instances like this that make it difficult to read.
With all of this being said, I have to remind myself that this is written with a younger audience in mind. My students love this series, like I said before. I, on the other hand, am not as thrilled with it. The dialogue is often unbelievable (perhaps because cats don’t speak in reality) and it seemed like the story just repeated itself. They hunt, they eat, they walk. They hunt, they eat, they walk. There was an awful lot of description of the hunting and what they ate, which makes sense because what else does a cat do? In between the hunting and eating and walking there were episodes of suspense and fighting or running for their lives. There are times of discovery and awe as the cats see something for the very first time. There are even times of discussion among the cats, although those were mostly during hunting or eating or walking.
My suggestion is to skip this book, unless you are a kid who loves cats. In that case, you’ll probably love this book and hearing about all the crazy cat things they do. You might even compare them to your own cat.