Monday, July 5, 2010

Those warrior cats

Okay, dear reader, so here's the first blog entry after my long hiatus from blogging. And I decided to write a review about cats. Yes, those feline creatures who refuse to be given baths and nail trimmings. I've never been a cat person, and I guess I never will be. I love dogs too much. I love how fiercely loyal they are. I love that they like to cuddle up next to you. With cats, you just don't know where you stand. I can never imagine getting a cat for a pet. It's just too... creepy. When you look at their eyes, somehow I can feel that they can see my soul.

So I decided to pick up the first book of Erin Hunter's young adult series Warriors. The first installment is titled Into the Wild. The author is a known cat lover, so if I want to know more about these mysterious mammals, I might as well sample her works even though they are fiction. Besides, how can I say no to this book when the first image that came up when I googled cats was this, which I took as something ominous:

Into the Wild is about Rusty, a pet cat who decides to leave the comforts of living with people (who are known in the novel as Twolegs) in favor of being with the cats in the wild. The premise may sound simple, but Hunter provides another dimension to these cats -- how they interact with other cats in the great outdoors. You see, in the world of the Warriors series, a wild cat belongs to one of the four clans. ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, and WindClan. Each clan presides over a territory where they can freely hunt their prey.

So Rusty is taken in by the ThunderClan and takes the name Firepaw as a warrior apprentice. Now this is where things get iffy/predictable for me. Of course, I expected Firepaw to prove himself as a worthy member of the Clan despite being an outsider. Also, I was counting the pages as to when he will have the leader of the Clan as his mentor. And yes, all these happened as I expected.

Yes, there are stereotypes in this novel. Firepaw is an outsider who makes a name for himself even while an apprentice. The clans are headed by cats who are imposing, very stately, and tres wise. The clan rulers have deputies who seem to be dubious characters. We've read, heard, and seen these all before. Top of my head, I can think of Star Wars.

Nevertheless, Into the Wild is a fun read. Hunter has written a very engaging YA novel, something that appeals to people who love these furry creatures. While there are no distinct fantastic/magical elements in this book, one can consider Into the Wild a fantasy novel. (Hello, talking cats?!) These cats are magical in themselves. The way they interact with their fellow clan members is fascinating. Who knew that cats can be political? Hehe.

Into the Wild is a good way to start this series. It's not spectacular, but it works. Hunter has even included a teaser storyline for the next book. And I love how the author developed her characters. These aren't your cute cats you see napping under the sun; Hunter's cats are true predators -- they kill not just mice and other small prey, but other enemy cats as well.

Read this book if:
  1. You love cats.
  2. You feel you've never really belonged in a club.
  3. You love YA chapter books.


Anonymous said...

"I can never imagine getting a cat for a pet. It's just too... creepy."

Ha, Ha! My sentiments exactly. Dogs I like and understand.

What I like about YA books is that they have churned out so many interesting story concepts. This Warriors sounds like a good one to recommend to the teenagers in my family.

Tina said...

Comments on the cats thing first- we have two, both rescue cats who are FIV positive (sorta like human HIV. One of them, a 15 pounder aptly named Bruiser, wants nothing more than to be loved. A lap sitter, he takes pills and baths without a struggle, and when I pick up the nail clipper, he holds out his paw as if he's in the nail salon! We've had cats and dogs, and this is the most lover like of any of them.

Now...the book sounds delightful. I've been looking at appropriate YA reading as my grandchild segues into something more than Junie B Jones, and particularly like ones that are part of a series. I must go find this one...sounds like one I'd even enjoy myself. Thanks for finding it for us.

Vivienne said...

Cats are lovely companions. I wouldn't be without mine. I would love this book.

Mirek Sopek said...

Cats are animal philosophers - they ponder on the essence of being ....

Jeane said...

Hm, I'm on the opposite side of the fence. I like cats because they're more independent, not so... needy for attention. I tried this series once, but it felt a bit too predictable for me. I guess I just kept comparing it to Tad William's book Tailchaser's Song which I loved, and it just couldn't stand up to the comparison.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Not a fan of cats but glad to see you back! :)

I am however giggling a bit about "Light Sabar Star Wars Kitty"

SariJ said...

Welcome back Peter, I missed you.
I have to read a YA this month for a challenge. This may be the book for me.
Thanks for the review.
PS Not much of a cat lover either, but after our beloved dog died my son brought home two cats; we get along okay, but I think they would rather join a clan.