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Kids are pretty savvy when it comes to discovering books that fill a particular need. At the library where I work, I'd seen them taking out this "Warriors" series by Erin Hunter fairly regularly. For some reason it's near impossible to keep these puppies on the shelves. Curiosity got ahold of me, so I decided to sit down and read through the first of these somewhat odd stories. I would never have been able to guess that the secret lives of cats would be so interesting to children. Housecats, definitely not. But when it comes to the lives and loyalties of the feral variety, Hunter's definitely tapped into a rich resource of text.

Rusty has a fairly good life. He lives with a family of humans (or Two-legs) that love him. He gets regular feedings, even if it's yucky dry stuff. He even has his own little cat door to come in and out of. Rusty isn't content, however. He dreams of catching mice in the forest not far from his home. When a night's exploration of that forest ends with a confrontation with the wild cats that live without human interference, Rusty readily joins them and their clan. Renamed "Firepaw", the cat learns that he has dropped smack dab into the middle of a war. The clan he has joined is called ThunderClan and is ruled by the magnanimous Bluestar. Other clans like RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan fight continually for dominance over a rapidly dwindling food supply. ThunderClan needs recruits like Firepaw to stay alive, and through their training the new cat is on his way to becoming a warrior. Along the way he must face hunger, dismissal, and learn some shocking truths about the animals he's agreed to join.

Hunter conjures up a well-thought out world in which cats have their own system of governance. This is a kind of "Watership Down", but with drawn out fighting sequences. The cats here act like cats. They don't put on vests and waistcoats and discuss philosophy. They don't stand on their hind legs or use their paws like fingers. These are real animals. For the sake of keeping them alive, Hunter does create a kind of Medicine Cat for each clan, who rubs natural herbs into wounds. That's about as technically adept as these kitties get. At the beginning of the book, the author presents us with two maps of the area where this book takes place. A cat-view map lists everything in their terms. A second human-view map makes it clear where exactly the cats actually are.

This is not to say that the book isn't downright silly at times. Hunter loves giving these cats somewhat repetitive names like Nightpelt, Smallear, and Longtail. One cat, Lionheart, has the same name as a carebear from the 1980s. Poor planning on Hunter's part. She also falls into a classic children's literature trap. You know that when the main character has a vital piece of information that he should give someone as soon as possible and he says something along the lines of, "Oh good! Now I can tell this person this vital piece of information", that something's going to come up to prevent him. In this case, Firepaw is given to understand that a friend of his may be killed almost immediately. So does he immediately go out and tell the clan's wise leader? Heck no! He's given TWO chances to do so and each time he keeps quiet for obscure plot-centric reasons. That's really the kind of book that this is. It's fun to read, exciting, and with a new meticulously thought out world. It's also rather predictable.

If you've a kid who's a fan of the "Redwall" series but is more interested in animals that don't wear clothing, this is the book for you. Both boys and girls check it out at a fast and furious rate. It's one of the few series out there that both sexes enjoy fully. A better written book than all the "Magic Treehouse" and "Droon" series out there combined but still less good than, say, Avi's, "Poppy" books or "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH".
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on December 16, 2005
My 9-year-old started the first book in the series a couple of months ago, and now she's read all of them at least once. She gets up in the morning and reads Warrior books instead of getting ready for school. She comes home and reads them instead of doing homework. She reads them at night instead of helping clean up dishes. She has organized her friends into clans. They have clan meetings and put clan marks all over the things in our back yard.

I've read the first couple of the books, starting with Into the Wild, and I can see why she loves them. The characters are so well drawn that you feel like you really know them. They face real moral dilemmas and behave in complex ways. Erin Hunter does not talk down to her readers. There's humor but no silliness. Very good books.

My daughter is in fourth grade, but she reads at sixth grade level. The reading level of these books is like 5.5 or 6.0. Great for anyone 5th grade or higher, and for the advanced 4th grader.
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on November 7, 2006
INTO THE WILD is the first volume of a large series of books in which writer Erin Hunter has conjured up an amazing world of feral cat tribes which struggle for survival literally right outside your own backyard!

The saga begins here with Rusty, a domestic cat (or as wild cats call them, "kittypets") who longs to be out on his own, free, eating what he kills, sleeping where he wants. One night, while exploring the nearby woods, he encounters members of ThunderClan, one of four feline tribes that struggle with each other for dominance of the area. Treated with contempt and hostility in the beginning, Rusty proves himself by fighting for ThunderClan in their war against the aggressive ShadowClan. Renamed Firepaw, he is accepted into the tribe to become one of their fiercest warriors.

This action-packed but intelligent book and subsequent volumes have delighted children, fantasy readers and cat lovers of all ages.
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on April 19, 2006
Everybody should buy this adventurous book Into the Wild. This book is about cats fighting for survival. These cats follow a law of a clan named Starclan. Starclan is practically heaven but with no God only cats. A cat named Rusty lives with people, or Twolegs, and that makes him a kittypet. Rusty goes into the woods and joins a clan named Thunderclan. He is supposed to promise to protect his clan with his life. He makes new friends and finds out treacherous secrets that only he can reveal. He gets a new name from his clan and before he came the clans medicine cat had a vision that only fire can save the clan. Rusty is worried but will be ready when war comes to his clan.
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on February 19, 2004
This is one of the most exceptional books I have ever read. The tale begins with a regular housecat "kittypet" named Rusty who ventures beyond his Twolegs' home and finds himself in the territory of the ferocious Thunderclan cats. Then he realizes that he has a chance to know more freedom than he has ever known. After defeating a seasoned warrior, Longtail, the clan's leader, Bluestar, grants him permission to be an apprentice in their camp. And so starts the adventure. Rusty, now Firepaw, along with his friends Graypaw and Ravenpaw venture out and trie to impress their gaurdians by catching fresh-kill and patrolling against the sly Shadowclan cats and eventually discovering a few secrets of them own such as the mysterious death of thunderclan deputy Redtail. This is a MUST READ book. To find out what happens next to Firepaw or Fireheart now, read the next books in the series, Fire and Ice, Forest of Secrets, and Rising Storm.
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on February 24, 2005
I liked Warriors: Into the Wild because it was different than I thought it would be. It was about a cat named Firepaw who ventures into the wild and leaves his safe, warm home to join a clan of wild cats. I also liked it because the cats act just like people. They have a leader, they go to the cat doctor, and they can join the cat army. Another reason I liked this book was because it didn't end how I expected. I would recommend this book to kids who like to read adventure stories or animal stories.
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on November 11, 2004
This is one of the best books I have ever read.It revolves around the life of a normal house cat named Rusty, who hears the call of the wild and answers.Accepted into the Thunder Clan to train as a warrior,Firepaw(Rusty's new apprentice name)learns to obey the warrior code-a set of rules laid down by the antient clans that once ruled the forest.To prove that he is not just a "kittypet",must work hard to stay loyal to his new clan;and prove that the best warriors don't have to be clanborn to have the heart of a clan cat.
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on June 5, 2006
Looking for a great read? If you are, then this is the book for you. Warriors, by Erin Hunter, is a great book. Hunter has made this book worth reading by writing an amazing animal fiction story. This book is an amazing story about cats and has a great plot.

For generations, four Clans (ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, and WindClan) have lived by a Warrior Code set down by their ancestors. The Code had not been broken until now. ShadowClan is forcing other Clans out of their territories and is increasing their hunting grounds. But when an adventurous young kitty-pet wanders into the forest, he meets the ThunderClan leader, Bluestar, and joins, leaving his old life behind. The kitty-pet's name is Rusty. The Clan is suffering and Bluestar needs all of the apprentices she can have. With Blustar ans his new mentor, Rusty is trained for battle against the menacing ShadowClan. Many mysterious deaths are ovvurring and spies sleep and eat inside the camp. ThunderClan needs help and only Fire alone can save them.

I love this book because I adore animals. This story has an enticing plot and should be read by by any animal or cat lovers. I read this book because I has no book to read and in the animal fiction setion of the class library this book popped out of the shelves like it was meant to be read. I love this book and am now currently reading the second book in the series. If you come upon this book ever, pick it up and I am sure you will never want it to end!
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on March 18, 2003
This is possibly one of the best books of all time (which I almost dare not say because of my faithfulness to the Animorphs series [which I also very highly recommend]). This action-packed tale is full of suspense and a must have for cat lovers. The author gives an idea of what might actually go on in our cat's mind and shows how complicated cats really are.
Here's the basic plot: There are four clans of wild cats that rule the forest, following laws laid down by their great ancestors. Anyone who disobeys these laws is punished. But humans are moving in, and prey is becoming scarce, so some clans are desperate enough to break one of the top laws, and are hunting in other clans' territories. Battles pursue and thus warriors now are becoming as scarce as the prey. One clan, the Thunderclan, is so desperate that they take in a "kittypet," a cat raised by humans. Rusty, a young kitten, shows the skills needed to be a warrior, and is invited into the clan with the new name of Firepaw, even though some are not sure of his worth. More problems arise, and the story continues with several questions running through your head, one of which is this: Will Rusty prove his worth as a warrior, or be forbidden to forever live as a "kittypet"?
This tale never quits surprising you. It's so good that as soon as I started reading it, I couldn't put it down, and thus finished the 272 paged book in half of a day (not that I'm saying it's too easy and is a kiddy book, it surely isn't, I'm ten in an advanced students program, TAG, and I enjoyed it and would recommend it to kids ranging from a smart 9 year old to a 12 year old, or even older). I can't wait to get the next one! I hope you liked my review, and enjoy the book!
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on August 5, 2005
My eleven year old daughter has been going through this series with a loyalty unmatched so far by other titles. When Harry Potter's last book was released she asked for the next Warriors book. I have not read the books but she tells me about the different cat tribes and their adventures. She laughs out loud, she gets worried, but most importantly she is loving reading these books.
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