Any avid reader will tell you that there is no shame in reading books that are technically below your age level. A good story is a good story regardless of how simply it is told.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m not embarrassed to admit that I still re-read the Warriors series to this day.
What is the Warriors series, you might ask.
I’d like to tell you that it’s a young adult series about epic soldiers who fight glorious battles in space, you know, something that would make me sound like I have really good taste in children’s literature.
But it’s actually about cats.
The Warriors series is written by Erin Hunter, and it’s about a large group of cats that live in the forest. These stray cats have separated themselves into four Clans, and each Clan lives by a set of noble rules called the Warrior Code. Each Clan also has their own territory which they guard against other Clans or even rogue cats, dogs, or badgers. The series follows the life of a young house cat named Firepaw who joins ThunderClan and learns the ways of the forest.
This might sound terribly lame, but I can’t help getting engrossed in the action-packed lives of these cats.
I was first introduced to the series by my friend Mia. My sister, Mia, and I were hanging out in the local high school’s gym because her father was there coaching the girls’ basketball team. We were slightly bored, and since all three of us were the reading types, we had brought books to entertain ourselves with. Mia showed me the cover of hers, which showed snarling cats clawing at each other, and I immediately knew this would be the kind of story I could love.
And I was not wrong.
The Warriors series is an epic saga of small proportions. If you’ve ever read anything by Brian Jacques, like Redwall or Marlfox, you will have a clearer understanding about what I’m talking about. Seeing a story from an animal’s perspective but coupled with human emotions makes for a powerful experience. Plus, the kinds of verbs you can use when describing an animal’s actions are diverse and interesting. Why “speak” when you can “mew,” “yowl,” or “hiss?”
However, unlike Jacques’ work, the Warriors series is more clearly geared toward kids. The books are less dense as a result. But that doesn’t stop them from covering harrowing experiences. Vicious wounds are inflicted on the cats by dogs, rats, badgers, snakes, and other cats, and no details are spared.
Mia and I once made a list of all the cats who ever died in the series, and the list is quite hefty. I doubt a Warriors book has gone by where a cat does not perish.
It touches upon morality as well, presenting children with ideas like responsibility for others’ safety, loyalty to family and friends, and commitment to your duty above all else.
Pretty heavy stuff for a book about cats, am I right?
The books themselves are a short read, so if you want to give one of them a try, it shouldn’t take you long.
Be warned though! These books can suck you in, and there are quite a few books in the series now. If you pick up one at the book store, the next thing you know, you’ll be spending all your money completing the series.
For those of you who have read the series (I wonder how many of you there are), my favorite character is Leafpool, my favorite Clan is RiverClan, and I think Tigerclaw was one of the greatest villains of all time.