Dawn of the Clans
|The Sun Trail|
|The First Battle|
|The Blazing Star|
|A Forest Divided|
|Path of Stars|
I was apprehensive to begin reading Dawn of the Clans. Despite being disconnected from the main series, and theoretically accessible at any point, I feared that these six books would be a slog of references and exploring the nuances of each aspect of the Warrior code.
Thankfully, it was far from that.
Dawn of the Clans is a breath of fresh air, and honestly so different from Modern Warriors that on some level it’s hard to understand how this world, and the world the reader encounters in The Prophecies Begin, are even connected. The cats in these books are cooperative with one another, disavowing borders after the first major conflict. The lessons they learn require the cats to trust one another, and work together to ensure their survival. Practically every character has kin in another clan, and that is perfectly acceptable. The only cat who really tests this arrangement is Clear Sky, one of the most interesting villains Warriors presents.
Clear Sky, brother of the main point of view character Gray Wing, goes from being an excited idealist, to a distrustful brute willing to betray those he grew up with, to a softer cat who has learned the errors of his ways. I love that Clear Sky is the brother of our main protagonist, the father of our second point of view character, Thunder, and then a point of view character himself. Clear Sky’s villany is a subversion in itself because his maliciousness partially stems from enforcing borders and keeping the clans separate - something which is completely normal for the modern clans. He takes his unlikability even farther when he disowns his mate, her own surviving kit Thunder (twice), and ambushes Gray Wing’s group with the intent to kill. It would have been so easy to write Clear Sky as the main villain who needed to go down in the third book, yet instead, he’s allowed to change and grow. He’s not perfect, and I really don’t think I like him as an individual, but he was so interesting to follow. It’s also refreshing to see that Thunder never truly moves on from Clear Sky’s abuse, and can’t completely forgive him, even when he’s changed.
Gray Wing and Thunder themselves are also compelling points of view. Gray Wing is a gentle cat seeking harmony, but is hampered by his deteriorating health after inhaling too much smoke in a forest fire. Thunder grows from a bright eyed kit, to a self assured leader who forms Thunderclan. Wind Runner, Tall Shadow, and River Ripple all serve as compelling side characters with stories of their own.
However, as good as Dawn of the Clans is, it feels like some sort of connection is missing. Indeed, Path of Stars ends with many loose threads that need the Super Edition, Moth Flight’s vision, to tie them up. And while refreshing to see borders being frowned upon, it still sends a message that conflicts with the modern Warriors arcs. Should the clans return to their origins and rid themselves of borders? Where did they come from? Why did Star Clan allow them? Many questions do not receive a satisfactory answer.
That aside, the core story of Dawn of the Clans is unique and interesting. While it had a rocky start, the series captures drama unexplored in the main series. Breaking away from pre-established norms, and getting attached to new points of view was a great move, and I hope to see more stories in this era.
Dawn of the Clans - Super Editions and Novellas
|Moth Flight's Vision|
A much needed story to tie up Dawn of the Clans, Moth Flight’s vision explains the establishment of Medicine Cats and Nine Lives. Moth Flight is a compelling main character, misunderstood by her clanmates, and destined to bring healing to others. I was hoping Medicine Cats would develop more naturally rather than being a mandate from Star Clan, but as is, it’s a fine story.
I loved the relationship between Moth Flight and Micah. I knew this book would have an element of forbidden romance, but I did not predict he’d be a medicine cat, nor that he’d die prematurely. Micah and Moth Flight have a genuine and supportive relationship that takes a few chapters to develop, and it does hurt when he dies.
That being said, it was beyond frustrating when, in the last few chapters, Moth Flight decides that having kits and being a medicine cat is impossible for her, and sends her kin away. Her decision is supported by Star Clan, and is mandated as a rule: Medicine Cats may not have mates or kits. This a widely disliked rule by fans and for good reason. Moth Flight IS able to do her job and have kits, she just needs extra help. It was completely doable, yet thrown in as a nonexistent conflict at the very end.
Speaking of confusing conflicts, it appears that Clear Sky completely regressed in his development. He’s once again curel, border hungry, and refuses to let medicine cats cross his territory to save their clanmates. It seemed he had moved past this in Path of Stars, but clearly he will not change, which makes it all the more perplexing that he is allowed to become Skystar.
Thunderstar's Echo - A bit on the boring side, but fine overall. Thunderstar gains a bit of confidence, but it’s unfortunate to see a likable character like Lighting Tail get axed.
Shadowstar's Life - Overall good story, I liked Shadowstar as pov character, and the murder mystery element. Although, it was slightly annoying that Sun Shadow and Shadowstar die in the exact same why that Thunderstar and Lightning Tail died in Thunderstar’s Echo (dog attack).