A Vision of Shadows
|The Silent Thaw|
|Veil of Shadows|
|The Place of No Stars|
|A Light in the Mist|
|Average Rating:||No Finished Yet|
Series is still ongoing, final opinion pending.
The Broken Code - Super Editions and Novellas
Squirrelflight’s Hope did the unnecessary, and quite unfortunate, task of solidifying Bramblestar as being an abuser, who no longer can be my favorite character. This comes as quite the disappointment given that I was so excited to finally have another Squirrelflight POV book. Unfortunately, as with most stories about this character, it's marred by relationship pains and mellow drama that is gross and tiring.
I will offer some praise for the book, it was a quick read. Even though I experienced much dismay, I was never bored when reading this novel. I liked the Sisters as a concept, and once again thought it was good to see a group of cats living another way of life. I loved the scenes of Squirrelflight and Leafpool, and felt legitimately sad for them when they parted ways at the end of the book. I liked that justice didn’t save the day, and that the book served as a cautionary tale about impatience and disregard for others. But that’s where my praise ends.
The first sin of this book is the horrible state of Squirrelflight’s character. Gone is the independent and fiery spirit, replaced with a submissive and morose abuse victim. Much of this personality shift can be attributed to Bramblestar, who the Erins have doubled down on as being a toxic partner. It’s really hard to read chapters on chapters of Bramblestar disregarding Squirrelfight’s feelings, putting her down, patronizing her, ignoring her, and acting cruel on purpose. It feels wildly out of character that Bramblestar, who let kittypets hang out in Thunderclan during the flood, would now decide that the Sisters aren’t worth helping. It’s framed in a way where he is making this decision to spite Squirrelflight.
It’s so tiring that the only way the Erins write Squirrelflight and Bramblestar’s relationship is through the lens of drama. At this point in the series, why can’t this couple just be happy? Why does tension between them have to be a conflict yet again? If the Erins are so insistent that these two need to fight, they should split. It’s not healthy, and should not be spoon fed to children who read the ending as, “oh Bramblestar is nice now, so this was all fine.” It’s not.
Relationship drama aside, this book’s conflict is once again about moving Skyclan around. Territory disputes are starting to make less and less sense as the clans insist on unity with each other. Wouldn’t unity make more sense if they all shared borders? How do borders promote unity? These ideas are implicitly at odds with each other. For the conflict to work, Tigerstar has to yet again be wishy washy about his border concession. These books can’t seem to decide if Tigerstar is a young and heroic leader, or a troublemaker.
And do not get me started on the whole “council of StarClan assess your sins, but also look there’s Ashfur, Hollyleaf, Bluestar, and Yellowfang!”
Overall, Squirrelflight’s Hope was a depressing experience, and one I will not be revisiting anytime soon.
Graystripe’s Vow is a pleasantly unexpected story that sets itself apart from other Super Editions by not only having a poignant thesis on nostalgia, but by also balancing two interconnected plotlines taking place years apart.
Graystripe’s Vow feels like it is intended for the audience that grew up on the Prophecies Begin, and criticize anything that came after it. Graystripe, our elder main character, is one of the few living cats from that first arc, and is exhausted by modern Thunderclan. He longs for the old forest, so much so that he travels back to, despite knowing its been destroyed, to attempt to commune with StarClan at the Moonstone. Along the way, Graystripe constantly reflects on how much he misses Firestar, about his love of Feathertail and Stormfur, about Millie and Silverstream; yet his surviving kin in Modern Thunderclan are all but absent from his thoughts.
While this is taking place, the book also switches to “Then” chapters, chronicling the events of Graystripe’s temporary role as leader while Firestar left to find SkyClan. It’s an adventure in a younger time in the series within the old territories. Though, unfortunately, some characterizations are a little off, particularly Ashfur who is written to be much more antagonistic than he ever was at that point in the books.
The two plots intersect when the reader discovers that Gremlin, a cat Graystripe assisted during his time as Temporary Leader, had a son named Fang who needs Graystripe’s help in the modern timeline.
While the book does indulge in Graystripe’s nostalgia, it does not necessarily reward it. Graystripe makes it to the Moonstone, only for lightning to immediately destroy it. Graystripe has effectively abandoned his clan for his own self discovery, and to assist a few kittypets along the way. Even so, Warriorclan is absolutely adorable, and I hope we see more of them in the future.
Overall, this was a pleasant read, and, in a way, a metaphor for the hardcore Warrior fans. No matter how much we may want the series to return to its roots, those days are over, and yet we still continue to buy the new books - just like how Graystripe returned to Thunderclan.
Spotfur's Rebllion - Nice to see Spotfur's point of view, but pretty underdeveloped. It spends more time on her backstory, rather than the actually rebellion (probably because the "rebellion" in series is really boring). There was so much untapped potential for conflict between Spotfur and Bristlefrost, but Spotfur is waaaay too nice. It would have been cool to see mistrust and a jealousy towards Bristlefrost.
Daisy's Kin -A quiant little story about Daisy, and her role in Thunderclan. It's nice to see the novella spend time on a character's grief, since the main Broken Code series really doesn't. Although, it's still disapointing that almonst all of Daisy's kin has died, given she was a good opportunity to bring gene diversity into the Clan. Also, points for cute dad Alderheart.