Monday, October 20, 2014

Fire and Ice (Warriors #2) by Erin Hunter


In this installment, we follow Fireheart as he takes on new responsibilities as a warrior of ThunderClan.

Fireheart continues to find himself in the middle of all kinds of action. Along with his courage and intellect, Fireheart is characterized by his generous nature and his willingness to help others. With Fireheart now acting as a mentor, we get a good lesson in the importance of not allowing eagerness to turn into foolhardiness, though it was a little disappointing to see this lesson laid out twice in the same book, with two cats exhibiting the same behavior.

As Fireheart struggles to be accepted as a full member of the clan - some cats still hold his kittypet roots against him - he finds that clan life is not entirely satisfactory. The other cats share a bond of kinship, and having been born outside the clan, Fireheart feels like an outsider. It was good to see Fireheart exploring his conflicted emotions, but I wondered why he never confided in Yellowfang, who was also not born into ThunderClan. Also, with all the added talk about kin and kits in this book, it didn't make sense that none of the other young cats - like Graystripe, Sandpaw, or Dustpaw - had any kind of relationship with their mothers. Who were their mothers, anyway?

I also thought it was kind of strange that in this book, it became apparent that grown cats aren't supposed to play. At one point, Graystripe played briefly with a leaf, but then he felt guilty for doing so. That seemed weird to me. Apparently, clan cats are supposed to be serious and strong, but aren't they ultimately still cats? I don't know much about cats, but I always figured they were keen on playing.

The mystery surrounding Tigerclaw took something of a backseat in this book, but the questions continued to linger. He actually struck me as something of a Professor Snape character! Fireheart (like Harry Potter) has seemingly strong evidence that Tigerclaw (like Professor Snape) is evil. When he presents his evidence to Bluestar, however, she (like Dumbledore) re-affirms her faith in her trusted deputy. Is Tigerclaw really up to no good? Or has Fireheart completely misinterpreted all the evidence, and Tigerclaw is actually loyal to ThunderClan after all? I'll just have to keep reading to find out!

Before I sign off, though, I want to mention a couple more things that didn't sit right with me in this book. First, in the beginning, it seemed that the Twolegs who made a brief appearance were homeless drunkards! They slept out in the open under a road overpass, it sounded like they threw a glass bottle, and the cats reported that they "can hardly stand"! I know Twolegs aren't exactly looked upon positively in this series, but this portrayal made humans out to be downright vulgar.

And finally, very early on, I was put off by an egregious editing oversight. On page 12, we learn that "Redtail had been the ThunderClan deputy before Tigerclaw. Fireheart had never met him, but he knew Redtail had been deeply respected by all the clan." A mere 6 pages later, on page 18, we again read that "Redtail had been the ThunderClan deputy before Lionheart. Fireheart had never met him, but he knew Redtail had been deeply respected by all the clan." I know editing mistakes happen, but that one seemed particularly bad.

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