Thursday, October 23, 2014

Forest of Secrets (Warriors #3) by Erin Hunter


I was really conflicted about what to rate this book. On the one hand, I was riveted! As the title suggests, this book is just chock full of secrets! In some cases, enough hints were dropped so that the reader could feel self-congratulatory for figuring something out. But, there were also a couple of unexpected twists that did surprise me. Developments happened at a pretty good clip, and there was just the right amount of suspense between action-packed battles.

So even though I was thoroughly entertained by this book, I just couldn't give it a full 5 stars. I felt the first two books were appropriate for kids in the upper elementary grades (e.g., grades 3-5), but the content of this book seemed to fall squarely in the middle school camp. In fact, Amazon lists the first two books as appropriate for grades 3-7, but this third book is labeled for grades 5-7! It seems a bit much to expect a third grader to read the first two books, and then wait a couple years before finishing the series. Especially since Amazon has books #4-6 of the series going back to listing grades 3-7 as the target audience!

Anyway, here are the concerns I had. There was a bit of romantic drama involving queens having kits and who fathered whose kits, though I have to say, the book skirted the issue of mating pretty effectively. There's also a whole lot of violence, including a crippling injury, murder, attempted murder, and treachery. Not to mention a death of a sad and sensitive nature. I don't think the events of this book would fly as a children's book if the characters were all humans - but I guess that's the point, right? They're cats. I guess by making up a fantasy world of talking cats, you can get away with more than you could with actual people.

It's an interesting question, though. Why am I okay allowing my 3rd grade daughter to read about anthropomorphized cats killing other anthropomorphized cats, when I certainly would not want her to read a book about people killing people? I guess the whole point of creating fantasy worlds is to open up the realms of possibility.

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