Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Dangerous Path (Warriors #5) by Erin Hunter


*** WARNING: This review contains spoilers!!! ***

In many ways, the two halves of this book felt like 2 different books entirely. I spent the first half of the book feeling frustrated and infuriated at the inexplicable complications being contrived. Tigerclaw is a murderous traitor roaming the forest, and ThunderClan does not think that information is worth sharing with the other clans? Not even with RiverClan, when Tigerclaw helped cause Graypool's death? Then, StarClan blesses Tigerclaw's leadership of ShadowClan?!? Why would StarClan approve of someone who had so blatantly violated the warrior code?!?!

Even though the series is, of course, focused on cats, it didn't sit right with me that dogs were characterized as a cave-dwelling, barbarous, unevolved species that could only grunt single instinct-related words. I'm not a huge pet lover or anything, but still I was put off by the distinct contrast in the way dogs and cats were represented.

I was also bothered by the continual fretting over kits who had parents in another clan. In this book, we had three sets of kits who were separated from one parent's clan: those of Bluestar, Graystripe, and Tigerstar. It seemed like a pretty common occurrence that didn't deserve the stigma it carried. Also, it seemed strange that none of the cats involved reached out to the others for support. Like Bluestar could have bonded with Graystripe, Mistyfoot and Stonefur could have taken Graystripe's kits under their wings, and Graystripe could have sympathized with Tigerstar's kits. And the sexism! Bluestar could not be both a parent and a leader (which led to their separation in the first place), yet no one bat an eye at the idea of Tigerstar having kits, even when he became a leader.

Also, I didn't understand why such a big deal was made out of ThunderClan being hugely indebted to RiverClan for helping them during the fire. Didn't ThunderClan perform an equal service when they helped RiverClan during the river flood? Each saved the other from a natural disaster. You'd think they'd consider themselves even.

Bluestar's mental decline was just a bit too much to take - what a long way to fall for such a noble leader! And I really didn't get why killing the lead dog would automatically negate the threat of dogs in the forest. When a clan leader died, another took over. Why wouldn't another dog step up as leader of the pack, and seek revenge on the cats?

Well. With all those complaints, I thought I'd end up giving this book only 2 stars. But, really, I have to admit, the second half of the book was quite exciting, lots of action and surprises, and I really did enjoy the book more and more as the book progressed. By the end, I thought maybe it was a 4-star book, so I comprised and went with 3 stars.

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