Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yellowfang's Secret (Warriors Super Edition #5) by Erin Hunter


*** Warning: This review contains spoilers!!! ***

Maybe as a standalone book, this one would have been 3 stars. But in comparison with the original Warriors series, I felt I had to lower its rating relative to the other books in the series.

Fans of the Warriors series will know who Yellowfang is, and this book follows her life from the time she was a kit up until the point at which we first met her in the series, when she meets Firepaw. You don't need to have read the Warriors series to enjoy this book, as it introduces clan life assuming the reader does not have any prior knowledge of it. In that way, I actually felt the book had a slow start, as I was already well-versed in the ways of the clans.

Overall, this book has a more mature feel to it. Even though it's about talking cats, it seems like the target audience ought to be upper elementary school kids, or even middle schoolers. We have a fatherless kit who struggled with feelings of abandonment. Clan cats are pitted against kittypets, and the prejudice runs in both directions as neither group understands or accepts the other - except for a select few. There is an outright vengeful murder of passion, plus a lot of meaningless deaths later on. Yellowfang makes one difficult decision after another, and suffers painful consequences.

Mostly, I didn't know what to make of Yellowfang's pregnancy. On the one hand, she abandoned her kit, even knowing how much being abandoned affected Raggedstar as a kit. On the other hand, she was trying to do the "right thing" in terms of being disciplined and loyal and following the warrior code. Her dreams from StarClan seemed to indicate that there was no possible way to divert the evil for which Brokentail was destined - so is there no free choice in this world of forest clans? (In the Warriors series, we did see evidence of free choice when the united clans defeated BloodClan despite the omens Fireheart had received.) If there is free choice, are we to believe that the evil could have been avoided ONLY if Yellowfang had chosen motherhood over being a medicine cat, or worst yet, if Yellowfang had had an abortion? I don't know if this was the intent, but it sure felt like Yellowfang was being punished by StarClan for having broken the warrior code with Raggedstar. Frankly, in those extenuating circumstances, would it have been so bad if Yellowfang spent six moons mothering a kit?

Anyway, what I liked most about this book was when it tied into what I already knew from the Warrior series. I liked that the characters of Nightpelt and Runningnose were fleshed out, since we only saw glimpses of them in the Warriors series.

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