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Warriors is a series of juvenile fantasy novels published by HarperCollins; it is written by authors Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Tui Sutherland, with the plot developed by editor Victoria Holmes, who collectively use the pseudonym Erin Hunter. The series follows the adventures of four Clans of wild cats—ThunderClan, ShadowClan, WindClan, and RiverClan—in their forest and lake homes. SkyClan, the long-forgotten fifth Clan of the forest, is later introduced in the stand-alone novel Firestar's Quest. It receives additional focus in the novel SkyClan's Destiny, the manga trilogy SkyClan and the Stranger, and the 2013 novella Cloudstar's Journey.
There are currently five sub-series, each containing six books. The first, Warriors, was published from 2003 to 2004. Warriors: The New Prophecy, published from 2005 to 2006, follows the first sub-series, chronicling the Clans as they move to a new home. The third story arc, Warriors: Power of Three, was published from 2007 to 2009. The fourth sub-series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars, was published from 2009 to 2012 and continued where the third story arc left off. The fifth sub-series is Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, and the first book, The Sun Trail, was released 5 March 2013. The sub-series acts as a prequel series, detailing the formation of the Clans.
Other books have been released in addition to the main series, including six lengthier stand-alone novels entitled Firestar's Quest, Bluestar's Prophecy, SkyClan's Destiny, Crookedstar's Promise, Yellowfang's Secret, and Tallstar's Revenge. Also originally e-book-only novellas called Hollyleaf's Story, Mistystar's Omen and Cloudstar's Journey have been published, with Tigerstar's Fury, and "Leafpool's Wish" set to be released. Five field guides and several volumes of original English-language manga, produced as a collaboration between HarperCollins and TOKYOPOP, have been published as well. Manga published after TOKYOPOP's shutdown is published by HarperCollins on its own. In addition to the books, the authors have also written several short stories and two plays. The Warriors series, with the exception of the manga, has been released in e-book format for popular e-readers such as the Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle. The series has also been translated into several languages. In addition, the series has a website featuring games, promotional videos, quizzes, a message board, and news.
Major themes in the series deal with forbidden love, the concept of nature vs. nurture, the reactions of different faiths meeting each other, and characters being a mix of good and bad. The authors draw inspiration from several natural locations and other authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, and William Shakespeare.
Warriors has received mostly positive reviews, but it has also been criticized for being confusing due to its large number of characters. Critics have compared it to the Redwall series, though one reviewer commented that the series is less elegantly written. Although nominated for several awards, Warriors has yet to receive any major literary prizes. The series has reached the New York Times Bestseller List and has found popularity in many countries, including Trinidad and China.
In the Warriors universe, there are four Clans of feral cats that live in a forest: ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan. A fifth Clan, SkyClan, is driven out by the other Clans when its territory is destroyed by humans building a town, and it scatters shortly after arriving at a new home in a gorge. SkyClan is later rebuilt in Firestar's Quest. Cats in each Clan live and hunt in their own territory, which they defend from other cats. Each Clan is adapted to its own types of prey and members usually possess (or are taught) special skills which suit the territory's terrain. BloodClan is a group of stray city cats introduced in The Darkest Hour. However, they are not considered to be a true Clan because they do not believe in the warriors' spiritual ancestors, StarClan, or the warrior code, a set of rules followed by all Clan cats. BloodClan is considered to be a group of rogues (non-Clan cats who do not respect the Clan cats' rules).
StarClan is a group of the Clans' deceased ancestors who give guidance to the Clans. After death, most Clan cats join StarClan. StarClan is said to be represented by Silverpelt (the Milky Way), and each individual star represents the spirit of a single dead warrior. Upon joining StarClan, the cats' spirits take the form in which they were most happy while living (i.e. blindness and deafness can be cured). StarClan warriors keep watch over the Clans, usually watching the Clan they lived in while alive. They provide guidance to the Clans, often through dreams and other signs like omens. Often, this occurs when medicine cats go to the Moonstone, a large piece of quartz in an abandoned mine, which is used in the forest territory to communicate with the medicine cats' ancestors every half-moon. When the Clans move to live by a lake because humans destroy their forest, the medicine cats gather at the Moonpool, a pool used as the replacement for the Moonstone. In an author chat, Hunter said that StarClan can "just get glimpses of" the future, which they occasionally pass on. In addition to StarClan, there also exists the Dark Forest, also known as The Place of No Stars. The spirits of cats who cause great pain and suffering to others during their lives reside there instead of in StarClan. Dark Forest cats eventually gain the ability to walk in dreams like StarClan. Both Dark Forest and StarClan cats eventually fade away as they are forgotten. In addition, both Dark Forest and StarClan cats fade away before they are forgotten if they are "killed".
Beyond the Clans' territories lies a mountain range, inhabited by the Tribe of Rushing Water. The Tribe is shown to be similar to the Clans, yet follows a different set of ancestors: the Tribe of Endless Hunting. The Tribe has a Healer, cave-guards, and prey-hunters, who each serve a different function in the Tribe. The Healer leads the Tribe, heals the ill and wounded, and communicates with the Tribe of Endless Hunting; the cave-guards defend the Tribe, and the prey-hunters hunt.
The Clans' origin is described in Secrets of the Clans. Originally, many small groups of wild cats live in the forest. Without a code of honour to follow or ancestors to provide guidance, they fight constantly for food and territory. One night, a large battle occurs, and many cats die. The spirits of the cats killed in battle return and tell the remaining cats to "unite or die". In this way, the Clans are formed from the previous multitude of small groups. The dead spirits become StarClan, and the code of honour that the cats follow is gradually created, as described in Code of the Clans.
The Clans have a hierarchical system, with different cats having different positions within the Clan. The leader receives his or her nine lives and leader name ending with the suffix -star from StarClan after he or she goes to the Moonstone/Moonpool. The leader makes all major decisions for the Clan, such as deciding when to wage a battle or promote a warrior. The deputy is second in command and succeeds the leader when the leader loses his or her last life. The deputy's job is mainly to organize patrols and other everyday tasks. In order to be appointed deputy by the leader, a cat must already be a warrior and have mentored at least one apprentice. There is also a medicine cat in each Clan, who receives messages from StarClan and uses herbs to heal sick or injured cats. Medicine cats are not allowed to have kits or mates, as it would distract them from their duties. At each half-moon, the medicine cats from each Clan meet at the Moonstone/Moonpool to talk with StarClan. In a Clan, there is never more than one medicine cat apprentice at any one time: a medicine cat apprentice helps gather herbs and learns medicinal knowledge, but he or she is considered an apprentice until the current medicine cat dies or retires, even if he or she has already received a full medicine cat name. There are also warrior apprentices (usually referred to simply as apprentices), who train to hunt for and defend their Clan, the duties of a warrior. All apprentices' names end with the suffix -paw. These apprentices are mentored by warriors, who pass down knowledge and skills they have learned from their own mentors. Apprenticeships usually last approximately six months. Apprentices occasionally undergo assessments, and they become warriors when their mentors deem them ready. Warrior name suffixes (e.g. -claw, -heart, -pelt, etc.) are selected by the leader during the warrior ceremony. Another important event after the warrior ceremony is the silent vigil that the new warriors lead the night after the ceremony. They must watch over the sleeping camp in silence until sunrise, when the Clan leader tells them their vigil is over. When a cat becomes old, permanently ill, or disabled, he or she retires to become an elder. Elders share their knowledge with the Clan and are cared for by the apprentices. The only task they carry out is burying dead Clanmates. Clans also have queens, who are she-cats expecting or caring for their kits. They return to warrior duties when no longer expecting or nursing kits. A queen is not obligated to reveal the identity of her mate. A kit's name always ends with the suffix -kit; kits become apprentices after they are six months old.
The characters have their own words for certain objects and ideas. Examples of these are the terms twoleg (human), horseplace (stable), and halfbridge (dock). The cats also use ways of measuring time and distance related to the natural world: sunhigh and moonhigh refer to the positions of celestial bodies as an indication of time. A moon is a used to indicate a month. The seasons have their own names as well, with newleaf meaning spring, greenleaf meaning summer, leaf-fall meaning autumn, and leaf-bare meaning winter. Distance terms vary from a kittenstep to a tree-length, but the most common examples are fox-length, tail-length, and mouse-length. Insults, exclamations, and phrases are also used. Mouse-brain, mouse dung, and fox dung are common expressions. There are other examples of common phrases: a mouse-hearted cat is cowardly, while a fox-hearted cat is cruel or sly. The term fish-face is used by ThunderClan to mock RiverClan cats. Similar to the human phrases "Good Lord", "What in God's name?", and "Thank God!", cats invoke StarClan for several phrases. Great StarClan, and What in the name of StarClan? are used as exclamations of surprise and shock. Thank StarClan! is used as an exclamation of gratitude.
The original Warriors series, released from 2003 to 2004, consists of six books: Into the Wild, Fire and Ice, Forest of Secrets, Rising Storm, A Dangerous Path, and The Darkest Hour. The series details the experiences of a pet cat named Rusty who ventures into the forest and is invited to join ThunderClan, one of four groups of wild cats in the forest. He accepts the invitation and receives the apprentice name Firepaw while he trains to become a warrior. Later, Firepaw receives his warrior name, Fireheart, and discovers that Tigerclaw, the deputy of ThunderClan, wishes to kill ThunderClan leader Bluestar in order to succeed her and become leader himself. Fireheart eventually becomes deputy of the Clan after Tigerclaw tries to kill Bluestar, fails, and is banished from ThunderClan. After his banishment, Tigerclaw takes over another Clan, ShadowClan, and lures a pack of dogs into ThunderClan camp in attempt at vengeance. Bluestar dies sacrificing her last life to protect the Clan from the dogs, and Fireheart succeeds her as leader, receiving nine lives and the name Firestar from the Clans' spiritual ancestors, StarClan. Tigerstar then attempts to take over all four Clans, telling them that the leaders will rule together. Leopardstar, leader of RiverClan, agrees, but Firestar and Tallstar, leader of WindClan, refuse. Tigerstar then enlists the aid of BloodClan, a vicious group of city cats, to take over the Clans, but BloodClan leader Scourge kills Tigerstar (taking all nine of Tigerstar's lives at once by slicing him from neck to tail) and decides to take over the forest for himself. The four Clans unite to fight BloodClan, and Firestar loses the first of his nine lives in battle against Scourge, but kills Scourge after returning to life, defeating BloodClan and saving the forest.
The second series, Warriors: The New Prophecy, was released from 2005 to 2006, and contains six books: Midnight, Moonrise, Dawn, Starlight, Twilight, and Sunset. In the series, four cats, Brambleclaw, Tawnypelt, Crowpaw, and Feathertail, are sent on a mission by StarClan to the ocean, with Feathertail's brother Stormfur and ThunderClan apprentice Squirrelpaw accompanying them. There, a badger named Midnight tells the six cats that all four of the Clans are in danger from humans and must leave for a new home. On the way back to the forest, the travelling cats meet a group of cats called the Tribe of Rushing Water who are being terrorised by a mountain lion called Sharptooth. Feathertail sacrifices her life to kill Sharptooth and save the Tribe. The remaining cats return to their Clans and relay the message. Together, the four Clans travel to a new territory by a lake, encountering the Tribe once again on the journey. Once at the lake, ThunderClan medicine cat apprentice Leafpool and Crowfeather (formerly Crowpaw) fall in love with each other. However, the warrior code says that Leafpool, as a medicine cat, cannot have a mate. In addition, Clan cats may not be mates with cats from other Clans. They eventually abscond, but return when Midnight warns them that a group of badgers plans to attack ThunderClan. Upon returning, they find that a badger has killed Cinderpelt, the ThunderClan medicine cat, while she is helping Sorreltail give birth. Cinderpelt is then reborn as Cinderheart, to fulfill her destiny of being a ThunderClan warrior.
The series then centres around the prophecy "before there is peace, blood will spill blood, and the lake will run red". Hawkfrost and Brambleclaw have been meeting with the spirit of their dead father Tigerstar in dreams, in which he is teaching them how to become Clan leader by force. Hawkfrost follows Tigerstar every step of the way, but Brambleclaw is split between loyalty to his leader and his own ambition. Firestar appoints Brambleclaw as deputy after finally accepting the possibility that Graystripe might never return (he was abducted by humans prior to the Clans' journey to the new territory). The series reaches its climax when Hawkfrost traps Firestar and tells Brambleclaw to kill him. Brambleclaw decides that he does not want to become leader by force and refuses. Instead, he frees Firestar. Hawkfrost attacks Brambleclaw, intending to kill him for his knowledge of his and Tigerstar's plans, but Brambleclaw manages to kill Hawkfrost instead. Hawkfrost's blood runs into the lake, turning it red, explaining the "blood will spill blood" prophecy as Brambleclaw is Hawkfrost's kin.
The third series, titled Warriors: Power of Three, was released from 2007 to 2009 and includes The Sight, Dark River, Outcast, Eclipse, Long Shadows, and Sunrise. The plot is centred on the prophecy, "there will be three, kin of your kin, who hold the power of the stars in their paws", which was given to Firestar in Firestar's Quest by Skywatcher. The series details the experiences of Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze, Firestar's grand kits, and thus kin of his kin. Jayfeather is blind, but has the unique ability to feel emotions and memories coming off of other cats and to enter their dreams, where he is then able to see. Lionblaze has the power to never get hurt in a fight. Hollyleaf does not have any power and is revealed not to be the third cat foretold in the prophecy. A loner cat called Sol warns Jayfeather and Leafpool that the sun will disappear. During a battle involving all four Clans, the sun disappears in an eclipse. Sol then persuades ShadowClan to lose faith in StarClan, using his warning as evidence that he knows more than StarClan. Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf fake a sign from StarClan to convince Blackstar, leader of ShadowClan, that StarClan is real and should be followed, but StarClan cats come, making it a true sign. Sol is banished. Ashfur tries to kill Squirrelflight, Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather, during a fire because he is angry with Squirrelflight, whom he had wanted as a mate in Sunset, but Squirrelflight reveals that they are not her kits. Ashfur threatens to reveal this deception, but Hollyleaf kills Ashfur to keep him quiet. Jayfeather, Hollyleaf, and Lionblaze learn that their true parents are Leafpool and Crowfeather, not Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw; this makes their birth against the warrior code and medicine cat code, codes of honour followed by Clan cats and medicine cats, respectively. During a Gathering, Hollyleaf reveals the truth about their parents to all the Clans, then runs away into a set of tunnels under the Clans' territories because she can not stand the fact that her birth is against the warrior code, which means a lot to her. The tunnels then collapse on Hollyleaf, and she is presumed dead. Jayfeather realizes that Hollyleaf was never meant to be part of the Three and that either Dovekit or Ivykit, grandkits of Firestar's nephew Cloudtail, is meant to be the third cat of the prophecy.
The fourth series, entitled Warriors: Omen of the Stars, was released from 2009 to 2012 and comprises The Fourth Apprentice, Fading Echoes, Night Whispers, Sign of the Moon, The Forgotten Warrior, and The Last Hope. It is a direct continuation of Warriors: Power of Three. ThunderClan apprentice Dovepaw has the special ability to hear and see extremely distant things. When Dovepaw reveals that the cause of a drought to be a beaver dam upstream, Jayfeather and Lionblaze realise that she is the third cat in the prophecy from Power of Three. After Dovepaw saves ThunderClan from a falling tree with her powers, she receives special attention from Firestar that makes her sister, Ivypaw, jealous. Hawkfrost's spirit exploits her jealousy and befriends Ivypaw; he begins given her battle training her in her dreams as Tigerstar did in The New Prophecy. Jayfeather, Yellowfang, and Spottedleaf discover that the Dark Forest cats are training for battle. Jayfeather finds out about Ivypaw's Dark Forest training; he suggests asking Ivypaw to act as a spy, and Ivypaw learns that Tigerstar is training her and training "under-recognized" cats to fight against the Clans, though they do not know it. Ivypaw and Dovepaw then receive the warrior names Ivypool and Dovewing. Jayfeather then visits the Tribe of Rushing Water, where he goes back in time to the Ancients and helps Half Moon become the first Stoneteller. He is then given a new prophecy: "The end of the stars draws near, three must become four, to battle the darkness that lasts forever". When a fox chases two apprentices, a mysterious cat scares away the fox; in searching for this cat, ThunderClan finds Sol. Dovewing and Ivypool spy on Sol as he plots with WindClan to attack ThunderClan and are almost discovered, but Hollyleaf, who has been living in the tunnels since the events of Sunrise, reveals herself and leads the two to safety. Returning to ThunderClan, she shows them how to fight in the tunnels in preparation for a battle with WindClan. During the battle, she traps Sol, but releases him, warning him never to return to the Clans. In "The Last Hope", at the Moonpool, Yellowfang and Brambleberry—a former RiverClan medicine cat—tell Jayfeather that he must tell Lionblaze and Dovewing about the new prophecy he received while in the mountains, and unite all the Clans. They discover that Firestar is the fourth cat of the prophecy, and when the Dark Forest attacks the Clans, Firestar kills Tigerstar, Firestar loses his last life, and Brambleclaw becomes leader and names Squirrelflight his deputy.
The fifth series, Warriors: Dawn of the Clans, details the origins of the Clans. The first book, The Sun Trail, has been published, as has Thunder Rising which was released on 5 November 2013. The First Battle was released on 8 April 2014. The fourth book, The Blazing Star, is set to be released on 4 November 2014, and the fifth book, A Forest Divided, is set to be released on 7 April 2015.
In The Sun Trail, prey is scarce in the mountain home of the Tribe of Rushing Water, so a cat named Gray Wing and his companions must leave to find more food and a better home. Once they reach their new forest home Gray Wing falls in love with a cat there named Storm. The Tribe cats start to live in the forest and take in rogue cats. When Gray Wing sees Storm again, he invites her to visit Clear Sky, another former Tribe cat and Gray Wing's brother. Once she meets Clear Sky, however, she falls in love with him. Gray Wing discovers that Storm is pregnant by Clear Sky and that she is going to live with him for a while, breaking Gray Wing's heart. When Turtle Tail, another one of the Tribe cats, who becomes a housecat later in The Sun Trail tells Gray Wing that Storm is in trouble, Gray Wing does not believe her. When he finds Storm, she is dead along with two of her three kits. Gray Wing, Tall Shadow, and the Tribe cats who live on the moor name the surviving kit Thunder. When Gray Wing shows Thunder his father, Clear Sky rejects Thunder. Sad and angry with his brother, Gray Wing adopts Thunder.
The second book, Thunder Rising, takes place a couple of months after The Sun Trail. Turtle Tail returns to Gray Wing's group pregnant by an aggressive housecat named Tom, and becomes Gray Wing's mate. A fire breaks out in the forest, forcing Clear Sky's group to take shelter with Gray Wing. While taking shelter with Gray Wing, Clear Sky realizes that he was wrong about Thunder and invites him to join his group. Thunder quickly accepts the offer but soon realizes that his father is too power-hungry and concentrated on the needs of the group over the individual and leaves.
In the third book, Clear Sky declares war upon Gray Wing's group. Gray Wing tries to make peace but Clear Sky is ambitious and wants more territory. Tom arrives to look for Bumble (another housecat) and Turtle Tail. He steals Turtle Tail's kits and brings them to live with him. Cats from Gray Wing's group go to look for and bring them back, but they find Turtle Tail dead by a road. At the end, Gray Wing's cats fight Clear Sky's. Many cats die, and the battle ends in a stalemate.
Super Editions are stand alone books in the Warriors series that are approximately double the length of a normal Warriors book. There are six Super Editions as of June 2014: Firestar's Quest, Bluestar's Prophecy, SkyClan's Destiny, Crookedstar's Promise, Yellowfang's Secret, Tallstar's Revenge, with two more to be released: Bramblestar's Storm and Mothflight's Vision.
Firestar's Quest, the first Warriors Super Edition, was released on 25 August 2007. It is set between The Darkest Hour and Midnight and details Firestar and Sandstorm's journey to restore SkyClan, the fifth Clan of the forest that is driven out when a town is built and scattered when it is attacked by rats in its new home. Firestar and Sandstorm find rogues and housecats, some of whom are descendants of the former SkyClan and teach them how to be warriors, before leaving Leafstar as leader and Echosong as medicine cat of SkyClan.
Bluestar's Prophecy was released on 28 July 2009. It covers Bluestar's life from her birth to the beginning of Into the Wild. It explains Bluestar's constant and unfailing trust in Whitestorm, the backstory of her kits Stonekit, Mistykit, and Mosskit, and her secret mate Oakheart, and details her struggle between loyalty to her Clan and her heart. The book describes a prophecy given to Bluestar by her uncle, Goosefeather, the medicine cat at the time. The prophecy is "like fire you will blaze through the forest, but beware: even the most powerful flames can be quenched by water". Bluestar loses her last life when she falls into a gorge while saving Fireheart from a dog pack.
SkyClan's Destiny was released on 3 August 2010. The book follows Leafstar and her struggle to rebuild the once-lost Clan. The book takes place several months after Firestar's Quest. The Clan's members are split over whether or not "daylight-warriors", housecats who join the Clan in the day and return to their owners at night, should be allowed to be part of the Clan. As well, a group of visiting rogues create challenges for the Clan.
Crookedstar's Promise was released on 5 July 2011. It takes place at the same time as Bluestar's Prophecy and details the life of Crookedstar, initially Stormkit. As a kit, makes a promise to a Dark Forest cat, whom he believes is a StarClan cat, named Mapleshade. She tells him that she can give him anything he wants as long as he is faithful to his Clan and puts all other things aside. Crookedstar loses his mother, Rainflower, his father, Shellheart, his mate, Willowbreeze, and his daughters Silverstream, Minnowkit, and Willowkit, which he is led to believe by Mapleshade to be a result of his promise.
Yellowfang's Secret was released on 9 October 2012. It is a Super Edition about the former ThunderClan medicine cat Yellowfang and her life in ShadowClan. It follows Yellowfang as she first trains to be a warrior, then later realizes her paws are not meant for shedding blood and her decision to switch to the role of medicine cat instead. However, she breaks the code of medicine cats when she gives birth; as a result, she and her whole Clan are punished by her disloyalty to the code. In the end, she herself is cast out of ShadowClan by her own kit Brokenstar.
Tallstar's Revenge was released on 2 July 2013. It tells the story of Tallstar, whose father dies when he is an apprentice during a tunnel collapse. As a result, he attempts to avenge his father's death by killing the cat (a rogue named Sparrow) whom he believes did not helped his father Sandgorse escape the tunnel. Talltail eventually discovers that his father actually sacrificed himself to allow the other cat to escape and so does not carry through with his intended vengeance.
Four field guides have also been published. They offer extra information, usually in the form of short stories, and are usually about 150 pages long. Secrets of the Clans is the first field guide in the series. It gives more details about the Clans previously unrevealed in the main series. Cats of the Clans, featuring illustrations and descriptions of the cats, was released on 24 June 2008. Code of the Clans, which describes the origins of the cats' code of honour, the warrior code, was released on 9 June 2009. Battles of the Clans, released on 1 June 2010, is about past battles and each Clan's special battle tactics. Enter the Clans is an omnibus field guide released on 26 June 2012. It is a collective work of the field guides Secrets of the Clans and Code of the Clans, although four pages of color artwork and the double foldout map inserts in the middle of Secrets of the Clans, as well as five pieces of color artwork in Code of the Clans, are not included in Enter the Clans.
The guide contains descriptions of forty characters, including Goosefeather, Dovewing, Brairlight, Lionblaze, and Ivypool. It also has various short stories, including the leadership ceremonies of both Tigerstar and Bramblestar, as well as maps of Clan territories. The first printing of the book featured a timeline of the Warriors universe on the reverse of the cover jacket.
Several series of original English-language manga have been produced by HarperCollins with TOKYOPOP. With the shutdown of TOKYOPOP, subsequent manga volumes have been published under the HarperCollins name alone. Four of the manga series consist of three volumes, though The Rise of Scourge is a standalone book.
Graystripe's trilogy is a three-volume series following Graystripe from the time that he was taken by humans in Dawn until he returns to ThunderClan in The Sight. It was published as the first part of a partnership between TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins. These books tell how Graystripe and Millie, a housecat Graystripe meets during his captivity, find their way to ThunderClan from a faraway town. It consists of 3 books: The Lost Warrior, Warrior's Refuge, and Warrior's Return. The final volume was published on 22 April 2008.
The Rise of Scourge was released on 24 June 2008 and, unlike the other manga which form trilogies, is a standalone volume. The story details the early life of BloodClan leader Scourge, one of the antagonists in The Darkest Hour, who is bullied in his youth for being small. The book chronicles his story up to the point when he kills Tigerstar, who once attacked Scourge when he ventured into the forest as a kitten.
Tigerstar and Sasha is a manga trilogy detailing how Tigerstar and the rogue cat Sasha meet and the events that occur after Sasha leaves Tigerstar and ShadowClan. The books are Into the Woods, Escape from the Forest, and Return to the Clans. The last volume was released on 9 June 2009.
Ravenpaw's Path is another trilogy which is centred around former ThunderClan apprentice Ravenpaw and his life on the farm with the farm cat Barley after the events of The Darkest Hour. Holmes has said that the series takes place in the second half of the year between the original series and the The New Prophecy series, soon after Firestar and Sandstorm return to the Clan in Firestar's Quest. The three books are Shattered Peace, A Clan in Need, and The Heart of a Warrior, which was released on 3 August 2010.
SkyClan and the Stranger is a trilogy detailing events experienced by SkyClan after its revival in Firestar's Quest and the events of SkyClan's Destiny. It also details how Sol came to know about the Clans. The trilogy begins with The Rescue, which was released on 5 July 2011. The second book is Beyond the Code and was released 22 November 2011, and the third book is After the Flood and was released 3 April 2012.
Originally published only in e-book format, the novellas Hollyleaf's Story, Mistystar's Omen, and Cloudstar's Journey were later published in print by HarperCollins in the anthology volume Warriors: The Untold Stories, which was released on 2 July 2013. Tigerclaw's Fury was published on 28 January 2014, and Leafpool's Wish on 22 April 2014. Dovewing's Silence is to be published on 4 November 2014. These three e-books will also be published in print in Warriors: Tales of the Clans on 4 November 2014.
Hollyleaf's Story was released on 3 March 2012. It details Hollyleaf's experiences beginning from when she is buried in a set of tunnels at the conclusion of Sunrise until she goes to the tunnels beneath ThunderClan territory to find Ivypool and Dovewing spying on Sol and a group of WindClan cats (it The Forgotten Warrior). When she first goes into the cave, she is saved by Fallen Leaves, the spirit of an ancient cat who died in the tunnels, and lives with him for the remainder of her time in the caves. The novella describes various ways in which she continues to help ThunderClan during her absence.
Mistystar's Omen is a novella released on 11 September 2012. When Leopardstar loses her ninth life, her longtime deputy, Mistyfoot, becomes leader, receiving the new name Mistystar. Mistystar discovers a secret about RiverClan and her leadership is plunged into crisis as soon as it begins.
Cloudstar's Journey is a novella that was released as an e-book on 29 January 2013. It describes the original SkyClan's experiences as humans destroy their forest home to build a town. When their camp is ruined, Cloudstar, leader of SkyClan, brings his whole Clan to a Gathering and asks the other Clan leaders to help them.
Tigerclaw's Fury is the fourth novella. It was released on 28 January 2014. It describes Tigerclaw's experiences while he is banished from ThunderClan and his acceptance into ShadowClan (including how he helps ShadowClan fight off sickness and how he is appointed as its new leader).
Leafpool's Wish is the fifth novella, which was published on 22 April 2014. It details Leafpool's experiences before and after the birth of her kits.
Dovewing's Silence is the sixth novella and will be released on 4 November 2014. It will take place just after the battle in The Last Hope.
The series first began when publisher HarperCollins asked Victoria Holmes to write a fantasy series about feral cats. Initially, Holmes was not very enthusiastic, since she "couldn't imagine coming up with enough ideas". She worked with the concept, however, expanding the storyline with elements of war, politics, revenge, doomed love, and religious conflict. Although the original plan was a stand-alone novel, enough material was created for several books, and the publisher decided on a six-volume series. The first volume, Into the Wild, was written by Kate Cary under the pseudonym "Erin Hunter" and was completed in about three months. Holmes then began to work behind the scenes, editing and supervising details. Cherith Baldry joined the team to write the third book, Forest of Secrets. Later, after she wrote the first Warriors field guide, Tui Sutherland became the fourth Erin Hunter.
The authors have named several other authors as sources of inspiration when writing the novels. In an online author chat, Cherith Baldry listed the authors that inspire her as including Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Shakespeare. In the same chat, Victoria Holmes stated that Jacqueline Wilson, Kathy Reichs, and J. K. Rowling are some of the authors that inspire her. According to the official website, other authors who have inspired the writers include Enid Blyton, Lucy Daniels, Ellis Peters, Tess Gerritsen, Kate Ellis, Lisa Gardiner, and Meg Cabot. The authors have also mentioned several other sources of inspiration. The New Forest in southern England was the base for the forest where the original series took place. Other influential locations include Loch Lomond, as well as the Scottish Highlands. Nicholas Culpeper, a physician who used materials occurring in the natural world as medicine, also had an influence on the Warriors series. His book, Culpeper's Herbal, is used as a source by the authors for the herbal remedies that the cats use in the books. In addition, the authors suggested that they may use some fan-created names in future books. Also mentioned as a source of inspiration was the film series Rambo.
The first book of the series, Into the Wild, was generally well-received, with reviewers calling it a "spine-tingling," "thoroughly engrossing" and "exciting... action-packed adventure." One reviewer praised the authors for "creating an intriguing world... and an engaging young hero", but another criticised the characters and imagined world as being "neither... consistent nor compelling."
The large number of characters involved in the series has often been seen as a negative point; though one reviewer compared the "huge cast" to that of a Greek drama, others wrote that it was "hard to follow" and "a little confusing." The characters have also been criticised as being "somewhat flat" and "limited essentially to each individual's function within the clan."
As one reviewer put it, the cats in the series are "true to their feline nature," leading some critics to jokingly comment that the books will "leave readers eyeing Puss a bit nervously" and wondering "what dreams of grandeur may haunt the family cat." However, this realism also means that the series contains a relatively large amount of violence, with one critic stating that it is "not for the faint of heart." Several critics have compared Warriors to Brian Jacques' Redwall series, though one commented that it was "not as elegantly written." The New York Times called the series a "hit with young readers", specifically because of its "sprawling universe", and the series was able to appear on the New York Times Bestseller List for a total of 117 weeks, as of 24 November 2013.
Into the Wild was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Library Association's 2006 Young Reader's Choice Awards but lost to Christopher Paolini's Eragon. It was also listed on Booklist's Top 10 fantasy books for youth in 2003 and was a Book Sense 76 Pick. The Sight was nominated for the best Middle Readers book in Amazon's Best Books of the Year (2007) and placed sixth out of the ten nominees, with six percent of the total votes. It was also nominated for the Children's Choice Book Awards. In 2006, Warriors also received an honourable mention for the best book series for Publisher Weekly's "On the Cuff" awards.
Themes in the series often revolve around forbidden love, such as those involving Bluestar and Oakheart, Graystripe and Silverstream, and Leafpool and Crowfeather. These relationships are not allowed for various reasons: some involve medicine cats (such as Leafpool), who cannot have mates, while others develop between cats in different Clans, which is forbidden by the warrior code. Holmes said that another central theme of the series centres on "faith and spirituality" in StarClan. All books in the series feature the influence of StarClan, not just as the cats think of them, but in terms of prophecies delivered by StarClan which inevitably come true. Some scenes take place within StarClan's realm, with no living cats present as point-of-view characters. Thus the existence of an afterlife and the influence of spirits who have passed on and yet retain their earthly identities is integral to all of the plot arcs in the series. Another idea explored in the novels is the reactions of different faiths when meeting each other. For example, the Tribe of Rushing Water, which believes in different spiritual ancestors than the Clans, is introduced in Moonrise. In an author chat, Holmes explained that the books never say that either of the Clans or the Tribe of Rushing Water is right about faith because both are "equally valid." This leads to fear and suspicion between them because they are afraid of things they do not understand. Holmes said that "ignorance is a very scary thing!" Non-belief is also significant in the storylines: Mothwing and Cloudtail do not believe in StarClan.
Another theme is that characters can be a mix of good and evil. Holmes has said she is fascinated by these "shades of gray" in personalities. Her example of this was when Bluestar, a relatively noble and honourable cat, gave up her kits for her own ambitions so an evil cat would not take over. Another example she gave of this is how the antagonist Tigerstar, even with all of his faults, is still courageous and fiercely loyal. Similarly, Holmes has also connected the theme to Brambleclaw and how nobody knew whether he was good or evil. A third major theme, often referred to as nature versus nurture, explores whether a person is born the way he or she will be, or if other things shape that. For example, Brambleclaw's father is the evil Tigerstar, but he eventually demonstrates that despite this, he is not evil himself, despite initial suspicion from Clanmates due to his father's legacy. This theme ties into the "shades of gray" theme.
A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that friendship and responsibility are taught to characters in the novels, while booksforyouths.com had a reviewer who pointed out the idea that, just as Clan cats shun house cats for their soft life, people should realise that it is necessary to experience hardship in life. A Storysnoops review noted that one of the themes was that "it doesn't matter where you come from, only who you are inside". In Dawn, the importance of cooperation is explored. The four Clans, normally hostile to each other, are forced to work together in order to find a new home. Other themes that have been pointed out deal with family, loss, honour, bravery, death, loyalty, and following rules.
Holmes has said that one of the good things about writing a book about cats is that "we can tackle difficult human issues such as death, racial intolerance, and religious intolerance [without seeming so heavy]."
All of the Warriors books except for the manga have been published as hardcovers, and the majority of them have also been published as paperbacks. Starlight, Twilight, and Sunset from The New Prophecy, as well as the first four Omen of the Stars books, are available in an audiobook format. The The New Prophecy audiobooks are spoken by Nanette Savard, whose performance has been praised by reviewers. A reviewer for AudioFile wrote: "Nanette Savard brings out the youth of the cats who are struggling to help their clan survive and to protect each other from outside danger." The Omen of the Stars audiobooks are spoken by Kathleen McInerney, a pseudonym of Veronica Taylor. The books in the four main series have also been released in an e-book format.
The Warriors series was first published in the United States and United Kingdom. The editions published of the first two series—Warriors and Warriors: The New Prophecy—in the United Kingdom had slight variations in cover design from their United States counterparts. Warriors is also sold in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Translations from English into other languages such as Czech, Lithuanian, Finnish, Japanese, French, Russian, Chinese, and Korean have been published more recently. The first six books have been published in Korea and Italy, and the first three series in Germany. Fandom also exists in Trinidad and Singapore. The first two books have been published in Poland.
The Warriors website features Warriors screensavers, along with videos on the process of writing a manga book and a video promoting The Last Hope. There is also a "How To Draw Manga" page. In addition, there are games, including quizzes, the New Prophecy Adventure, and the Warriors Adventure Game. On the Frequently Asked Questions section of the site, Erin Hunter said that they are working on an online game that would be released in late 2010. It finished the first round of testing in summer 2010, but has not been released. Whether it will be a role-playing game is unknown. Erin Hunter has stated on the official Warriors website that there is still no plan for an official video game, but if there was, it would probably be based on a movie version of the Warriors series, which is currently not under consideration. Many fans have also created their own forum-based role-playing games.
During a July 2009 author chat, Victoria Holmes stated that there are currently no planned Warriors movies, and none under consideration:
"Oh, the fickle world of movie making, well, there are currently no Warriors movies in production or even under consideration. The economy is not in a state to invest in a rather dark animation about feral cats, apparently. I promise I'll let you know if there are any changes."
In August 2010, she stated:
"Well, never say never, but there are currently no Warriors movies in production, and no immediate plans."
The first short story written by Erin Hunter is "Spottedleaf's Honest Answer". In it, the spirit of former ThunderClan medicine cat Spottedleaf discusses her love for Firestar. It gives information on what happened in the Warriors series from Into the Wild to Firestar's Quest.
On 20 January 2009, another short story, "The Clans Decide", was released on the Warriors Ultimate Leader Election site, starring Firestar, who won an election through an online fan vote conducted in recognition of President Obama's Inauguration Day. In the story, the four Clans vote for a way to survive a tough winter. Every cat at the meeting votes on whether or not the Clans should work together to survive the winter. The cats vote in favour of working together.
Two short stories, "After Sunset: The Right Choice?" and "The Elders' Concern", are included with the Warriors mobile application. "The Elders' Concern" has been noted to contain timeline errors. Taking place after Bluestar's selection of Fireheart for deputy, it is about the elder Halftail, who is unhappy with the decision, and wakes the other elders to discuss it with them. In "After Sunset: The Right Choice?", Leafpool encounters Brambleclaw in the evening of the day he killed Hawkfrost; Brambleclaw confides in her his worry that the event was a sign that he is unfit to be deputy.
Written by Victoria Holmes for a tour, a play titled After Sunset: We Need to Talk was first premiered on 28 April 2007 at the Secret Garden bookstore in Seattle, Washington. It details a meeting between Leafpool of ThunderClan and Crowfeather of WindClan after the events of Sunset. The script was released to the public on the official site for the Warriors series.
During a fundraising event in Russellville, Arkansas, Brightspirit's Mercy was performed by various high school drama students. The second of two plays by Erin Hunter, Brightspirit's Mercy is about Jaypaw, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf. After going to a Gathering, where it is obvious all of the Clans except for ThunderClan are starving, three cats from StarClan appear to them: Brightspirit and her parents, Shiningheart and Braveheart, characters created on Wands and Worlds, a fantasy fiction forum, in memory of a 10-year-old Warriors fan, Emmy Grace Cherry, and her parents, Dana and Jimmy Cherry, who were killed in a tornado in February 2007. They tell the three young cats that they must help feed the other Clans. Jaypaw is easily convinced, but Hollyleaf and Lionblaze are harder to win over. Eventually, they agree and hunt, then wait at the WindClan border for a patrol. Ashfoot, WindClan's deputy, accepts the gift, but Breezepaw, too proud to have help from another Clan, refuses to eat it. Jaypaw, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf then head towards another Clan's territory.
In the Chinese translation of the series, "3-D trading cards" are packaged in each book. The 3-D effect is produced using stereoscopic lenticular printing. These cards feature pictures of the cats on the centre of the bookcover and their Chinese and English names, and biographical information on the back. Current cards feature Firestar, Bluestar, Tallstar, Graystripe, Tigerstar, a collage of the 5 previous cats, Brambleclaw, Feathertail, Leafpool, Onestar, Crowfeather, Hawkfrost, Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, Lionblaze, Blackstar, Squirrelflight, Breezepelt, Sandstorm, Oakheart, Leafstar, Crookedstar, Yellowfang, Dovewing, Ivypool, Flametail, Stormfur, Tigerheart,and Spottedleaf. Also produced are puzzles and cups with Warriors images.
On 30 June 2011, an official iOS application was released on the iTunes App Store. It contains information about the books in the series, profiles of the Clans and major characters (including app-exclusive information such as the name of Firestar's mother), an interactive timeline and maps, two application-exclusive short stories, and a trivia game.