Blossompaw jumped down from the wall and headed past the plants Jayfeather had carefully nurtured. The scent of them made Ivypaw’s mouth water, but she knew the warning given to every Clan cat: Stay away from the catnip.
Worry not for our youth in the post-Harry Potter era; there’s a new line of young adult fiction that’s got all the kids a’ reading. And it’s about fighting clans of kitties -- my favorite! The Warriors, a series which to date includes over thirty titles, is a lot like Brian Jacques’ Redwall books -- a small universe of carefully plotted minutiae following the escapades of animals in epic form.
But we’re going to the next level here.The Warriors see the Redwall sci-fi/fantasy nerd love of quests, battles, and prophecies, then raises it an all kitteh cast of characters. Oh yes, whiskers and all.
Warriors’ slightly confusing authorship (the books’ byline, Erin Hunter, actually refers to four women, none of them named Erin) begins each book with a comprehensive listing of each kitty in all four of the forest’s clans. Kits to clan leaders, pelt and eye colors included. For example, Dovepaw, one of the protagonists of Fading Echoes (book number two in the Omen of the Stars sub-series), is an apprentice of Shadow Clan, “a pale she-cat with blue eyes,” who is mentored by Lionblaze, “a golden tabby tom with amber eyes.” Leaving aside the complex belief structure and social hierarchy of the Warriors' world, with 113 cats in the four mortal (oh yeah, it goes there) clans alone, it’s important to keep track of these details.
And readers do. Oh, but they do! A quick foray to The Warriors website reveals the true depths of fandom the kitties muster. Message boards require one to select a kitty avatar to chat with the other kitties.
Which I did, all in the name of journalism of course (a golden she-cat with yellow eyes I named "Quillpaw"), and regardless of the fact that many of the conversation threads were a bit beyond my reckoning, most having to do with complex spoiler theories and desperate purrs for a single tom to mate with. Scandalous!
I meowed at my kitty friends online about why they liked this magical, mystical world of claws and fresh-kill, and I found Twilightfoot (who appears to be a fan fic writing, gender neutral black deputy cat with green eyes from he/she’s profile picture)’s answer to be the most endearing. I quote:
What do I like about Warriors?:
They are VERY interesting, and have a good plot that I can relate to.
It is NOT a G-rated series, which I <3!
I get very, um, connected with the characters, which I can rarely do with a book.
In this day and age, connection is really the pith of the matter, isn’t it? Cheers to you, Twilightfoot. And cheers to you, Warriors books -- I never really liked reading about people, anyway.