Times are rough in the forest, and all the Clans are wary of each other. With ShadowClan’s new and dangerous leader, Tigerstar, everyone in ThunderClan is on edge. None of the other Clans see anything wrong with Tigerstar’s leadership, but Fireheart knows better. Fireheart is convinced that the new leader will bring danger, and he has a feeling that something terrible is brewing. Dreams of danger haunt Fireheart, who worries that there is a connection between his foreboding dreams and Tigerstar’s rise to power.
There is also a strange evil loose in the forest, lurking in the shadows. When the leader of ThunderClan turns her back on StarClan, Fireheart is not sure what to believe. Should he trust in StarClan and his dreams to lead the Clan to safety? Has StarClan abandoned them?
The fifth installment of the Warrior Series has a slow pace that continues for the first half of the book. Like the previous books, the cats hunt, go to meetings, and train apprentices. Although many aspects of the books are repetitious, the number of characters and the complexity of the plot may confuse some readers. The story continues to hint about a terrible danger, but the mystery behind the danger takes too long to solve. Still, once revealed, it creates a tense climax for the novel.
The story focuses on Bluestar, who has suffered a devastating loss and has become irrational as a result. Bluestar’s negativity gives the book a darker tone. Although the story is still a good adventure that allows readers to see into the cats’ world, A Dangerous Path has a more mature tone and adds themes of danger, death, and violence. The story covers some difficult topics such as Cloudkit’s skepticism regarding StarClan, and a cat willing to scheme to kill others. For those who have fallen in love with the Warrior series, A Dangerous Path sets up an epic battle that will take place in The Darkest Hour.
- Leopardstar and Bluestar fight over territory. Other cats join the fight. Leopardstar yowled and launched herself at Bluestar. “The two cats crashed to the ground, spitting and clawing. Fireheart sprang forward to help his leader, but before he reached her a warrior crashed into his side, bowling him over and sinking his teeth into Fireheart’s shoulder. Fireheart scrabbled against the RiverClan cat’s belly with his hindpaws, desperate to break his grip, and slashing at his enemy’s throat. The tabby warrior let go and backed off yowling.” Many cats are injured, but no one is killed. The fight takes place over six pages.
- A group of cats was looking for two apprentices. When they find them, “Foul-tasting bile rose into his throat as he took in the scene in front of him. . . In the middle of the clearing Swiftpaw’s black-and-white body lay motionless, and just beyond him, Brightpaw. . . The apprentice lay on his side, his legs splayed out. His black-and-white fur was torn, and his body was covered with dreadful wounds, ripped by teeth far bigger that any cat’s. His jaws still snarled and his eyes glared. He was dead, and Fireheart could see that he had died fighting.”
- Fireheart finds a dead cat, but it is not described.
- Graypool’s “paws slid from under her. She rolled down the steep slope in a scramble of legs and tail, and landed hard against one of the rocks the pulled out of the turf. There she lay, and did not move again.”
- While Snowkit was playing, there was a hawk. “The hawk plunged down toward the clearing. Snowkit screamed as the cruel talons fastened onto his back. The great wings flapped. . . As the hawk lifted off, she sprang upward and snagged her claws in the white kit’s fur. . . The hawk released the kit with one foot and scored its talons across Speckletail’s face. The she-cat lost her grip and fell back, landing heavily on the ground.”
- Tigerstar attacks Fireheart, in the hopes that the dogs will catch up and kill him. “Fireheart struggled desperately to get free, lashing out with his hind paws to claw a tuft of fur from his enemy’s belly. . . The reek of his scent was in Fireheart’s mouth and nostrils, and his amber eyes glared into Fireheart’s own.” After Tigerstar let go of Fireheart, the dogs came. “Pain stabbed him as sharp teeth met his scruff. His limbs flailed helplessly as the dog lifted him from the ground and shook him from side to side. He twisted in the air, struggling to claw eyes, jowls, tongue, but his thrashing paws met nothing.” Bluestar knocks the dog off balance, saving Fireheart and sending the dogs and her into the gorge. Fireheart jumps in and tries to save her, but it is too late. He gets her to shore with the help of two RiverClan warriors, but Bluestar dies on shore.
Drugs and Alcohol
- When angry, the cats occasionally call each other terms such as mouse dung, crowfood, furball, and mouse brain. For example, Bluestar got angry and said, “What a mouse-brained fool.”
- Someone asked Fireheart, “Are you just going to stand there and let that piece of fox dung take over?”
- Tigerstar asked a cat about some kits, and when she did not respond right away he snapped and said, “Tell me whose kits they were, old crowfood.”
- When they started talking about StarClan, a cat said, “You don’t really believe that load of thistledown, do you?”
- When he was falsely accused, Tigerstar said, “All this is a pile of mouse dung.”
- When preparing to go into battle, a cat says, “They’ll make crowfood out of us!” This phrase is used twice.
- Someone made a bad choice and a cat said, “What a mouse-brained idea!” This phrase is used three times.
- Several time a cat is called a furball. For example, when the Clan was mad at someone, another cat said, “Then half of the Clan are stupid furballs.”
- StarClan is the heavenly tribe of dead warrior cats that watches over all the cat clans. Cats that die go to StarClan and can come back in dreams to share visions or prophecy. StarClan can help shape fate because they can see the future.
- One of the cats “is afraid she’ll go to StarClan soon.”
- A cat died so it is said that, “she hunts with StarClan now.”
- Cinderpelt received a dream from StarClan and tells Fireheart about it. She said she heard a huge animal walking saying, “Pack, Pack and Kill, Kill.”
- Spottedleaf and Yellowfang are medicine cats that walk with StarClan. They visited Fireheart’s dreams to give him advice.
- If a leader or medicine cat needs to speak with StarClan, they go to highstones. When they are there, they touch the moonstone at night and can share dreams with StarClan.
- When the cats were fighting, a cat yelled, “Defend yourself or I swear by StarClan I’ll kill you.”
- When a cat is made into a warrior, the leader says, “By the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name.”
- A cat believed she had made StarClan angry so she said, “I have brought down the wrath of StarClan on you.”
by Paige Michelle