Warriors: A Starless Clan #2: Sky

Warriors: A Starless Clan #2: Sky
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Release Date
November 01, 2022
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Disaster has struck at the heart of RiverClan, leaving its warriors and its new medicine cat apprentice scrambling to protect their Clan—even if it means lying to the others. But at a time when the warrior code itself is shifting, no Clan is truly at peace… or truly safe.

Packed with action and intrigue, this seventh Warriors series is a perfect introduction for new readers, while long-time fans will be thrilled to discover what unfolds after the events of The Broken Code.

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Trouble right here in Riverclan
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The cats are preparing for leaf-bare, gathering food and checking stores of medicine. Riverclan is in crisis because they have no leader, and they're not really sure who should approach SkyClan (best described as ghosts of deceased cats who sometimes appear to living cats to give advice) to get a recommendation for a new leader. Frostpaw, whose mother Curlfeather has died, is training to be the Riverclan medicine cat, and is expected to this advice. It's not going well, and she panics and picks Owlnose, who seems to be the least likely leader. In fact, his realy reign has several catastrophes, and he eventually decides he just won't do it.

Sunbeam, in Shadowclan, is still upset that Blazefire doesn't want to be her mate, and has indeed decided to be with her ex-best friend! she is also trying to assume the role of medicine cat, but struggling with learning the ropes. There seems to be a lack of older cats due to the traumas and fighting in previous books.

Nightheart is a bit of a wild card, thought of as incompetent by the other clan members, and derided for changing his name from Flameheart, thereby dishonoring his father. He wants to be a warrior, but is struggling with acceptance in his own clan. When several cats have whitecough, and one young kit is very sick with greencough, a general lack of catmint is discovered. This panics the cats, since it is leaf-fall, and soon there will be no herbs to gather. The clans band together to search as far as the Twolegplace to find the crucial herb. Sunbeam ends up working with Nightheart, and the two get along well. Thunderclan and Shadowclan are hard hit with sickness, and the other clans are angry about cats mixing with others, spreading sickness. Since Riverclan can't come to a decision about their leader, it looks like Tigerstar might "take over". He claims it is for the clan's own good, but it is seen as an attack by the other cats. The SkyClan seems particularly unhelpful, and there are many matters not resolved at the end of the book. Shadow, book three, comes out in April of 2023 and will address the warrior code that allows cats to change clans.
Good Points
I had forgotten the romantic element of the books, but it was interesting to see how invested Sunbeam was in Blazefire, and how quickly she connected with Nightheart. This makes sense; there are constantly cats dying, and kittens being born, but this is young middle grade romance! There is a lot of discussion about cats changing clans that I don't remember from other books, although I do recall some issues with "kittypets" wanting to join clans.

The appeal of these does seem to lie with the battles between the clans, the hunting of prey, and the foraging for medicinal plants. The writers who work as Erin Hunter do a great job of showing how violent and unpredictable nature can be without going into too many gruesome details. These books are popular with avid readers starting in about third grade, and I can see many, many hours of fun "playing" Warrior Cats on the playground with like minded friends. They are definitely an escapist pleasure for middle school students as well, and many of my students reread them repeatedly.

Tui Sutherland (of Wings of Fire fame) and Inbali Iserles both have written similar series, and there are other animal books, such as Lasky's Horses of the Dawn that have a similar feel, but true Warriors fans are usually only placated by the next book in the series!
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