Saturday, 9 October 2010

Erin Hunter - Warriors, Into the Wild

Getting this book hinged on a simple decision; left or right. I went right and it resulted in a mile walk across a city to a second hand book where I found Warriors, Into the Wild for a small fee of two pounds. If I had gone left I would have found an Oxfam bookstore practically next door to my start location. And I would have found a cheaper book.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Warriors. The blurb is ‘cats live in wood, kill each other’ so I thought this could be an entertaining fast-paced read... or another psycho-mole thing. Luckily, it was the former. The book is written in a way that doesn’t give you time to get bored. It’s concise and to the point, as you would expect from a book of 272 pages, and there is no padding and enough description to give you a feel for the surroundings.

At first I would have said the book was written for a young audience, maybe ten plus, but some of the word choices make me think this wasn’t intended to be the case. I would like to think I know a lot of words so when I saw ‘caterwauling’ for the first time, I began to reassess the target and by the end of the book... I still had no idea.

There was also one thing that didn’t make sense and that was the way the main character Rusty/Firepaw/Fireheart (such is the pace of the novel, he undergoes two name changes) perceives the world around him. Firstly, as a cat who lives near a road, I would expect him to be familiar with the concept, but when he encounters a road with the wild cats, he’s like, ‘eh, what’s that black thing?’ The second thing, and probably the more important, is that adapts ridiculously fast to his new life away from his comfy bed and free food. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with this if he was revealed as the son of some lion cat or some kind of chosen one, but he’s just a regular house cat, and yet he is better than the ones born and raised in the wild at hunting. It doesn’t make sense. There are five more books in the series and I want to find them just to find out if Rusty/Firepaw/Fireface is later to be revealed as son-of-lion or chosen one.

Oh, and while I’m talking about stuff that doesn’t make sense, there is a bit where one of the older cats explains about their ancestors – namely being lions and tigers and bea... ahem, I mean leopards. But these animals never lived in the same habitats, unless they were in a zoo, so it doesn’t make any sense. This kind of assumption leads me to believe that the book is meant for a younger audience, one who Erin Hunter has assumed, won’t know any better.

While I’m on a role the indents are wrong. When there is a break in time in the same chapter, you do not indent the first line, yet Erin Hunter indents throughout, but at least she is consistent. It would have been worse if she had changed half way through.

Despite all the negativity, Warriors is something that many other books are not; enjoyable. I would recommend it to friends and cat lovers alike. Saying that, if you don’t cats, it’s probably not you.

Warriors, Into the Wild by Erin Hunter was published by Working Partners Ltd in 2003. RRP £5.99 (Paperback)

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