Review - Bramblestar's Storm by Erin Hunter

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bramblestar's Storm 
By Erin Hunter
Released: August 24th, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade
Source: Purchased

I’ll be the first to say that this review will probably be pretty biased. Warriors has been a love of mine since I first picked up Into the Wild, and unless there is something glaringly wrong with the stories – or if something happened that really rubbed me the wrong way – Warriors is always a five star read for me. But I’ll try to be as fair as possible. 

One of the biggest complains with readers of Warriors is the repetitiveness of the stories. While I never really minded it (I like seeing each cat and clan deal with the same problems but in different ways), I can certainly see why other readers might be put off by it. And the Super Editions were one of the greatest culprits of this repetitive scheme. While it would give readers an interesting outlook into a particular cat’s history, oftentimes the storyline would be exact cutouts of previous installments: first it goes over the history of the cat’s kithood, then its apprenticeship, and ultimately, they become a Warrior and overcome some sort of hurdle for the clan. The plot would vary to a degree, but not by much. 

That’s what makes Bramblestar’s Storm so interesting and refreshing to long time Warrior readers such as myself. Instead of detailing Bramblestar’s history (which we’ve read in previous books), the story jumps right into what happened after the great battle against the Dark Forest cats and Firestar’s death. This is just what readers have been dying to know!

The Dark Forest battle was very fierce and bloody and left every clan weakened and vulnerable, add on to that a rough Leaf Bare, and Bramblestar has his work cut out for him. Even a few months after the battle, Thunderclan is still healing and grieving over their lost clan leader. Bramblestar is left to pick the clan up and piece it back together, but just when spring comes along and things look like they’re getting better for all the forest cats, a great storm comes along and it rains for days on end. Ultimately, it floods the entire forest and Thunderclan is forced to relocate their camp. With their territory largely underwater, the clan eventually decides to hold up in the underground tunnels until the land dries out. But with the cold wind whistling through the tunnels, prey scarce, and limited resources – the clan is quickly becoming in danger of sickness and starvation. 

Much of the first part of the story deals with the cats adjusting to the flood and trying to survive. Bramblestar is unsure of himself, often second-guessing his orders as a leader and wondering “what Firestar would’ve done.” He’s having relationship problems with his ex-mate Squirrelflight, other clans are fighting with him over territory, and even the “twoleg” dens nearby are flooded, leaving with them a wake of frightened kittypets with no home. Unable to turn a blind eye to cats in trouble, Bramblestar decides to let some of the kittypets (Minty, Frankie, and Jessy) into the clan temporarily, garnering even more negative attention from the other clans. Bouts of Whitecough run through Thunderclan and rising water bring even more dangers when the rain doesn’t cease. 

But the greatest danger comes when other, more sinister animals are run out of their home and encroach on the clan cats’ forest. Shadowclan, which is half starved, can’t defend themselves the threat and it’s up to Bramblestar to decide to help them or not, against his own clan’s wishes.

Ultimately, this story is about Bramblestar really embracing his role as clan leader and following his own gut instincts. He really becomes his own cat and, after quite a bit of struggling, he decides that he isn’t Firestar – so he shouldn’t lead based on what he thought Firestar would do. He really tries his best to leave a legacy that’s worth remembering by not only his own clan, but all the forest cats. 

Like I said before, this was such a refreshing read! I loved getting to see Thunderclan after their great leader died and I loved getting reintroduced to old favorites, like Jayfeather, Graystripe, and Sandstorm. Not only that, but the ending of the story led me to believe that Erin Hunter hasn’t decided to leave Thunderclan’s story just yet. I hope that we’ll get another series based on the going-on after Firestar. There was also a heavy emphasis on Skyclan and how they were mistreated in the past; perhaps this is a hint as well, that the next series will be based on Skyclan? I can only hope!

Overall, this was a quick and enticing read. Warrior fans won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t read Warriors, I implore you to look into it – particularly if you like reading books about animals. And if you are that bored, disillusioned Warriors fan that I mentioned at the beginning, be sure to give this Super Edition a try – it’s different and promising! You’ll be reminded of why you fell in love with the series in the first place.

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