When you set out, you were four. Six with friends who could not stay behind. Now you are one.
It took me years after reading the first series of Warriors books to get around to picking up Midnight. I think, as a kid, I’d just gotten overwhelmed with the idea of how many books were in this world. Erin Hunter has, unquestionably, put together an impressive number of works and, to this day, I’m still a little overwhelmed. And I have to admit, I was weary of the second series. I didn’t know if I’d like it as much as the first set of books. The fact that the main character of the first would no longer be the center focus of this one genuinely bugged the hell out of me.
I’m glad to report that this worry was utterly unnecessary.
Fire and tiger would join together, somehow connected to trouble for the whole forest.
Midnight has an entirely new set of center characters. They all, more or less, exist as direct descendants of the central players in the original arc. Most important, of course, is Tigerstar’s son Brambleclaw and Fireheart’s daughter, Squirrelpaw. Then we have Tigerstar’s daughter, Tawnypelt, and Graystripe’s kits, Feathertail and Stormfur. With the exception of Crowpaw, all of these cats are directly related to a character we know quite well from the first set of books.
The plot is a simple one. StarClan has chosen four cats to act as saviors against the great danger that faces the clan. These four receive messages telling them to find Midnight, spurning an incredibly long journey from their homes. Meanwhile, leaders of ThunderClan receive a message of their own that almost feels deliberately misinterpreted, but plays quite well into unreasonable fears that are brought on by previous trauma.
“If ever any of you tell the cats back home that I purred at a Twoleg,” she mewed through gritted teeth, “I’ll turn you into crow-food, and that’s a promise.”
The shining moments of Midnight do not exist within the confines of the plot. In truth, the plot itself is kind of just really predictable. There’s nothing about people destroying a forest and the animals needing to move that’s surprising. I suppose it’s a testament to how sad that is. It’s not as though the destruction of forests is uncommon when people decide its time to build something somewhere. And, really, the majority of the plot is centered around this new danger and the subsequent travel needed to save the Clans.
The true shining moments exist within the very parts of the novel I was most worried about. I didn’t know if I would connect to the new cast of characters. Suffice to say this was an incredibly silly worry and the characters were absolutely wonderful. I deeply appreciated every single one of them, but I think I most appreciated the relationship between Brambleclaw and Squirrelpaw.
Crowpaw, Feathertail, Stormfur, and Tawnypelt are all wonderful characters and I adored each of them. But the dynamic we get with Brambleclaw and Squirrelpaw was all sorts of adorable. It’s sort of a hate-to-love, slow-burn and it just really worked for me. Squirrelpaw is thoroughly sassy and Brambleclaw is rightly annoyed by her at times. But, the way they developed such a deep connection in their shared secrets and along their journey was nothing short of beautiful.
Incidentally, Firestart’s misinterpretation of the prophesy made me love it all the more?
Yes, O Great One, I shall do as you command. Then when we come back empty-pawed, you’ll admit I was right.
The Erin Hunter writers do, however, have this rather unfortunate habit of dragging things out. I guarantee you, this book did not need to be as long as it was. Thinking back on it now, very little actually happens. And sure, we’re getting dual points of view from Brambleclaw and Leafpaw, Squirrelpaw’s sister, but I’d honestly make the argument that this really wasn’t necessary.
There was so much that happened along their journey that felt kind of like filler. But, with all that in mind, I will say this: the length of the novel does really help you, as a reader, to feel how truly long their journey is. Even though we barely just get to Midnight in the end, it does genuinely feel like you’ve taken every pawstep with them. And, in that sense, it’s kind of impressive.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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