You will have the warmth of fire to protect your Clan and the fierceness of fire to defend it.

Erin Hunter’s A Dangerous Path is easily the most emotional of her original Warriors series. It’s also, at times, the most frustrating. A surprising number of events happen throughout the course of this novel and ultimately I found myself alternating between two feelings: annoyance and sadness. Truth be told, there were very few others.

Where We Left Off

A Dangerous Path begins right with the annoying, namely that the upperhand is gained quite easily by Tigerstar and Fireheart finds himself shocked into silence. I always found it odd the number of times that Fireheart made decisions of inaction, creating problems that would have been easily handled, at least a little bit, if he would just open his mouth. Then there were the moments of ridiculousness. Fireheart regularly let his emotions get the better of him, refusing to take into account his own biases.

Not to mention he’s constantly distracted.

This was all especially frustrating as he was already experiencing such unreasonable antics from his own leader, Bluestar. Letting the trauma of Tigerclaw’s betrayal lead her ability to recognize loyalty in her clan, Bluestar regularly made deeply problematic decisions. It’s bad enough when you have one cat doing it, but two? While Fireheart’s decisions were certainly far more reasonable, he still acted incredibly stupid too often.

But Feels

It’s not all bad, though. Despite the moments of annoyance, A Dangerous Path really gets you in the feels. Even the frustrating moments are thoroughly emotional. It’s easy to become thoroughly invested in the story, attached to the lives of these characters. Already, the fire that devastated the camp has resulted in the loss of beloved clan members. But, at the same time, at least Greystripe is back now.

All these emotional moments almost give you whiplash.

Meanwhile all these different things are happening, many centered around this dark cloud of the pack looming over the ThunderClan cats. Readers are given insight into what this pack is very early on in the story, knowing that it will eventually have an averse affect on the clan as a whole. But the truth behind what will happen doesn’t reveal itself until a group of apprentices, angry about being passed over by Bluestar, set out to prove themselves.

It’s depressing to realize how Bluestar’s own failing confidence in her clan’s loyalty is a detriment to the fiercely loyal cats around her. But it is this that makes the end of this book as powerful as it was.

StarClan

A Dangerous Path is the set up for the final novel in this arc of the Warriors series. It’s the big emotional moment before the hero must go on to face the darkness awaiting him. And I think Hunter does a decent job of setting this up. Of course, it’s a trend you’ve seen before. There’s always that penultimate novel, the one with the sacrifice you knew was coming. It builds everything to a crescendo, readying you for the final fight.

I’ve compared this series to Harry Potter in the past and, ironically, I think the comparison still stands here. Perhaps even more so than it did before.

🦊🦊🦊🦊

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