“I’m going to die whatever you do, but I’m not afraid.”

As Erin Hunter’s Rising Storm begins, Tigerclaw has finally been ousted from Thunderclan, his treachery revealed. But despite the devious deputy’s absence, the threat of him hangs over the clan still. And with the departure of Graystripe to deal with alongside Fireheart’s new responsibilities as deputy, the young cat’s stress level rises. Suffice to say, Fireheart certainly begins this novel feeling a little out of his depth.

However

Named deputy in large part due to the fact that Bluestar is at a loss for who she can trust, Fireheart takes on his new role keenly aware of how much is falling on his shoulders. Portrayal of support and leadership during hard times is really where this novel shines. Despite Bluestar’s decent into depression, Fireheart takes on the mantle of leadership well. And he does so because he has support from the members of his clan.

Despite some thinking his time as deputy will be fraught with misfortune do to a break in tradition, Fireheart takes his responsibilities seriously from the start. In a way, he nearly becomes leader as Bluestar isolates herself from the rest of the clan. He gets a large amount of help from Whitestorm, an older tom, and Sandstorm, the cat he begins to develop feelings for.

All seems to be going alright, with the exception of Bluestar’s continued withdrawal from her clan. That is, until a terrifying fire comes to take hold in their forest. Soon Thunderclan is forced to abandon their home, setting out across the river in search of safety. Unfortunately, not everyone makes it.

Responsibility and Maturaty

Rising Storm is the novel where we see Fireheart really start to grow up. Unfortunately, it’s also the beginning of his struggles with leadership. It’s very clear that Fireheart is still a young cat. He’s unable to fully take his emotions out of his decisions and his leadership suffers for it. It didn’t get annoying in this novel, but the number of times he said something dumb or made an idiotic decision was a bit excessive. There were so many instances in which I just felt like he was taking actions that were detrimental to his and the clan’s needs.

Of course, Bluestar’s state of mind didn’t help in the slightest.

In a way, you kind of expect a lot from Fireheart at this point. Though it hasn’t been an incredible amount of time since he joined the forest, you still sort of see him as an adult now. This made his difficulties with Cloudpaw somewhat annoying to read through. At points, you hope for him to be a better mentor and for the apprentice to learn, but it doesn’t quite happen. Instead, it takes an incredible shock for Cloudpaw to learn his lesson.

Speaking of Shocks

The biggest shock of this novel comes with the ending. After some time spent wondering what happened to Tigerclaw after he was ousted from the forest, you finally learn right alongside Fireheart what the manipulative cat has managed. I can’t recall, exactly, if I was surprised the first time I read this series. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had been.

Rising Storm ends on perhaps the biggest cliffhanger of the series. It’s one that demands you go and pick up the sequel immediately after finishing. I deeply enjoyed the fourth novel of the first Warriors series. And let’s just say I picked up book five rather quickly.

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