It’s hard to believe I’m here.

There’s sort of an irony to the title of Erin Hunter’s conclusion to Ravenpaw’s Path. The Heart of a Warrior feels very unfitting, if I’m being honest. Sure, like many of the others, this manga involves a giant battle. But does that really make Ravenpaw a warrior? Not only was Hunter adamant about never giving Ravenpaw a warrior name, but the battle was literally to gain back the territory of a barn so he and Barley can laze about all day.

It just doesn’t match, is all I’m saying.

Today, Barley and I are going home!

I’ve not generally been much of a fan of the Warriors mangas. Perhaps, were I much younger, I’d probably love them. I think the unfortunate piece is really that I missed these books when I was younger. I think the first arc had only just been published back then, so this is a testament to the fact that I just grew up before these books got published.

Ultimately, though, there’s not much to Ravenpaw’s Path and, subsequently, The Heart of a Warrior that really makes the story standout as worthwhile to me. There’s a territory dispute and so a bunch of fighting ensues. And really, that’s all there is to it with this story. There’s a minor side plot about problematic family members who take advantage of hospitality. But…in the end, it all just feels pointless.

All brave cats…all trained well by ThunderClan

Ultimately, the only worth I’ve found so far to my experience with this story is the callback to beloved characters from the original series. There’s Firestar, obviously, then Greystripe and Sandstorm. I’ve even grown rather attached to Dustpelt, ironically enough. And with the inclusion of Ravenpaw, we’ve literally got the group of apprentices together again.

I loved that about this tale, but in graphic novel format without much conversation between the lot, the nostalgic love for it is short-lived. It’s a real shame. As much as I loved the original six books, the nostalgic callback really wasn’t enough to sell this spinoff.

And I’ll admit that it’s not terrible. The Heart of a Warrior is still a mildly fun story in the end. I guess part of me just wishes that Ravenpaw had chosen to return at some point.

🦊🦊🦊

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