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Warriors series



Cat clans mirror human issues in popular series.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers of the Warriors series mainly encounter fictional cats and their fantastical world, but they may learn a little about forest creatures and gain a general understanding that some types of forest plants are safe and enjoyable to eat (catnip), some are poisonous, and still others have medicinal properties. Kids (possibly with some guidance) may also be able to draw parallels between the different cat clans and human cultural differences that they've studied or observed. For example, the Riverclan cats learn to catch and eat fish because they live near water, the same way some human cultures rely on the sea for their livelihood.

Positive messages

The cat characters in the Warriors series devote considerable effort to preventing war between clans. The books generally suggest that war is destructive to society. Issues between the different cat clans also illustrate the damage caused by baseless prejudice.

Positive role models

Characters such as Firepaw (who later becomes Fireheart and then Firestar) and Graypaw (later Graystripe) set a nice example by helping cats in other clans accomplish tasks that their clans weren't trained to do. For example, Greystripe and Fireheart hunt for food for the cats in Riverclan when the fish supply is poisoned. Firepaw and Graypaw are also among the most vocal in opposing war.


Cats engage in battles and wars, fighting with claws and teeth. Some cats are left wounded and bleeding; some die. These books are appropriate for a middle-grade audience, but some sensitive children -- especially major cat lovers -- might find the books too violent or sad.


There are romantic relationships and attraction between cats, such as Firestar and Sandstorm; cats display affection by licking (not in a sexual way) and admiring each other, but there's no explicit sex. Kittens are born, but conception is never witnessed or explained.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Just catnip.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the original series of Warriors books, first published in 2003, has grown to spawn four spinoff series of novels (The New Prophecy, Power of Three, Omen of the Stars and Dawn of the Clans), as well as other limited series and one-offs. If your child is into these books, they offer years' worth of reading to enjoy. All of the books take place in a world of cat characters that belong to different "clans" that have different talents, abilities, and loyalties. Parallels can be drawn between the clans (which think and feel like humans) and human cultures, making these books an excellent point of departure for discussion about cultural differences and prejudice. Cats engage in wars and battles, fought with claws and teeth, in which some characters are wounded or killed. There are descriptions of cuts and injuries that are tempered for middle-graders, but some sensitive cat lovers could find them too scary. It should also be noted that this series walks a line between opposing war and using violent battle to engage the reader.

What's the story?

The original series of Warriors books, first published in 2003, has expanded with four main spinoff series of novels (The New Prophecy, Power of Three, Omen of the Stars and Dawn of the Clans), as well as other limited series and one-offs. All of the books take place in world of cat characters, which belong to different \"clans\" that have developed different talents, abilities, and loyalties. Though the cats do not display human physical abilities, they think and feel the way humans do, harboring feelings of love, loyalty, and prejudice toward members of other clans. They engage in numerous wars and battles, and develop friendships and romantic relationships. The books explore ideas concerning nature vs. nurture, prejudice, and the dubious merits of war/violence.

Is it any good?


The extensive Warriors series of fantasy books provide almost limitless entertainment for middle graders. While the writing is not of the highest literary standard, the characters are engaging, the cat world is well realized, and the situations are compelling. Like many of the best book series for this age group, the novels include strong male and female characters, and storylines designed to appeal boys and girls. Also, the situations involving cross-communication and relationships between members of different clans create a made-to-order opportunity to speak with kids about cultural differences and prejudice.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the clans, which adapted to their surroundings, may be like human cultures kids have learned about. Can you think of some examples of people who eat fish because they live near water?

  • Do you like reading books that are part of a series? What other series have you enjoyed?

  • What do you think the authors want readers to understand about war and fighting?

Book details

Authors:Erin Hunter, Cherith Baldry, Kate Cary, Tui T. Sutherland
Illustrator:Wayne McLoughlin
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:January 21, 2003
Number of pages:288
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 12
Available on:Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle, App

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Teen, 14 years old Written byAgent663 March 6, 2013

Violent but amazing.

As tvtropes.org puts it: It's a series about a bunch of cats living in a forest which is marketed to ages 9-12 and decorated with colorful covers. But as for what's under the covers? As the title implies, there is a lot of fighting in these books, accompanied by pseudo-realistic (and often very graphic) violence. Pretty much every fight ends with every character involved bleeding from at least one gash, and on a few occasions cats have had their throats slit or torn open and bleed to death. And those are some of the average moments. The series goes on to feature cats having their eyes clawed out, getting run over by cars, being crippled, bleeding to death while giving birth, getting mauled by dogs, being ripped open and left to bleed to death nine times, being slaughtered by an Ax Crazy mountain lion, impaling a mountain lion with a stalactite, falling off cliffs and breaking their necks, getting crushed by trees, having their tails removed, having a wooden stake driven into their throat, drowning in a series of dark tunnels which they are forced to wander for all eternity, bleeding heavily from gashes in their stomachs, being tortured by extremely bloody nightmares, slowly bleeding to death after being severely wounded by a beaver's teeth, hearing another cat screaming in agony as his stomach is ripped open offscreen, etc. How these books being considered child-friendly has never been challenged by parents or bookstores for all these years is a mystery. Not to mention the fact that it covers themes like racism (although towards fictional races, which technically makes it okay), genocide, moral ambiguity, organized religion, insanity, and war. Even though there is a ton of violence (as tvtropes.org points out), the books are quite amazing, featuring a cast of cats with more human traits than most human characters in other books these days. It is sad, epic, and even funny on some occasions! Also, there are about thirty of these books, so you can be reading for a while. In addition to all of this, the heroes are quite fantastic role models, as they do what is right and follow a noble warrior code. I recommend this series to all who can handle the high levels of blood and gore depicted in the novels
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent of a 3 year old Written byNK17 July 2, 2013

Never gets old great series but VERY violent

This is one of my favorite series ever, but it is one of the most disturbing kids series ever and maybe is the most disturbing-- Sex & Nudity 2/10 some minor sexual arguments as well as some secret relationships, but nothing too bad one graphic scene where it describes a mother dying giving birth-- Violence & Gore 7/10 warriors is very violent and disturbing (SPOILERS) many characters die, Firestar, one of the most beloved characters die in the last book, in one book, several cats die burned when the forest sets on fire, scourge mauls a villain alive, this is very disturbing, a mother gives birth to kits and dies bloodily, a mother accidentally cannibalizes her kits, in the final book many cats die-- Profanity 1/10 very mild, some animal themed insults-- Alcohol/Drug Use 1/10 uses of catnip-- Frightening/Intense Images 8/10 this series is very emotional, violent and unsettling even though it is my fav series ever... The most disturbing books to me are Forest of Secrets, The Darkest Hour and A Dangerous Path-- this is my fav series because it is fun, emotional and takes risks, 8 and up but maybe for some 10 and up, due to all the thematic elements, there is also some sexual content but nothing too bad
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byWildAnatolian July 2, 2013

Warrior Cats

This series is AMAZING, by all means read it. Erin hunter created the cat world so vividly, but created the cats with the feelings and personalities that humans experience. The visual descriptions are great, she really paints a picture in your mind, the cats also come up with language that describes the world around them from their point of view. For example, a road is, in cat speech, a Thunderpath, and humans are known to the four clans of warrior cats as simply "Twolegs" The writing and interactions between the characters in the first four series' is phenomenal, as is the storyline. Although in "Dawn of the clans", the most recent series the dialogue is a bit cheesy, the overall story is enthralling, exciting and engaging. This series will turn kids that hate to read dragging parents off to the library for the next installment!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


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