INTO THE WILD By Erin Hunter Book Chat | You’ll Never Look At Cats the Same Way Again
Welcome to the first middle-grade book chat of
Whisked Away By Words!
Ever since I reorganized my bookshelves and put all my Erin Hunter books together, I’ve wanted to reread the series — and then read all the books in the Warriors collection that I never got to reading before. I don’t know exactly why I suddenly stopped reading the Warriors series, but so many new Warriors books have came out since I stopped reading them, AND THAT MEANS I HAVE MORE THAN 36 BOOKS IN THE WARRIORS WORLD TO READ.
I have decided that I shall read every single book in the Warriors series.
I’M SO EXCITED!!!
For people who aren’t sure if they want to read the Warriors books, I’m going to explain what the first book, Into the Wild, is about, and give you some reasons why you should read this book. After that, though… I’m going to jump right into the spoilery section because there is so much I need to discuss.
BEFORE WE DO ANYTHING ELSE, though… we need to do some cover judging.
Part 1 — Cover Judging!
The edition of Into the Wild that I read a couple years ago was the one you see above. Personally, I love that cover. It completely captures the feel of the story, and you know from just looking at the book that the main character is going to be a cat with an orange pelt. (Obviously.) The cat, Rusty, looks so much softer and more unsure than the other cats shown on the cover — his tail, for example, is curled over his paws, while the two other cats in the background scenery seem wild and ready to fight, which is completely part of the story.
I went to the library to get my copy of Into the Wild, and guess what I found?
A COVER CHANGE.
😱 😱 😱
It’s not necessarily a bad cover change, though. The covers are eye-catching and vibrant, and the cats are very detailed. (Do you see those individual hairs on Rusty’s face? Nice.)
However, I am still a fan of the old covers, just because they’re the ones I grew up with, and also because I feel like they capture the feel of the story more. I’m looking at all the new covers, and I can’t really feel the story by looking at them. All I’m seeing are awesome, detailed drawings of cats all looking in different versions and striking dramatic poses with their faces.
Also, be prepared to need to back away from the book a little bit because you feel like cats are a bit toooooo close to your face.
E.g. the fifth book, Twilight, in The New Prophecy series:
Yeah. That was way too close to my face.
*slowly backs away*
Part 2 — Everything Wonderful About Into the Wild
The Warriors books are extremely popular, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard of these books before. In elementary school, when I first began reading the Warriors series, I discarded it because I thought it was too boring. However, one of the reasons why I might have thought that was because there are a surprisingly number of deep and insightful themes scattered within these books — and that is precisely why I think people should try giving this series a try.
There are so many Warriors books now, so I would recommend starting with the original Warriors series first, then continuing on with the books released in order of publication date (which I’m going to do).
Into the Wild, the first books of the original Warriors series, follows a normal house-cat named Rusty as he ventures into the forest behind his owner’s house, attempting to hunt in the wild as he had so many times before in his dreams. Once in the forest, he meets the infamous wild cats that his fellow house cats have talked about, and Rusty is suddenly offered a chance at becoming one of these wild Warrior cats by the leader of one of the clans in the forest. Eventually, Rusty accepts the chance to be freed of the soft life of a house-cat to became a loyal warrior to ThunderClan.
The setting of this book is so fascinating — you have four Clans of cats that live in a forest, each having their own territory. The cats stay loyal to their own Clan and view cats of others Clans as enemies, because once they lose their loyalty to their Clan, there would be no organization or stability in the forest. Into the Wild takes place mainly within ThunderClan’s camp, but WindClan, ShadowClan, and RiverClan camps and cats are mentioned and/or appear throughout the book.
Within each clan is a leader, a deputy, a medicine cat, warriors, apprentices (training to become warriors), queens (female cats with kits or expecting kits), and elders. The dynamics within the Clans regarding how each of the members are treated are so fascinating to read about, and, because the cats’ survival depends on their loyalty to the Clan, the themes of family and kinship are really strong throughout the novel.
Rereading these books make me remember how complex the Warriors books are — they’re middle-grade books, yet they have such complex backgrounds and characters and mysteries. It’s amazing how much the Warriors world has expanded since the first series. There’s currently five completed series of six each, then a new series that has three books out of six published so far, as well as extra super edition books, guides, and novellas. Oh, and there’s the manga version of the story too.
It’s going to take me forever to read everything.
But it’s totally going to be worth it! 😄
My favorite part of reading this book was how my understanding of human nature and animal behaviors blurred. All the characters in this book are cats — and you can totally tell that Erin Hunter did her (well, the entire group of authors behind Erin Hunter) research on how cats act. Yet, because they talk and feel and do all the things that we humans do, I kind of think of them as human characters in cat-forms. That’s how much my mind blurs people and cats together while reading the book.
Random side note:
I used to have a cat, and I had always wondered whether cats liked their cat food.
I actually still wonder that. Apparently, according to the comments of Rusty in the novel, dried cat food tastes dusty and unappetizing.
And, another random thought, if you have nothing else to eat, can you eat cat food and survive on that for a couple of days?
*opens a new tab*
Can… people… eat… cat… food…
Okkkkaaaay. Apparently you can have cat food and not have any problems digesting it/cleaning out foreign substances from cat food, but it wouldn’t be fully nutritious for a person to eat solely cat food to survive.
Books can educate you in so many ways.
Yay books! 😆
That’s it for the nonspoilery section! If you want to fall into the abyss that is the Warriors world, then I would totally recommend reading Into the Wild — once you’re in the world, you can’t not read all the rest of the Warriors books. ?
Deep Thoughts on Into the Wild
One of the things I really loved about the story was how Rusty chose the life of a wild Warrior instead of being a house-cat, despite the fact that he knew being a Warrior would be nothing like his previous lifestyle.
“There’s never enough [food] to go around,” [Bluestar] spat. “If you didn’t live such a soft, overfed life, you would know that!” (19).
Rusty decided to be a Warrior because he wanted more from his life. He knew that as a house-cat, he would only be able to view the forest behind his Twoleg home from afar. He took a risk and decided to delve into the wild and become a part of the family of ThunderClan.
I literally forgot everything from the last time I read these books, but I do know that Rusty-now-called-Firepaw is probably the fire that will “save our clan,” as Spottedleaf had cryptically told Bluestar. I mean, seriously. It’s in Firepaw’s name. The real question is how, and there’s still five more books to read before that’s answered.
I can’t remember the last time I complained about not having any books to read.
El ol el! 😀
Bluestar probably knows this, too, because she told Firepaw that he “look[s] like a brand of fire in this sunlight” (37).
SO. MANY. HINTS.
Throughout the story, as Firepaw learns more about the clan, so did I, as the reader. The fact that medicine cats have this personal connection with StarClan that allows them to recieves messages from StarClan is so intriguing. Also, for a cat to become leader, they sleep near the Moonstone and just like that —
— they have nine lives? (Which is a super creative use of the proverb, btw!) But how does that just… happen?
Let’s talk about Tigerclaw.
I’m sorta scared of him. He’s beginning to be very suspicious in the story, especially with his curiosity about Bluestar’s remaining lives. I think it’s pretty clear that he wants to become the leader of ThunderClan, but I feel like there might be more to the story (because once again, the plotting and revelations in this story are superb and extremely complicated, so I’m assuming all the characters have more motivations than they’re revealing on the surface.)
I have to say, I was kinda weirded out by the moments between Firepaw and Spottedleaf.
[Spottedleaf] looked exhausted and dull-eyed with grief. “I can’t help Lionheart now,” she mewed quietly to him. “He is on his way to join StarClan.” She pressed her body against Firepaw’s side, and he felt comforted by the touch of her warm fur. (196)
I feel so uncomfortable shipping any of the characters in this book not because this is middle-grade, but because the characters are, well, all cats. And somehow that one fact makes the “shipping” part of my brain turn off when I read this book.
So far, my favorite characters in this series are Yellowfang and Bluestar. Yellowfang because I love her personality, and I find her backstory heartbreaking but hopeful at the same time. Bluestar because the Special Edition Warriors book about her was the first book that made me cry because a character died but I don’t remember who so I’m going to need to reread that book to find out — but I can tell Bluestar is a wise character. Her backstory is starting to leak through with all these threads in the story forming, and I have a feeling that it’s going to accumulate into some pretty big reveals later on in the series.
I am SO HAPPY I decided to reread the Warriors books. I forgot how much I loved this world and the characters and the mystery and suspense that’s built into every scene, chapter, and book, and I love how I’ll know all this tension is going to build up in some awesome scene near the end of the series.
A book chat for the second book in the Warriors series, Fire and Ice, will be coming up soon, so watch out for that ?
Thanks for reading this book chat, and I will cya soon!