RISING STORM by Erin Hunter Book Chat | An Insightful Story About Rivalry, Fear, and Right Choices
I went into this book already knowing what would happen at the end.
How, exactly, did I know this? Because I accidentally spoiled myself for Rising Storm by reading the first few chapters of the next book, A Dangerous Path.
I had taken A Dangerous Path with me to school instead of Rising Storm, and after being completely confuzzled as how things got to the point they were in the story, I looked at the spine and *GASP* realized it said BOOK 5 instead of BOOK 4. At that point I was faced with two choices: 1) do I not read the book and just sit there? or 2) do I continue reading and further spoil myself for Rising Storm?
Yup. I chose Option Number Two.
Anyways, for the sake of this book chat, I’ll keep it free of spoilers from the fifth book. Rising Storm was a very intense book. A lot of heavier themes appeared in this book, and this is why I think the Warriors series can be read by anyone of any age. When I read this series in elementary school, I definitely did not catch these heavier and more complex themes, and I think by noticing and understanding these themes now, it shows how much more I know about the world. That is the fantastic part about rereading books — you have something to gauge whether you’ve grown or not.
There is much to discuss for Rising Storm, so let’s get started with the
The Theme of Rivalry Between the Clans
One main force that drives the entire series is the rivalry between the Clans — it causes conflict, fighting, and loss. However, sometimes the Clans have no other option but to help each other during difficult times, such as when ThunderClan helped bring WindClan home.
Despite these moments of bonding and understanding between the Clans, however, there’s always an underlying rivalry between them. It’s almost like they’re always telling each other that the Clans can never truly be friendly with each other, at least not for a long period of time.
I think that the Clans don’t know how to be friendly with each other. I mean, if you think about it, they almost seem to fear becoming friendly with each other and view the Clan rivalry as something they will always have to deal with. If one Clan feels threatened by another Clan, they immediately turn hostile and return back to a rivalry that is both familiar and comfortable to them.
Perhaps part of the problem is that young kits and apprentices are told from the moment that they are born — directly or indirectly — by the older Warriors that loyalty can only exist within their own Clan, and that all the other Clans are out to get them.
The Gatherings are supposed to be a time for all cats from all four Clans to peacefully share news with each other. Even then, though, the environment is tinged with distrust and hostility. In addition to not knowing how to be friendly with each other, I think all four Clans have this rivalry because of their fear of the unknown. If they let go of this rivalry passed down from generation to generation, they wouldn’t know how to function.
The Clan cats have existed for generations with this rivalry sizzling between them, and without it, unpredictable things may happen. Fear of this unpredictability keeps the Clan cats from trying to forge more positive relationships with each other, and I wonder if the four Clans will eventually get past this fear in the later Warriors series?
Theme of Compatibility for Relationships
Since this is a middle-grade book, I’m assuming that most people who are reading this book are children — or those who are older first read this book when they were children (me!). I think the theme of compatibility for relationships is so wonderfully portrayed in this novel, and this theme is so important for children to understand.
[O]ne of the reasons [Yellowfang] and Cinderpelt got on so well was that Cinderpelt was more than capable of standing up to Yellowfang’s irritable outbursts. (30)
The best example of this would have to be Yellowfang and Cinderpelt’s relationship. Yellowfang probably has the shortest temper out of all the ThunderClan cats, and she definitely doesn’t mind saying harsh things to her apprentice, Cinderpelt. Cinderpelt, on the other hand, has a very patient, understanding, and sweet personality.
One would think that because of Cinderpelt and Yellowfang’s personality differences, they wouldn’t be a good mentor-apprentice match — but they are. Because Cinderpelt is so patient, she’s one of the only cats in ThunderClan who can work with Yellowfang all day and not storm out of the medicine den muttering about how rude Yellowfang is. Even Cinderpelt mentions how she enjoyed Yellowfang’s flashes of temper and harsh words, because at least she knew that when Yellowfang gave her a kind compliment that Yellowfang truly means it.
Another example would be Fireheart and Cinderpelt’s friendship. Though he is deputy, Fireheart still has much to learn about the workings of the Clan, and with his best friend Graystripe gone, he needs to lean on Cinderpelt more than ever now. While Fireheart constantly doubts his decisions and is often unsure about what to think or believe or do, Cinderpelt offers him advice that helps him gain more confidence within the Clan — and somehow, she always seems to know what’s bothering Fireheart.
[Cinderpelt’s] eyes flashed with curiousity. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Tigerclaw’s kits.” Fireheart felt the bleakness seep into his belly again. “Especially Bramblekit.”
“Because he looks like his father?” (31)
When finding and choosing friends, it’s so important to see if you both compliment each other and can fill in weaknesses the other has with your strengths. Cinderpelt gives Yellowfang her patience and let’s Yellowfang rant whenever she needs to, while Yellowfang gives Cinderpelt the perfect amount of meaningful praise and affection she needs. Cinderpelt can tell exactly what Fireheart needs and is always there to give him advice, but I don’t think Fireheart gives anything to Cinderpelt in return… maybe insight on what other members of the Clan may be thinking?
(Ugh Fireheart is so much like Harry Potter in the sense that a female side character (Cinderpelt=Hermione) is very much the reason why he grows as a character, but he doesn’t exactly help the female character grow as much as they help him. Grrrrr.)
But I just… when it was confirmed that Yellowfang was dead… ? All I could think about was how much it would affect Cinderpaw. With Bluestar weak from grief, if Cinderpaw also was weakened, then ThunderClan would be in deep trouble.
Bluestar & Grief
I found it pretty hard to describe what Bluestar was going through after Tigerclaw betrayed ThunderClan, but I think the term “grief” accurately describes Bluestar’s current state in this series. In Tigerclaw’s betrayal, Bluestar had lost someone she trusted with her life, as well as the previous comfort she had that every cat in ThunderClan was loyal to her and the Clan.
This loss affected Bluestar so brutally, and it was very frustrating to read about Fireheart not understanding why Bluestar’s grief.
[Bluestar] had clearly recovered from her physical injuries after the battle with the rogue cats, but Fireheart didn’t know whether to feel relieved or worried by this. Why hadn’t her mind recovered as quickly as her body? (40)
Then there came Bluestar’s loss in belief of StarClan, which was quite frightening, since all the Clan cats seem to believe very strongly in StarClan — and it’s part of the Warrior Code to do so.
“My kits needed me once, but I gave them to another Clan to raise,” [Bluestar] whispered. “And why? Because StarClan told me I had a different destiny. Is this it? To be attacked by traitors? To watch my Clan die around me? StarClan was wrong. It was not worth it.” (301)
Bluestar just keeps getting more bitter and bitter as the book goes along, and the more she mentions her kits, the more I want to read Bluestar’s prophecy to understand her tragic path. Bluestar clearly has a fantastic life story that needs to be heard, but she’s been bottling it up for too long. I’m kinda worried about how emotional I might be when reading Bluestar’s Prophecy, though… 😯
Tigerclaw’s BAAAAAACK! (Ugh)
I managed to catch some clues throughout the book that hinted how Tigerclaw was still in ThunderClan territory — and what he would become by the end of the book.
Cloudpaw’s pigeon was taken!!!
Fireheart pushed away his rising exasperation. “Did you fetch that pigeon?”
“I couldn’t. It was gone.” (71)
This was clearly a clue that Tigerclaw was still roaming in the forest, and that either he or the other cats following him were actively hunting in the territory.
Fireheart felt his eyes cloud with anger. “Because ThunderClan didn’t give [Tigerclaw] what he wanted.
“What did he want?”
“To be leader,” Fireheart answered simply. (196)
This quote was definitely an indication that Tigerclaw was going to be leader of… something. 😊
How could the ShadowClan leader be dead? He had only recently received his nine lives. What a terrible sickness! No wonder Littlecloud and Whitethroat had been so afraid to return to their camp. (313)
I couldn’t help but think that, because of the way this was phrased, that this was a clue that Tigerclaw had killed Nightstar in order to pave the way for him to become leader of ShadowClan. I hope this gets confirmed later in the series 😊
And I do realize that there are only three clues, but it’s better than zero. Yay improved predicting skills (which was helped by the fact that I accidentally spoiled myself for the ending BUT IT STILL COUNTS)!
“Sometimes there are no right choices.”
The part of this story that touched me so much was when the ShadowClan cats, Littlecloud and Whitethroat, sneaked inside ThunderClan territory to seek help and medicine, since ShadowClan was so weak from the sickness that they’re own medicine cat couldn’t help the rest of the Clan. Cinderpelt wanted to help them and did secretly for a while, but Fireheart, though he was very conflicted, decided to turn away the sick ShadowClan cats.
“Sandstorm and I will escort the ShadowClan warriors back to their border.” Mews of approval rippled through the other cats. Littlecloud stared at Fireheart, pleading with his eyes. Fireheart forced himself to look away. “Go back to your dens,” he told his Clanmates. (94)
Gaaaah — that part when “Littlecloud stared at Fireheart, pleading with his eyes” absolutely broke my heart. I was instantly reminded of when Bluestar told Fireheart that “Sometimes there are no right choices” in the last book, Forest of Secrets. That quote works so perfectly in this situation — sometimes there truly are no right choices. By letting the ShadowClan cats stay in ThunderClan, Fireheart risked ThunderClan catching the rat’s sickness as well. However, by forcing the cats to leave, he was ignoring the pity he felt for the cats, and the voice that told him that he should help all cats, no matter which Clan they’re from.
As you can see, this was a very deep novel — the themes got really interesting and really made me think more about morals, right choices, and rivalry.
I hope you enjoyed this book chat, and I will cya next time!