Alright, before I write this, I want to address something that's been brought up with me a few times concerning my blogs. It seems some of you think that I'm being overly-critical of Warriors or that I don't like the series.
Rest assured, nothing is farther from the truth. I adore the Warriors series. And it's like the argument I keep making about Millie's treatment of Blossomfall: if I didn't like it, why would I even bother scrutinizing it so much? I worry over it and nitpick because I love it and I know that the Erins could do better because I've seen them do better.
And no, I will not stop analyzing it and finding the mistakes and plot contrivances and the bad writing.
On that note, let's dive into The Last Hope.
I'm not sure where to even start, actually. With The Last Hope, I saw the lowest that the Warriors books have ever gotten. I'm not saying anything against Kate's writing, she did an admirable job with what she was given by Vicky and her time constraints.
So I'm not focusing on the writing, not much at least. I'll be mainly focusing on two things: the missed potential and the plot holes. I'll also touch on a couple things that irked more than anything else in this book.
The Dark Forest
Leading up to this book, I saw so, so much potential for what should have been an epic finale. This battle had been building up longer than any plot point before this point. The battle with the Dark Forest itself had been building up since Starlight when Tigerstar made his intentions in the afterlife known, and the battle between Firestar and Tigerstar had been building up since Into the Wild.
But is wasn't just a battle I was looking forward to.
The sheer implications the Dark Forest exposes... The very fact that this place exists reveals a very large problem in the Clans. I'm not saying that evil characters shouldn't be present, far from it. But think about it.
It was once stated (though Vicky has since rescinded this statement, something I'll ignore) that Thistleclaw originally went to StarClan and was chased out because of the opinion of a single cat when she died and saw him there. One cat's opinion is enough to damn a cat to the Dark Forest.
In short, StarClan planted the seeds that turned against them. Sending cats they considered evil to such a horrid place did nothing to placate these cats in the afterlife. It only lead to the dark cats resenting StarClan and the living Clans even more.
But of course, this is never addressed. If anything, it's avoided when Rock tells Dovewing, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather that the rise of the Dark Forest is their fault, for existing. Nicely done, Erins. Way to avoid StarClan proving that they are less than perfect by showing their own guilt in this bloody battle.
And then there are the trainees of the Dark Forest, the living cats coaxed into training in the Dark Forest for some reason or another.
This also exposes a huge problem in the Clans.
Most of these cats were shown to be here because they'd been bullied or looked down on by their fellow Clanmates (Not all of them, cats like Birchfall were there simply because they somehow couldn't guess that the cats that exist in Clan infamy were actually as evil as they looked. In short, they were idiots.) and they felt like this dark Clan would be better than their home Clan. This fact exposes a bullying problem among the Clans and could have been an easy way for the Erins to slip in an anti-bullying message. Would have earned them brownie points in my book if they had. I'm not saying bullying couldn't exist in the Clans, but if these cats were treated so poorly that Brokenstar, a known kit-killer, was preferable to their Clans, obviously it's a huge problem.
The Big Reveals
First it was the revelation that Firestar was the fourth cat (oh, big surprise). My thoughts when this fact was revealed: "Oh, wait, what? So before, StarClan didn't know... they kept saying they didn't know... but now they suddenly know? What?" Really, one day Spottedleaf is telling Jayfeather that if StarClan knew, they'd tell him. But the next Bluestar's telling him that it's obviously Firestar... I was confused, to say the least.
And the announcement was made so bluntly for a mystery that had spanned three books. And Firestar just... accepts it. No drama, no surprise, just "Lol, oh yeah, I'm the fourth. Let's go kick some butt."
Oh, and while I'm on the note of the fourth, the entire search for the fourth cat is really, really stupid and rushed.
Dovewing: Hey, Ivy, do you have powers you aren't telling me about?
Lionblaze: Oh hey, Holly, are you the fourth? You gotta be, right?
Hollyleaf: Lol, no, I killed someone, remember? (because that logic made so sense)
Jayfeather: (runrunrunrunrun to RiverClan) Hmmm, is she the fourth?
Mothwing: (insert incredibly logical statements about StarClan's flaws here)
Jayfeather: Nope, guess not.
Bluestar: Duh, Firestar?
Then there was the revelation of the coming battle with the Dark Forest, which was... incredibly lame and once again rushed. I expected a dramatic reveal during a Gathering, not Firestar jumping up in ThunderClan and announcing it to his Clan and then going off to tell the other leaders the news. And suddenly every cat knew exactly what the DF was... bah, I'll cover that plot hole later.
And finally there's the revelation of the Three's powers to the leaders and medicine cats of the other Clans. Of course, I already wrote on what I think will happen after this point, so I won't repeat what I said there for the sake of saving time.
And, of course, the battle itself. It was bad. For a battle that took up nearly half the book, it was both everywhere and nowhere all at once. No old disputes were really settled, cats just died or ran off.
The only really psychologically-involved dispute shows up when Breezepelt appears and is confronted by Crowfeather, and even that ends as a dud. Crowfeather doesn't try to reconcile the mistakes he made concerning his WindClan son. He throws him off, tells him off, and goes to his ThunderClan kits after telling Breezepelt to get lost. I'm with Kate, I hope that Crowfeather went to find his son and mate and owns up for his idiocy.
The rest of the fights do nothing for me. Even the final confrontation between Firestar and Tigerstar. All most of the final battle came down to was a bad-comic-book-style good vs. evil dispute with nothing but one side fighting another and no analysis of the multiple facets and reasonings behind both sides. The Clans fought to defend themselves and the Dark Forest fought, apparently, because they were evil and had nothing better to do. Oh, they do throw in the goal of "overthrowing the warrior code", but I'm not buying it.
Plot Holes and Dropped Plots
For this, I feel I can express my feelings on this topic in the form of a list of questions. Here goes:
- What happened to Sol? He left in The Forgotten Warrior, vowing revenge, and is never seen again.
- Why is Broken Shadow so calm about finding the son she'd been grieving over for countless years suddenly when she'd never seen him out of the tunnels before this point?
- Why are the Ancients so concerned about the destruction of StarClan? The connection between the Ancients and StarClan is never established or explained.
- Why does every cat suddenly know what the Dark Forest is!? Seriously, before this point it was obvious that no cat that hadn't seen the place even knew it existed. Firestar had even been seen wondering what happened to the spirits of evil cats before this point, pretty solidly establishing the fact that the Dark Forest's existence was a mystery. But suddenly Firestar announces that the Dark Forest is rising, even using the name of the place, and no cat asks what the Dark Forest is, they only doubt that it's possible for these cats to attack them. Even Daisy seems to know what the Dark Forest is. And it's apparently common knowledge in every Clan, since the other leaders know what it is as well.
- How did Ivypool manage to trick the Dark Forest cats into thinking she was on their side at the beginning of the battle? Honestly, the omniscience of StarClan and the Dark Forest is a really fuzzy subject. Sometimes they know everything that goes on around the lake, the next they're missing one of their top recruits revealing to her Clan that she'd been spying the entire time. Really bad time to be looking the other way, Tigerstar, gotta say.
- Where did Mapleshade's hatred of Sandstorm come from? I get that she hated Sandstorm because she had a mate that loved her and the respect of her Clan, but there are plenty of cats in ThunderClan that are in the same state.
- Why was there no resolution for Blossomfall's sub-plot? Honestly, this sub-plot had been a main focus previously, at least from Ivypool's perspective. Even Dovewing had issues with Blossomfall in The Forgotten Warrior. And yet it never gets resolved, when obviously Blossomefall had some huge things to overcome considering her abandonment issues.
- Was there a point to bringing Dovewing's thing with Tigerheart back into the story? With all the rushing the book had to do, I see the love triangle sub-plot as a hindrance that should have been avoided. Really, they had to force Dovewing to suddenly hate Bumblestripe's guts for no valid reason to include this pointless bit. I hate it when authors feel like they should be focusing on something like a romance when there are interesting, important things happening all around the characters involved. I groaned inwardly whenever the perspective of the book switched to Dovewing, since it meant we'd go from focusing on the coming battle and we'd go back to focusing on Dovewing's boyfriends. Even during the battle that's about all she focuses on. I'm just glad she stayed with Bumblestripe. If she hadn't, I would have been off of Warriors for a good, long time.
- What significance came from the Three being reincarnated Ancient cats? Oh yeah, none. It was apparently not even connected to their involvement in the prophecy, since Firestar was the fourth and wasn't reincarnated from an Ancient cat as far as we knew.
- Why was this book so short? This book took me a day to read, not even that since I spent a good chunk of that day driving and in class. So it was maybe a five hour read. Such an important book, the Erins could have turned it into a super edition! But no, they still insist on printing these things off in the space of six months, which leaves a ton of mistakes in the books. For instance, in this book, Mosskit is a she-kit on one page, and then on the next page (and in every appearance after) is called a tom once more. And Mapleshade is constantly called a tortie in this, leading me to believe that Kate looked at the comic at the end of Crookedstar's Promise to see what she looked like, instead of checking the book itself where she's called ginger-and-white.
- Lionblaze is suddenly angry at Squirrelflight again? He'd effectively forgiven her in The Forgotten Warrior. And suddenly Jayfeather and Hollyleaf have forgiven them and understand their motives without us going through what they went through to come to this conclusion... what?
- How was it that the whole of StarClan, plus the medicine cats and Dark Forest Enemy Number 1, Firestar, manage to traipse through the Dark Forest without so much as disturbing the training sessions just on the other side of the bushes!? It seemed pretty clear that it wasn't just a vision, Jayfeather had literally brought those multitude of cats into the Dark Forest, right down to StarClan's kits. You'd think that the Dark Forest cats, so focused on destroying StarClan and Firestar, would have smelled almost every one of their enemies when they suddenly decided to take a stroll through their home. Honestly, they found Jayfeather, Spottedleaf, and Yellowfang quickly enough back then those three went into the DF a few books back, and that was just three cats, not hundreds!
- Why did the Dark Forest back off? This is a question I had with BloodClan way back when. They just backed off and left when their leader fell. But with them I was willing to brush it off since they weren't trained as warriors. But the Dark Forest cats were all Clan cats and all of them seemed thirsty for Clan blood. But the moment Brokenstar fell, friggin Hawkfrost gave the call for retreat. Hawkfrost, of all cats! He seemed like he'd be one of the least likely to make this call, especially at the death of the cat that wasn't even the leader of the army! These cats were nearly unlimited in their ranks, apparently, so why back off? Why not just keep attacking? Oh, and on the note of Brokenstar...
- This is suddenly Brokenstar's war!? This cat didn't show up as a major player of the Dark Forest until rather late, looking back. And yet throughout the book Brokenstar is constantly referred to as the one the army was fighting for, not Tigerstar.
- How did the Dark Forest cats figure out how to become solid in the physical world!? This is never explained, but think of the implications! Death was just a minor inconvenience for cats before, since they just wound up in StarClan or the DF, but now it's just, if anything, a short nap before rejoining the Clans! If the DF cats can become physical enough to attack and kill others in the waking world, so must StarClan cats. What's stopping them from joining the Clans once more? This plot device really, really bothers me... Death means nothing anymore in Warriors, that's that.
- Is the tree that fell on ThunderClan camp just not there anymore? It's not mentioned at all, and the battle plays out as if the tree is not there.
- So, what, did Cinderpelt so to StarClan? Did she just settle down and let Cinderheart lose her Cinderpelt memories? Seriously... what happened?
- Where were Cherrypaw and Molepaw, seriously? They pretty epically failed in their duty to relay information and are just missing for most of the battle. When they do show up, they don't relay any info, they just join the fray!
There's plenty of other plot holes. I might add some as I think of them later on after publishing this blog. Feel free to name a few you saw.
Now, on to the things that irked me the most.
I'll admit, I looked forward to the final showdown between Firestar and Tigerstar, since we'd been denied a chance to see it before. But the pay-off for over 20 books of waiting? A single page with a really lame battle ending in both of them dying. And Firestar's death is so... ambiguous. Oh, he was stricken by a tree? But wait, Kate says that Dovewing just imagined him getting up and walking off and that he died from his wounds... bull. Utter bull. That's just a sloppy cover-up for a horrid plot-point. Oh, and of course Firestar's treated like a God as he leaves for StarClan, the implications of StarClan's hand in causing the Dark Forest to rise aren't addressed, and that's that with Sandstorm left crying, apparently to die soon after.
I... I can't... Ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff...
I'll be writing a separate blog on this subject later.
The Really, Really Small Death Count
We had elders, kits, and Daisy attacked, but the death count came down to 4 for the Clans. Mousefur (whose death was good, in hindsight. I loved her as a character and I was happy to see her die the death she wanted), Hollyleaf, Ferncloud, and Pinenose's unnamed kit. With the sheer hoards of cats attacking the Clans, I'd expect a bigger death count! Heck, we had the same death count when the badger army attacked a single Clan, let alone unending hoards of cats attacking every Clan!
But really, I realize that not every cat that died was likely mentioned or noticed during the battle, but I'd expect that in ThunderClan there's be more than three losses, since this Clan got hit the hardest.
So Was There Anything Shelly Liked?
Well, yes. A couple of things.
I liked the appointment of Bramblestar. I seriously admire him and I believe he'll be an ideal leader (even if he choose the worst possible deputy).
I liked Blackstar...
And... I liked Mousefur's death... (shrug)
And I like that Dovewing wound up with Bumblestripe...
That's about all I could think of...
So, anyone care to discuss? Please remember spoiler tags! And please keep the discussion on-topic and logical. None of that "Omg, Sandstorm should have died instead because she's ugly and Spottedleaf belongs with Firestar even though she's been dead since book one!" BS, thank you.