I will not lie. When I first picked this book up and flipped through it, I had my doubts. After the literary insult that was "The Power of Three" I was skeptical, and it was only my loyalty to the series that left me with sixteen less dollars in my pocket. I put of reading it for a few days, afraid that I was about to enter the plotless filler-infected mess that had become the third series. And even as I picked at the first few chapters, I was worried. Had my favorite feline series finally taken the leap?
But I read on.
Past the first few chapters, reminding us of our Warriors universe, introducing us to some new problems, and reminding us of the last six books, the story began to take shape. A new Main Character was introduced, and although I was unsure at first, I found I liked her spunky attitude and loyalty to her kin. As well as the new character, I was reunited with some old friends, some I had missed, others I hadn't. Lionblaze, who I had despised in the TPOT, caught me now as a sort of flat character, one who seemed to meld into the background. Jayfeather, my second favorite of the original three, surprised me with his maturity and insecurity, and I found his chapters to be thoroughly enticing.
After the first few chapters of dryness, I found with pleasure that the story really started to heat up. A somewhat original plot was introduced, and pleasantly it wasn't about beating around the bush to find the titled 'Fourth Apprentice'. Instead, it was getting right to the point and giving us what we wanted. To have a straightforward answer, here she is, here's what she can do, here's how she does it.
The heart of the book was mostly around the new character, Dovepaw, and her comrades going on a journey to end the drought that had plagued the lake since the beginning of the book. That was okay, nothing warriors hadn't done before. It kept my interest well enough, but I wasn't impressed. What really got my hear racing was the events back at the camp, with Jayfeather and his adventures. Big leaps and bounds were made in the plotline there, and I found myself thoroughly enraptured in it. With what the Erin's are suggesting for the rest of the books, I am delighted. It has the promise of seeing old friends, enemies, and tying up loose ends that were left from any number of the older books. (I don't doubt we'll be seeing a few familiar old faces such as Ashfur, Hollyleaf, Scourge, as well as any number of old ThunderClan heroes.)
In the transition from the giant prologue that was The Power of Three, I feel that the Erins have finished their hinting, poking, and Tigerstar throwing, and have set up loyal Warriors fans for a riveting new ride.