Wind – A Warriors Book Review

The fifth installment of the eighth arc, Warriors: A Starless Clan, released on April 2nd of this year, titled Wind. Though I hoped for this book to have more going on, it was clearly a slow-paced and shorter book used as filler. With six books in every arc, it’s typical for at least one or two of the books to be used as filler, nudging the plot along to get to that finale. Considering this is the first book this occurs with, I wasn’t entirely mad at it.

What took me aback when I first picked the book up was a publishing choice. Although almost all (if not all) of the Warriors hardcover books have had a matte dust jacket, Wind‘s is the first I’ve ever picked up that was glossy. I won’t hold it against the content, but I found this random change jarring. I also won’t claim it doesn’t annoy me either, considering it’s in the middle of an arc and will now look off against my collection. Regardless, the cats featured on the cover are Whistlepaw on the left, Splashtail in the middle, and Frostpaw on the right.

Back to the actual review… in this book, our three protagonists, Frostpaw, Nightheart, and Sunbeam, alternate chapters that focus on their individual dilemmas. While Frostpaw tackles how to prove her connection to StarClan and Splashtail’s treachery, Nightheart begins his journey acclimating the park cats to the Clans. Sunbeam has her continuing drama as well, attempting to help her exiled kin, especially her mother, Berryheart, who has an infected wound while remaining loyal to ThunderClan. By the end of this novel, our protagonists’ missions join together. The playful notes I mentioned in Thunder’s review are present in Wind, too, with multiple characters throwing out a joke or light-hearted jeer amid the dramatics. I also admit that though the pace is much slower in this book, it still has something new for each protagonist to focus on. It isn’t as action-packed as the other four books in this arc and the plot twists landed flat, but I’ll get into that in time.

In line with my last review, I considered separating this by delving into each character’s storyline, but I find it more intriguing with this book to talk about the different parts that stood out to me. The rest of this review will have specific spoilers for Wind, so read at your own risk!

Wind starts with a bang, giving a look into Splashtail’s mind in the prologue. It throws us back right before Reedwhisker was killed, showing how Curlfeather and Splashtail were working together. I enjoyed this peek into Splashtail’s thought process, where he originally seemed to be submitting to Curlfeather’s instructions and rule over him but quickly realized her hypocrisy and decided at that moment to eventually go against her. The prologue also sets up his disdain for StarClan and his blood-thirsty actions later in the book. I wish we got to see more of Curlfeather as a villain before she was cast aside, but I’m grateful for what was shown to kick off book five.

It doesn’t stop there either, as the first three chapters of Wind nicely set up each protagonist’s plot for the book. Frostpaw starts us off, picking up where book four ended by plunging into the Gathering to reveal what she’d discovered: Curlfeather and Splashtail conspired to take over RiverClan, but more importantly, Splashtail is a murderer and attempted murderer. I will say this first chapter was extremely frustrating, considering a majority of the Clan cats and their leaders didn’t believe Frostpaw’s new information and visions. The only reason this anger was worth it was because we got to see how manipulative Splashtail and his new medicine cat Podlight were against her. The way Splashtail expertly twisted the story, blaming everything on Curlfeather to clear his name, made me excited about the prospect of how he would continue his villainy. The Clans not believing Frostpaw infuriated me, but I like how that emotion invested me into the story immediately.

Frostpaw continues to be my favorite character from A Starless Clan, her growth refreshing and her storyline unique. In Wind, readers see how much strength she’s returned with, standing up for herself and others and speaking out against even the leaders and medicine cats. In the face of this new obstacle, where she’s not believed and frankly scorned, she holds strong. While Tigerstar and Squirrelstar believe Frostpaw, with Leafstar from SkyClan written off as a lost cause when they back RiverClan, Frostpaw spends the last chapters of the book trying to prove her connection to StarClan to WindClan. Frostpaw receives a deadly omen from StarClan, telling her that a tree will fall on the WindClan nursery during a terrible storm. Considering the rolling hills and scraggly trees nowhere near their camp, the medicine cat of WindClan, Kestrelflight, barely believes her. As the storm blows through Clan territory, WindClan takes this threat seriously and begins to evacuate their nursery. Frostpaw, with Nightheart and Sunbeam helping, arrives in time to save both Whistlepaw (medicine cat apprentice) and the only kit they didn’t get during evacuation. Not only does this prove to Kestrelflight and Harestar that Frostpaw’s visions are real and she’s telling the truth about Splashtail, but this event also gave me my favorite scene of this book.

As Frostpaw cares for Whistlepaw’s injuries, the two converse about how Whistlepaw helped fake Frostpaw’s death in Thunder. Harestar and Kestrelflight had been furious to find out their apprentice deceived them, and for a majority of this book, Whistlepaw was being punished by confinement to camp. In this private moment between the two, Whistlepaw tries to pass off her help as nothing special, but Frostpaw specifies that it was “everything” to her and proceeds to get emotional. Now, while I can see that these two are great friends, I know myself and my fellow Warriors fans see how much potential this could be for a relationship. It would be heavily forbidden, both medicine cats and from different Clans, but the intensity of the care they show each other in this moment is more powerful than some of the canon romantic relationships from the series. What’s unfortunate is not just the rule-breaking that would occur but the fact that it’ll never come to pass. In all of the Warriors books, only two gay relationships have become canon, but only by word-of-mouth from the authors and never explicitly on the page. I have no hope for Frostpaw and Whistlepaw to become anything more, yet I’ll continue to smile at the friendship they build.

Nightheart and Sunbeam, on the other hand, are the only couple of Warriors that are both point-of-view characters. I admit that Nightheart’s character has gradually improved through ASC but I still retain my dislike for them as a pair. They have several sweet, cheesy moments in Wind, like when they talk about kits or when Sunbeam compliments Nightheart’s eyes to distract herself from anxiety; however, they strangely don’t support each other as much as I expected. Even in the same Clan now, with Nightheart returning and Sunbeam’s acceptance, they’re only around each other for brief moments and conversations. When they finally are together to do something, it’s with Frostpaw included. The two of them even comment on this throughout the book, either wishing their mate could support them more or admitting immediately that they can’t care about what their mate is doing because they’re too preoccupied. I want to specify too that both of them do it, though it’s worse coming from Nightheart because he left Sunbeam in the last arc at a vulnerable time. Other than that, I still don’t see as much chemistry between them as the authors want us to. Their relationship lacks depth. I’m more drawn to putting Sunbeam together with cats like Bayshine, Myrtlebloom, or even Nightheart’s sister, Finchlight because of the connections she built with them while Nightheart was gone.

That aside, I was disappointed in how little Sunbeam’s chapters seemed to matter, as my second favorite character in this arc. The trouble with trying to save her mother, Berryheart, and her other exiled kin from injury and loneliness was endearing, but other than pushing Berryheart to RiverClan, it didn’t impact anybody but her. I’m all for character development and isolated stories, but even then it didn’t do much for Sunbeam’s character. It did allow for some good conversations with Squirrelstar as the new leader, which I appreciated, but I don’t have much else to comment about her character. I was happy when Sunbeam was the one to save the kit in WindClan, but other than that, she was fairly stagnant in this book.

Nightheart had a lot more going for him, even though Frostpaw’s chapters were still the most important. In Wind, he tries to help Park Cats Waffle and Wasp acclimate to the Clans and decide their fates. When Wasp decides to return to the park (though he does a little escapade to RiverClan that I won’t be talking about), Wafflepaw stays and gets apprenticed to Nightheart. As my friends and I discussed Wind, we realized how this checks another requirement off for Nightheart to become the deputy in the future. I’m becoming more neutral to him as a character overall, but I’d be upset to find him in such an important role later on. I love Firestar and most of his kin, but I think ThunderClan needs to turn away from putting his kin into important roles. Even ThunderClan characters pointed this connection out, which allowed Nightheart’s character to come full circle when Squirrelstar praised him for striking out on his own path. Yet, that doesn’t erase the fact that Firestar’s kin completely dominates the higher ranks currently.

Now, remember how the beginning of my review mentioned I was excited about Spalshtail villainy? By the end of the book, I’d have to rescind that. While his character was making moves and creating the perfect secretive murderer and manipulator schemes, two scenes stood out as taking him in the wrong direction. With the threat to his leadership, Splashtail begins training RiverClan warriors for battle, witnessed for the first time by Frostpaw’s spying. His unrelenting, ruthless nature is a complete 180 from the suave, charismatic leader he was presenting to RiverClan and at the Gathering before. I enjoyed seeing him and Podlight go to the Moonpool to fake his nine lives ceremony, including how they mocked it and tried to come up with ideas of what really happens, but it was quickly ruined by his fast unraveling. It worries me to see the shift and makes me think that he’ll fade into insignificance when compared to great villains like Tigerstar and Darktail.

In a later scene, when Frostpaw, Nightheart, and Sunbeam go spy on RiverClan, they see Splashtail yowling about three “traitors” who have since left the Clan or disappeared. These traitors are Icewing, Duskfur, and Mothwing, the only cats that Frostpaw was aware were actively working against him. His erratic reaction, though understandable as he feels he’s losing his grip on his story and leadership, doesn’t make enough sense since we haven’t seen enough actions against him through our POV characters. The “shocking” murder of Harelight, his chosen deputy, also didn’t land as I wish it would. When book 6 of ASC was announced, they also released the book’s blurb. In this blurb, Splashtail killing Harelight in book 5 was spoiled. Considering Wind wasn’t even OUT yet, this spoiler was out of left field entirely and ruined their biggest plot twist for Wind.

That’s possibly the worst part of the book solely because of that, and the other plot twist doesn’t help either. During the same meeting, we find out Berryheart, Sparrowtail, and Hollowspring have joined RiverClan. Sunbeam is devastated and blames herself, while Berryheart seems to be enjoying better health in her new Clan. In fact, (and this is where the readers are supposed to go huh!!?), after Splashtail murders Harelight, Berryheart is promoted to his new deputy. The two schemed before to get ShadowClan occupation out of RiverClan, so I honestly didn’t find this as shocking as it was supposed to be. I found myself thinking, “of course that’s what would happen.” The only saving grace from this switch-up is that Berryheart might continue to become a bigger villain instead of getting a redemption arc–something Warriors loves to do for their smaller villains.

It almost hurts to write a mostly negative review of Wind, though I don’t see it as inherently so. A Starless Clan has been my favorite arc for the newer arcs (those considered after Omen of the Stars) and I was looking forward to reading the fifth installment. I didn’t hate the book or anything, I simply found it underwhelming in comparison to the four others. It has good moments, and I never felt like I was forcing myself to read it. I also enjoy pondering the multiple meanings of the arc’s title. While originally it seemed like A Starless Clan would be because of RiverClan’s lack of a true leader and medicine cat through circumstances they could not control, it’s clear that it goes even deeper with Splashtail physically keeping RiverClan “starless” by refusing to get his nine lives and keeping a false medicine cat. I can only hope the arc finishes strong so that ASC keeps its high rating in my heart.

I am excited and a little more nervous than before to see how this arc closes out with its sixth book, A Starless Clan: Star, set to be published on November 5th, 2024. Wind can be purchased on Amazon or other major retailers.

About Hailey Watkins

Hailey is a self-proclaimed bookworm and writer. While she loves to read fantasy or slice-of-life the most, their heart belongs truly to the Warrior cats book series. She has collected and read all of the books in the nearly 100-book-long (and counting) series. She's also a fan of reading Webtoons, graphic novels, and manga, as well as watching anime. When they're not writing about fandom, their day job is as a substitute teacher.

View all posts by Hailey Watkins

2 Comments on “Wind – A Warriors Book Review”

  1. took the words right out of my mouth, this is a stellar review!! you put it much nicer than i ever couldve LOL frostpaw is a champion, love her growth over the arcs!! and though night and sun may have been a bit obnoxious this time around, i think their interactions with other characters throughout this arc have really cemented it already as something to be treasured! though there may be a lot to be desired from wind, I reckon the payoff of Star will for sure be worth it- it must be, considering it’s the first series since power of three to build up the plot for the arc following! I just hope they’ve learned from their mistakes this time around, and are able to finish it off with a bang. Though deep down im afraid they might just pad time out to drag it over into the next arc… i hope thats not the case.

    ALSO IM SO UPSET THAT FROSTPAW DOESNT HAVE HER FULL NAME YET ?!?!?!?!??!?!? STOP DOING THIS TO HER!!!! HELP TIGERHEARTSTAR PLEASE its killing me that we had to wait for book 6 for her name, it better be one of the best because she deserves it ALSO WE’VE WAITED LONG ENOUGH IM FIENDING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Ahh I always love your comments <3. I am also hoping that Star is a good pay-off, even if it has to leave us dangling a little to set up the next arc… and you're right!!! I forgot to mention that Frost is STILL a 'paw. It better be the best name in the whole series for making us wait this long. Or… they can make it up to us by making her leader eventually :).

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