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  • This is a big step.

  • Today, we start the fourth main series arc: Omen of the Stars.

  • In addition to being my personal favorite arc despite itsum, well we'll get to

  • that eventually, and also being the primary driving force behind my Warriors inspiration

  • and desire to write Paws of Stars, this arc is also important in the overall trajectory

  • of the series.

  • As you will come to see, it marks the end of an era in more ways than one, and ends

  • up inventing some lore that will persist, and warp significantly, through to the present

  • day.

  • The new characters, dynamics, and specific moments this arc created have inspired countless

  • discussions, animations, stories, and otherwise, and content continues to be made about some

  • of the fan favorite characters and scenarios to this day.

  • Yet, this is also the least favorite arc for many fans, and not without justification.

  • We'll have to get into those reasons eventually, but let's begin by focusing in on this one

  • book.

  • The Fourth Apprentice arrived on the 24th of November in 2009, around 7 months after

  • Sunrise, 5 months after Return to the Clans and Code of the Clans, and 4 months after

  • Bluestar's Prophecy.

  • This one was written by Cherith Baldry, who did write the last main series book, Sunrise,

  • but didn't have to write the super edition that came out most recently, so we can hope

  • she had a little more time to contemplate what to do with this story.

  • Starting up a new arc with almost the same status-quo as the last but having to pull

  • a wholly new plot and set of character arcs from it was always going to be a challenge,

  • and it isn't helped by the fact that we are introducing a new protagonist to replace

  • Hollyleaf, who, at the very end, Cherith finally seemed to have gotten a grip on.

  • We'll just have to see how she and Vicky faced those challenges, then.

  • For our allegiance check-in, due to how closely Omen of the Stars follows Power of Three,

  • there aren't as many changes as exist between some arcs, but there still are some.

  • As we saw in Sunrise, Honeyfern died to a snake, Whitewing became a queen while nursing

  • her kits, Leafpool joined the warriors list after leaving her medicine duties, and Hollyleaf

  • was lost as well.

  • In these allegiances, we also learn that Poppyfrost joined the nursery, expecting Berrynose's

  • kits, Millie left the nursery, and four new cats have become warriors.

  • Foxpaw and Icepaw became Foxleap and Icecloud and Toadkit and Rosekit became Toadstep and

  • Rosepetalyou might recall in Sunrise that Spiderleg said he would start spending more

  • time with his kits after Leafpool and Daisy lectured him.

  • With this massive timeskip in his kits lives though, it's unlikely now that we'll ever

  • see that.

  • Anyway, with all of these changes in both directions, Thunderclan has 21 warriors listed

  • instead of 20.

  • Millie and Graystripe's kits: Briarpaw, Blossompaw, and Bumblepaw, are now the apprentices

  • of the clan, and Whitewing's kits: Dovekit and Ivykit, are listed in the nursery.

  • Purdy was also added to the elders' den, which can only be a benefit.

  • As far as statistics, the total speaking cast size for this book is 72 cats, identical to

  • Sunrise, but the top 10% of those cats have 70% of the lines, slightly less than Sunrise

  • had.

  • 51% of the cast is she-cats here, instantly tying Eclipse which had the highest percentage

  • in Power of Three, but those cats still only have 39% of the lines, which was around the

  • average for the last arc.

  • With that said, I am more than ready to jump in because, for better or worse, this arc

  • is something I will never forget.

  • The prologue opens in Starclan, where Bluestar, Lionheart, Yellowfang, and Spottedleaf are

  • talking about how poorly the three's prophecy has gone so far.

  • Despite that, they are sure they have the right third cat now, and hope that Jayfeather

  • and Lionblaze will recognize them.

  • Despite Bluestar's reservations, the group decides on Yellowfang's suggestion of sending

  • a sign, and they choose not to contact Jayfeather or Lionblaze, but the third cat herself.

  • Yes I'm sure a baby will be very well equipped to receive the news.

  • Down in the clans, there is a drought that none of the clans were warned about.

  • Though every clan is upset, Leopardstar is especially angry, accusing everyone of being

  • prey-stealers for taking fish from the lake, which should belong to Riverclan.

  • She declares she will set up border patrols around what remains of the lake on every side.

  • Lionblaze and Jayfeather discuss this and confirm that Leopardstar lost two lives in

  • a row recently which would explain her explosive temper.

  • Lionblaze goes on a patrol to gather water from the lake, and despite a very tense interaction

  • with Riverclan and Berrynose flaring their tempers further, they succeed.

  • Meanwhile, Jayfeather is adjusting to being the clan's only medicine cat, including

  • as Firestar loses a life to a wound from a sudden fox attack that Jayfeather wasn't

  • in time to heal.

  • He feels insecure about his abilities without his mentor around, and it isn't helped when

  • Leafpool comes back from a hunting patrol without any prey, proving to Jayfeather that

  • she's useless as a warrior.

  • He and Dovekit almost simultaneously smell a fire, though the returning water patrol

  • manages to put it out.

  • Oh also Berrynose is being a very overly-protective and condescending mate to Poppyfrost now that

  • she's expecting kits.

  • Chapter 3 finally picks up with our new protagonist: Dovekit, who is going to her apprentice ceremony

  • with her sister, Ivykit.

  • Dovepaw receives Lionblaze as her mentor and Ivypaw is given Cinderheart.

  • Unfortunately, their first day of training will have to be a water patrol rather than

  • anything fun, but Dovepaw is still excited to see more of the territory, and go out with

  • her sister.

  • Dovepaw readily takes in all the information she can get, including the sights and smells

  • of the patrols of warriors in Shadowclan and Windclan.

  • We don't have time to dwell on that, though, because Berrynose and Spiderleg got stuck

  • in the mud.

  • Cinderheart and Thornclaw help to get them out, unknowingly using Jayfeather's stick

  • and causing the medicine cat to get very angry, which no one really understands.

  • Rainstorm from Riverclan also attacks Ivypaw for sniffing at an already-dead fish on the

  • ground and falls into the mud as well, but they save him and take him to their camp to

  • recover.

  • Ivypaw immediately apologizes for getting Rainstorm hurt but Cinderheart and Dovepaw

  • assure her it's not her fault.

  • Lionblaze is asked to go on the patrol to bring Rainstorm back and he brings Dovepaw

  • along, but Cinderheart and Ivypaw aren't coming.

  • Ivypaw isn't upset at all though because Cinderheart promises to teach her some fighting

  • moves while they're away.

  • Mistyfoot greets the patrol curtly and refuses to let them see Leopardstar, which Dovepaw

  • assumes is because they were worried about that sick cat in the camp, one Lionblaze hadn't

  • noticed at all.

  • A moon later, Dovepaw has a dream where she talks to a Starclan cat and hears that hardship

  • and blood loss are just part of being in a clan.

  • Before Dovepaw can respond, she fades away with only a single message on the breeze:

  • After the sharp-eyed jay and the roaring lion, peace will come on dove's gentle wing.

  • She promptly ignores this because there's no reason for Starclan to have contacted her

  • of all cats.

  • Oh also Dovepaw is an amazing hunter, being praised by several warriors and shaping up

  • to be the best hunter in the clan.

  • Ivypaw meanwhile, didn't catch anything because she missed the squirrel she had found.

  • The clan talks about what could be making the lake dry up and Dovepaw says that, obviously,

  • it's those brown animals that are blocking the stream outside clan territory.

  • Everyone decides this is nonsense and that Dovepaw is making it up, and Ivypaw is especially

  • annoyed because it seems like she's just trying to get even more attention than she

  • had already.

  • Lionblaze, however, asks Dovepaw to follow him out of camp, where he quickly tests her

  • with Jayfeather and determines that she is the third cat, which Dovepaw doesn't believe.

  • Still, the brothers let her know what they know up to this point, that they all have

  • powers as part of a prophecy and no other cats can know.

  • Dovepaw insists that Ivypaw must be involved as well, but they tell her she has to accept

  • that she is different from her sister, as they have with Hollyleaf.

  • Dovepaw says that proves they could be wrong again, but when she tells them about her dream,

  • Jayfeather instantly recognizes Yellowfang's description and knows that they were correct

  • about her.

  • Lionblaze tries to talk to Firestar about the brown animals Dovepaw saw but is roped

  • into a discussion about how he should forgive his parents, especially Squirrelflight, instead.

  • That said, Firestar does agree to work together with the other clans to send a patrol to check

  • out what might be blocking the stream.

  • At the gathering, Dovepaw points out Leopardstar as the cat she noticed being sick and, unfortunately,

  • she is still sick now, a moon later.

  • The clans agree to send two cats each to investigate the blockage, although Mistyfoot has to answer

  • for Leopardstar since she was so convinced the other clans just wanted to weaken Riverclan

  • or steal their fish.

  • Lionblaze and Dovepaw are chosen from Thunderclan, disappointing Ivypaw especially, who hoped

  • they could always do everything together, and Dovepaw quickly becomes uncomfortable

  • with lying about how she learned of the big brown creatures.

  • Still, Jayfeather insists it is a secret, and Dovepaw acquiesces.

  • For the journey, Shadowclan chooses Toadfoot and Tigerheart, Riverclan chooses Petalfur

  • and Rippletail, and Windclan chooses Whitetail and Sedgewhisker.

  • All eight cats then set out together on their journey.

  • Some, Toadfoot especially, are fairly guarded and territorial, but each cat is given a distinct

  • enough identity to feel like a unique part of the group, and despite this being another

  • instance of having several chapters dedicated to travel through unremarkable landscapes

  • and minor dangers, it is made better by having each cat's personality and relationships

  • to the others firmly cemented early on, such as when Rippletail rallies everyone to save

  • Petalfur from a twoleg, or how hostile Toadfoot is to Dovepaw due to her being an apprentice

  • and displaying, from his point of view, that Firestar didn't take this mission seriously.

  • Petalfur and Rippletail, despite being more amicable, are the most defensive and insecure

  • since the drought has sapped their clan of its primary resource for food and, obviously,

  • their leader hasn't been doing well.

  • Whitetail and Sedgewhisker, therefore, end up the most willing to cooperate and act as

  • a voice of reason and source of levity respectively.

  • Tigerheart is the only one who remains in the background at this point, but that will

  • change with time.

  • Periodically we cut back to Jayfeather who is just worrying about the prophecy and being

  • a camera into Thunderclan while they're gone, following in the pawsteps of his mother,

  • Leafpool, ironically.

  • The only really important thing to note here is that Ivypaw is getting more noticeably

  • irritated now that Dovepaw is off on a special mission and she's stuck with normal training,

  • but also of some importance is that Berrynose continues to be condescending and overprotective

  • towards Poppyfrost and Breezepelt gets in a fight with Berrynose and Jayfeather at the

  • border that quickly turns into insults about their family rather than clan tensions.

  • Back on the journey, Lionblaze is worried about Dovepaw's capabilities, being so young,

  • and Petalfur and Rippletail finally find a pool of waterwith Dovepaw's help, and