Okay, I can’t do it. I just can’t. I cannot finish reading the Warriors super-edition Yellowfang’s Secret.
Yellowfang is one of my favorite cats from the first series, and although I already knew she dies (because when my son read that part, I found him literally crying his eyes out), I told myself that I knew the worst, and I could get through her super-edition. More Yellowfang to read about! Yay! How could I not love that?
Okay, some background for non-Warriors readers: A couple months ago, I undertook reading this enormous fiction YA series, called Warriors, about feral cats living in the woods in England. My oldest son (White Fang) had already finished all the books published (at that time — there are still more appearing every year), and recently when I was complaining that I had nothing new to read, he suggested his all-time favorite. At first, I wasn’t sure — after all, isn’t it for kids? I mean, that doesn’t turn me off entirely, but still… After two books, I was hooked. (For more details, see: https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/how-to-read-the-warriors-series/, and: https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/what-happens-when-you-read-warriors/)
So, there was the first series…then there are several sequels…and each sub-series has six books… Then there are the super-editions, which focus on the life of one cat in particular, always a main character or narrator, or a cat that was very important to the plot and growth of other characters, so they deserve their own book, and you get all this juicy background detail. Although the super-editions are intended to be read after you read the original novels (series 1-4), I was getting confused in the very first book, and so I actually started off with Bluestar’s Prophecy. It really helped fill in a lot of my blanks, on the life of the Clans and the Warrior code, and the history between some of these major players.
Now, White Fang doesn’t yet own every single novel or graphic novel in this whole series. Hence, there are times when I either need to slow my reading (ha!), or run to the library to grab one he’s missing, so I can continue (at an inhuman pace). Because Yellowfang has died by the end of The Prophecies Begin (sub-series 1), I knew that I wouldn’t inadverently get any new information by reading Yellowfang’s Secret while the library tracked down the novels from series 2 (The New Prophecy) that we don’t have at home.
Sigh… I simply cannot finish it. It’s absolutely because I already know what’s going to happen to her. I know what her losses will be, who she’ll have to say goodbye to, how she’ll struggle, almost lose her way, and how she redeems herself in the end (huge happy sob!). Without giving spoilers (unlike White Fang), I’ll say this — poor Yellowfang had to suffer a lot of loss, and she had a lot of guilt, and remorse, and she did carry a pretty big secret, one that she felt directly resulted in something terrible that could have destroyed all the Clans of the forest.
Now, the fact is, it wasn’t her fault — there were other cats involved, who made their own choices, and some of those choices were really bad. And she did help stop someone who needed to be stopped. She saved a lot of cats. She was the victim of what I feel is an unfair rule, and she had to make a heartbreaking decision, which she hoped would be better for everyone. Since she had to deal with all this, and didn’t let it destroy her — and even more, didn’t let it stop her becoming the best medicine cat the forest had ever seen… Well, all of this is why I can’t read more about her story.
Knowing what she’s about to go through in her prequel just tugs at my heart so strongly (okay, yanks is more accurate). Part of what I love about this series is the way these cats experience such a range of emotions, and we can so relate to their challenges, their heartaches, their joys and successes. Reading more about what sadness I already know is approaching will make me ache for Yellowfang all over again.
She does receive justice and redemption, and becomes known among the Clans for her good deeds, loyalty, and bravery. Her passing is emotional on a number of levels — sad because of the cats that are losing her; sweet because of the reward she’s about to have; a sense of relief because she’ll no longer be suffering; and I personally felt extremely proud of her, for carrying on with her duty and her destiny, and not letting her doubts defeat her spirit.
(I’ll grab you some tissues, White Fang.)
Last night when I told him I’m returning Yellowfang’s Secret to the library only half-read, he said, “I’m going to go on WordPress and tell all your subscribers that you’re being a massive wimp and you can’t finish it!”
Go right ahead, chief. I’m doing it myself.