I — am that is,

Two mice within Redwall.

The Warrior sleeps

‘Twixt Hall and Cavern Hole.

I — am that is,

Take on my mighty role.

I’ve read Brian Jacques’ Redwall twice before, but it’s been about ten years. This was the perfect way to help break a reading slump. The series is a favorite in my family, and has forever biased the way in which I classify various small mammals.

It might technically be considered fantasy, but only in the fact that the animals are anthropomorphic and have their own small civilization without any sign of humans. (Except that Cluny’s army is riding in a hay cart pulled by a horse. What other creature besides a human would be large enough to build a cart and harness the horse, or even need to? I never quite got that part.) There is no magic, or mythical creatures, or advanced technology.

The story is set primarily at Redwall Abbey, home to a peaceful order of mice and visitors of other woodland species, like otters, squirrels, and hedgehogs. They have lived a quiet life for many years, but now suddenly they are under threat from Cluny the Scurge, who has vowed to lay siege to the abbey and use it as headquarters for his pillaging horde of bilge rats. The creatures of the abbey are willing to defend their home and way of life by whatever means necessary, but they must learn how to fight and use their wits. This is especially true for Matthias, an impetuous young mouse who will take up the legacy of Martin the Warrior, champion of the the Abbey at its founding.

There are so many great things about this book. It has a large cast of characters, all of whom are fully formed and get their own chance in the spotlight. Some are warrior types, like Matthias and Constance, others have more peaceful roles, like Methuselah and Cornflower, and Basil Stag Hare provides the comic relief. There is a great deal of looking to the Past to solve problems in the present, which is one of my favorite fictional tropes when coupled as it is here with prophetic riddles and a search for missing objects. The plot is full of adventure and excitement almost epic in scope. There is death on both sides, but we feel the victory even more after witnessing throughout the book the depravity of Cluny and and selfish rats.

The books technically belong to my younger brother and are his all-time favorites, so someday I would like to get copies of my own. This is a book that loses nothing upon revisiting.

Published in: on April 2, 2010 at 9:28 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] of these, as well as the reviews of the other participants! My suggestion for a future classic is Redwall, by Brian Jacques, since I read it for the third time earlier this year and still couldn’t […]

  2. […] is third Brian Jacques’ series but a direct sequel to Redwall. Slagar the crazed fox has long held a grudge against Matthias the Warrior and the creatures of […]

  3. […] is the second book in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and goes back to the time of Martin the Warrior, whose legacy played a large role […]

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