Week 5, Part 2–Redwall

On a whim I decided to re-read the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I read most of it in middle school/early high school, and I have fond memories of absolutely adoring the books–reading them on the bus to and from school, and getting upset at anyone who interrupted me.  I figured I’d see if they still held the same charm.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=Bibliograph07-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0142302376&fc1=F3EDED&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=040404&f=ifrWell, they do! I just finished Redwall last night, and started Mossflower this morning.  Redwall tells the story of Redwall Abbey, a peaceful order of mice whose generosity is known to the far reaches of Mossflower Wood where their abbey is located.  They give healing and care to all creatures who need it, save those who intend to do harm.

When Cluny the Scourge, a sea rat come to land to pillage and conquer all he sees, comes to lay siege to Redwall, the mice and other woodland creatures must put aside their peaceful ways and learn the arts of war to defend their beloved home.  One mouse in particular, Matthias, shows skill as both warrior and leader, and becomes the unofficial Champion of Redwall.  While the Redwall creatures invent clever strategies to defend their home from the rat/stoat/weasel/ferret horde, Matthias searches for the ancient sword of Redwall’s legendary hero, Martin the Warrior. Along the way he meets and is aided by a rather amusing cast of characters–an upstart gluttonous hare, a militant snowy owl, a vegetarian cat, a union of guerrilla shrews, an unintelligible sparrow warrior queen, an ancient mouse scholar, and a very pretty mouse healer.

The premise is creative and sweet, and there are a lot of lessons within the text about honor, goodness, and other noble traits.  In the end, obviously, good triumphs over evil.  Which is the way it should be.  The novel is good for both young people and adults, as there’s a little something for everyone in it–action, puzzles, romance, adventure, suspense.  Really, the only thing that bothers me about Redwall is that at some points it is a bit cheesy (no pun intended) and Jacques’ overuse of exclamation points. 

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=Bibliograph07-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0142302384&fc1=F3EDED&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=040404&f=ifrHowever, I will say that in Mossflower, the second book in the series which tells of the origins of Redwall Abbey, Jacques’ voice is much more mature and less corny.  The writing holds more appeal for me as an adult, the dialogue seems more natural, and there are fewer exclamation points (!!!).  Jacques seems to have settled into a more comfortable writing style, and it makes the book much easier to read.  So far, I’m thoroughly enjoying my experience re-reading these books, and I encourage my friends to take a stab at reading them as well.  I think they may appeal to you for their lightheartedness, the adventure contained within, the quality of the story, and the unutterable cuteness of a bunch of talking mice, squirrels, hares, voles, shrews, hedgehogs, and moles.


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