Redwall by Brian Jacques
Book 1 in the Redwall series
Genre: MG fantasy
Format: paperback, owned
Redwall is by far one of the most unique books I’ve read. It’s about a bunch of friendly mice and woodland animals that live in this fortress called Redwall Abbey, which is known for its peacefulness and hospitality, but then an evil rat named Cluny the Scourge tries to invade with his horde of rats, weasels, and ferrets.
Now, that probably sounds silly, doesn’t it? It’s not. It was a great book and I really enjoyed buddy-reading it with my sister, but it didn’t blow me away.
Like I said, it’s a very unique book, but it was very fast-paced. Cluny, the main antagonist, was introduced in the second chapter, and his intentions were made clear before chapter ten. From there it moved quickly into battles as Cluny tried time and time again to get inside the gates of Redwall. A lot happened in between these battles as well. While I enjoy fast-paced books and did enjoy this, I do wish that there had been a bit more time to learn about Redwall and its inhabitants.
Even from the very beginning, there were a lot of characters in this book, and many more were introduced as the story progressed. Due to the sheer number of characters, I’ll only be talking about a few of the most important ones. 😉
The main character is a mouse named Matthias. When I first met him he was just another mouse in Redwall that happened to be particularly clumsy. He grew tremendously as the story continued, and by the end he was a brave, amazing warrior. He was always determined to do the right thing for Redwall and I admired that
even if it meant doing something dangerous without telling anyone and worrying his friends. I really liked him, but for some unexplainable reason, I just didn’t love him.
Another important protagonist is Constance. She’s a wise old badger and sort of like Redwall’s general. She made most of the important decisions in battle and supervised the defenders on top of the wall. She was an epic fighter and took every chance she got to antagonize the rats from afar. 😛 I really liked her bravery and loyalty, and just her as a character overall.
Then there’s Cluny the Scourge. As you likely know by now, he’s the main antagonist and he was determined to invade and take over Redwall. His name was known and feared by everyone inside and out of Redwall. He was a great villain and one I enjoyed disliking, and I have to give him credit – he was seriously clever, and he knew how to order people around. 😛 The only other thing I’ll say is that he got what he deserved.
Finally there’s Asmodeus, an adder and another antagonist. If you’re not familiar, an adder is a highly venomous snake with a very hypnotic gaze. He isn’t mentioned until roughly halfway through the story and doesn’t really come into play until ¾ in, but he still played a significant role. I don’t have a lot to say about him, other than the obvious fact that I didn’t like him and I think he, like Cluny, got what he deserved.
There was a huge array of side characters and three of them were my favorites from the book. Basil Stag Hare is, obviously, a hare, but he’s very comical and kind of like a lieutenant to Constance. He was a very good friend to Matthias. Then there’s Silent Sam, a young squirrel that never talks and constantly sucks on his paw. He had a very intelligent mind that I thought was impressive because he was so young, and he’s just absolutely adorable. ❤ Finally I want to mention Warbeak. She’s a young sparrow, and sparrows are incredibly aggressive. Her friendship with Matthias is complicated, but she’s very important later on in the story and I just really liked her. 😀
The young mouse spoke his thoughts aloud. “Hmm, this could present a little problem.”
A strange voice answered him. “Problem, a little problem? Well at least it’s not a fully-grown adult problem.” -Matthias and Basil
“Phew! Dear, dear, don’t you chaps ever take a bath? Listen here, you dreadful creature. D’you realize that you smell to high heaven? Er, by the way, did your parents ever call you Pongo, or did they smell as bad as you?” -Basil
The story took place in Redwall Abbey and the surrounding area, Mossflower Wood. Both were described very well and I could picture them vividly in my head as I read. It was especially fun for me to imagine everything tiny for woodland animals to use. 😀
I think Redwall was meant to be in a secluded, woodsy area of England, but I’m not sure. The characters used terms and language that sounded English, but I don’t know if that’s because they actually are in England or if it’s just the author’s natural way of writing because he’s English. It’s a tiny detail, but it did leave me wondering.
Redwall is all about peace and kindness, so everyone there had a strong friendship with one another. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. I thought it was refreshing for everyone to like each other and have only a shared dislike of an enemy. Even though this is only a MG series, I feel like this could set a good example for YA books.
There wasn’t any romance in this book until the very last chapter and I’m totally okay with that. This book was meant to be centered around adventure and fighting off evil, and I think having a romantic element would’ve taken away from that. But I was very happy with the couple that ended up together in the very end. 🙂
The story wasn’t a really wild ride, but there were a few things that I definitely didn’t see coming. It was far from predictable, but it just didn’t blow me away like some other books did. 😉
However, I did think that some things were a bit too easy for Matthias. I understand that things won’t necessarily be as complicated as in a YA book, but I think it would’ve been more realistic if some of Matthias’ tasks were slightly more challenging. The final battle was challenging and I was thankful it was, but I admit I wish there were more moments like that in the story.
This isn’t exactly a criticism, but some of the names in this book were really weird, even for animals. Some of the ones I found especially weird were Killconey, Cheesethief, Ragear, Mangefur, Scumnose, and Cluny. I didn’t mind it that much, but occasionally it was a little bit difficult for me to take Cluny and his followers seriously with names like that. I’m just putting that out there…
Redwall was a fun fantasy read, but it wasn’t amazing and I did have a few issues with it. I might read the sequel, Mossflower, but I’m not sure yet.
my rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! 🙂
I’ll be continuing my read of Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout next! I’m currently on page 41. 🙂