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Brian Jacques – Redwall

July 12, 2008

87. Redwall by Brian Jacques (1986)
Redwall, Book 1

Length: 333 pages

Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy

Started: 04 July 2008
Finished: 10 July 2008

Summary: Redwall Abbey, home to the a peaceable order of mice, is under attack! Cluny the Scourge, the most famous and feared rat in the world, has brought his hordes of rats, ferrets, stoats, and weasels to lay siege to Redwall, intent on having it for his own castle. While the mice of Redwall and their companions, the woodland creatures, are defending their homes and lives, Matthias, a young novice, is having dreams of being like Martin the Warrior, fabled ancient protector and warrior of Redwall. It soon becomes clear that Redwall’s only hope lies in finding the sword of Martin, and Matthias must face adventures and perils in order to reclaim the sword and save his friends from the treachery of Cluny.

Review: While I found this book to be charming, funny, and overall an enjoyable read, I didn’t find it to be particularly gripping or thrilling. I think that’s because I never really felt a sense of danger; Cluny is made out to be this terrifying villian, but his plans seem as though they’re relatively easily thwarted, time after time, while the good guys suffer nary a setback. I get that this book is geared towards relatively young readers, but I think that age group that would be able to handle the length, vocabulary, and writing style should also be able to deal with a little more actual peril and danger, and perhaps a little more complicated moral message. Nevertheless, as quest-adventure stories go, it’s entertaining and imaginative, with plenty of battles to be fought and plenty of scrapes to be gotten out of, even if you’re never really in any doubt about how things are going to turn out. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: The best word I can come up with to describe this book is charming; it’s not an especially compelling read, but it is a cute, light piece of imaginative fantasy, and if that’s what you’re after, it should suit admirably.

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First Line: Matthias cut a comical little figure as he wobbled his way along the cloisters, with his large sandals flip-flopping and his tail peeping from beneath the baggy folds of an oversized novice’s habit.

Vocab:

  • p. 11: “He amazed everyone with his feats of legerdemain.” – sleight of hand; magic tricks; any illusory feat.
    .
  • p. 74: “It was the common land that had once belonged within the curtilage of St. Ninian’s.” – the area of land occupied by a dwelling and its yard and outbuildings, actually enclosed or considered as enclosed.
    .
  • p. 138: ““This is a leveret dagger. All the young hares carry one.”” – a young hare. (Oh. I guess I was expecting some type of weaponry description. Oops.)
    .
  • p. 236: ““Now listen to me, you pair of scullery fusiliers, I want a decent brunch: half a dozen boiled eggs, some crisp summer salad, two loaves of hot bread, two hazelnut cream junkets, two – no, better make it four – oven-baked apple pies, oh, and chuck in some of those medium-sized quince tarts if you see any lying about.”” – A soldier in any of certain British army regiments formerly armed with light flintlock muskets; A dessert made from flavored milk and rennet (the lining membrane of the fourth stomach of a calf).
    .
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. schildan permalink
    July 12, 2008 12:09 pm

    It’s a great book. At least I thought so when I was twelve.

  2. July 12, 2008 12:18 pm

    I bet it would have been, had I read it at that age. That’s the problems with reading children’s classics as an adult – it’s hard to view it without the lens of the intervening years.

    I have the same problem in reverse, too… there are some books that I loved as a kid that I can’t look at objectively – if I were reading them for the first time now, I’m sure my response would be “…..really?”

  3. lisa liepert permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:58 am

    this is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cool!!!!!please write more.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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