Book review: Redwall by Brian Jacques
This novel was the first of a long line of books written by Mr. Jacques. While it fits into the genre of fantasy, it is unlike any other fantasy you have ever read. The story takes place at Redwall Abbey, situated on the edge of Mossflower Woods. The Abbey is inhabited entirely by animals. Mice, squirrels, moles, otters, badgers, and voles all live together in a vow of everlasting peace and goodwill toward other creatures that need their help.
As fantastical as that sounds, this by no means implies a vow of nonviolence. In this story, Redwall Abbey is beset by the terrifying Clooney The Scourge, a huge searat and his army of rats, stoats, and weasels. The youngest novice, Mathias, a mouse orphaned by Clooney assigns himself the title of Warrior of Redwall and takes on the responsibility of defending the Abbey against the siege of rats. Mathias struggles through a series of setbacks and troubles until he finally has all he needs to defeat the evil Clooney and his hoard.
This book is simple enough that children can understand it but it is also entertaining for adult readers. The unique setting and mannerisms of the characters is appealing while the background and depth of the plot is sophisticated and believable. That is, as far as talking animals go…
In 1999, the novel was adapted into a Canadian television show. It has the capability to entertain children who are sitting at a lower reading level for hours on end. The story is accessible to anyone who can pick up a book or turn on a television. There is just the right amount of mystery and wonder that is expressed with clarity and humor. And then, if you love the book, there’s more. The next book (chronologically), also adapted into the Canadian TV show, follows the adventures of the Warrior’s son, Mattimeo, kidnapped by slavers to be sold to the evil Malkariss.
If you love adventure and magic, you will love these books. There are enough that you will never get tired of reading about this wonderful world full of prophecy, spirits who look after their decedents, and clever connections throughout time. Every book stands on its own, but references the rest of its brothers and sisters for a unique look into the development of customs, legends, and livelihoods. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read.