My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’d always wanted to read the Redwall series when I was a kid, but I somehow never got around to it. I enjoyed fantasy lit, but didn’t really know which series or books were good.
I’m kind of glad that I didn’t get sucked into the world of fantasy lit as a kid; I could have ended up wasting my life on D&D instead of enjoying the life of the starving writer (and I do enjoy it, believe it or not). But I’m also glad that I finally got to experience Redwall, and at a time of life when I won’t be as tempted to make it my entire life.
The Redwall series is based at an abbey of mouse monks. The mice of Redwall are kind and gentle souls, friends with most of the other animal citizens of the Mossflower Woods. Our hero, Matthias the Mouse, is a young mouse living in the abbey. He doesn’t see anything remarkable about himself, but when Mossflower and Redwall come under attack by the evil rat Cluny the Scourge, Matthias has to rise to the occasion.
Matthias is determined to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior, which legend says is hidden somewhere in the Abbey. With the help of Methuselah, an older, wiser mouse, and the moral support of Cornflower, his love interest, Matthias bands the mice of Redwall and the residents of Mossflower together to stand against Cluny and to protect their peaceful way of life from these oppressors.
The first book in the Redwall series is full of fun and adventure. It’s decently written, and the characters are endearing. It’s easy to see why the other characters in the book love Matthias so much — it’s because he loves them. His love for Redwall and Mossflower are contagious, and his passion to save his home quickly ignites similar passions in his fellow mice, his woodland neighbors, and in the reader.
While it’s a great way to start off the series, Redwall makes a great stand-alone volume, too. It’s nice to see a book in a series that isn’t just treated like a means to an end.
That said, I’m still interested in reading the next book in the series, which I hope to be able to do soon. I liked Jacques’ characters enough to want more of them, even though there was adequate closure in this volume. That’s the sign of a compelling story.