“Redwall (Redwall #1)” by Brian Jacques
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
As the inhabitants of Redwall Abbey bask in the glorious Summer of the Late Rose, all is quiet and peaceful. But things are not as they seem. Cluny the Scourge, the evil one-eyed rat warlord, is hell-bent on destroying the tranquility as he prepares to fight a bloody battle for the ownership of Redwall.
What can the peace-loving mice do to defend themselves against Cluny and his army of rats? If only they had the lost sword of Martin the Warrior, they might have a chance. But the legendary weapon has long been forgotten — except, that is, by the bumbling young mouse apprentice Matthias (formerly Redwall’s most awkward novice) who, in the course of his quest, forges strong ties with various local animals and becomes the unlikeliest of heroes.
At first glance, this really doesn’t seem like a book for me. I have nothing against fantasy books involving quests, warlords, battles, and villains. For the most part, they’re really just not for me. But Redwall is a highly loved series so I thought I’d give it a shot.
It’s amazing how much an impact the characters have on a story. If this exact same story had been told without the animals, I don’t know if I would have even read the book. The characters made all the difference in the world to me. Maybe it’s my childlike nature but I thoroughly enjoyed imagining animals running around with bows, arrows, and swords. It’s quite amusing. The silliness of that kept me reading.
I thought the pacing of the book as a bit slow. I was never completely glued to the story. I found myself getting bored and distracted quite easily. It definitely wasn’t the type of book to keep me glued and neglect my other duties. It’s more of a ‘read a small chunk a day’ type book. Maybe a good book for reading aloud to kids?
In many respects this is a very typical children’s book. We have talking animals running around with swords. There were many instances where things got a tad bit dark (mildly gruesome deaths) which surprised me. I liked the fact that even though this was a children’s book, it didn’t talk down or belittle children. There was violence, some mild language, and characters died. I didn’t feel like things were changed simply to be more appropriate for kids. I felt like the author knew just how far he could take things without babying the kids and upsetting the parents. He treated the audience very maturely.
The book was cute and charming but I didn’t love it. I think part of the problem was I was reading for the first time as an adult. I know if I had read this at 9/10 years old I would have enjoyed it much more.
3-As an adult, I enjoyed it but wasn’t totally wowed by it.
4-It’s definitely something to have around for kids to read.
5 thoughts on “Book Review: “Redwall””
I first read Redwall when I was…12 or 13? Because a friend forced me to, basically. She LOVED the series (she had ALL THE BOOKS), I thought it was just okay. I haven’t read them since high school so I have no idea if I’d still think they were okay or if I’d just be really bored.
Hmmm they must be one of those books that a LOT better if you read it as a kid.
I think you’re probably right about the books being more effective if they reach you early. Personally, I always privately thought of them as being “book candy” – perhaps not the most intelligent read, but (for me) a good engaging story that I’ll finish inside of a week if I let myself (fast for me).
You still have Mossflower(perhaps my favorite of the series), right? Think you’ll try reading it for the blog eventually? Or is Redwall the only review you need for… Redwall…?
Good call keeping the books around though for your children: I’m sure they’ll love it as I did.
Unrelated: Ever thought to review Peter Pan, or Alice in Wonderland?
I do have Mossflower. It’s still sitting on my unread shelf. I intend on reading it at some point and more than likely I’ll post a review. Depending on how life/blogging goes I’d likely read more of the series assuming the library has them.
Even though I didn’t completely love them as an adult, I think they’d quite a bit of fun to read aloud with children.
I have thought about it. I actually have both on my Kindle (yay free public domain books!). I’ve read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Though the Looking Glass within the last few years but I enjoyed them enough to probably reread them. I keep telling myself to read Peter Pan but just never get around to it. I’m hoping to read it before the year is up. At this point, I’m going to review anything I read/reread so you can likely expect a review for them!
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