“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.