84 of 89 people found the following review helpful
'Redwall' is an exciting adventure that never slows, never bores, and never disappoints the reader. You could say it's a simple "good vs. evil" story between the good, honorable mice of Redwall Abbey and the evil forces of Cluny the one-eyed rat, but that would be an oversimplification. It's much more, largely in part to Brian Jacques and his skillful writing.
As I was reading 'Redwall,' I realized that this book is the perfect transition between young adult and adult literature. If your child is bored with most of the books written for his level, but maybe is not quite ready for one of the heavies, 'Redwall' may be the answer. Jacques tells a very approachable story with a language that will be challenging for some younger readers, but not beyond their reach. His descriptions and characters are painted with more depth than the average young person's book, but the fun and excitement are retained. Jacques is to be applauded.
If your child enjoys fantasy stories and is not quite ready for Tolkien, 'Redwall' is the perfect transition book/series. Enjoy.
76 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2000
Just in cose anyone wants to know, the Redwall books go like this: 1. Redwall 2. Mossflower 3. Mattimeo 4. Mariel of Redwall 5. Salamandastron 6. Martin the Warrior 7. The Bellmaker 8. The Outcast of Redwall 9. The Pearls of Lutra 10. The Long Patrol 11. Marlfox 12. The Legend of Luke
49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2001
I am in 7th grade, and when I was recommended this book, I did not want to read it. I thought it would be talking animals fighting eachother in silly little wars. I was wrong. Redwall is full of action and incredibly clever in how the stories all tie together in the end. It's the perfect story of good vs. evil, and I absolutely loved it. You feel as if you are right there with the mice and moles fighting for the well being of all woodland creatures of the future. The connection from Martin, to Matthias, to Mattimeo is incredible. It is so well thought out that it is no wonder that these are my favorite books. I cannot put this book down, especially when I am within even 100 pages of the end. I have read the first three books, and am starting the 4th. I intend to keep reading the entire series. These books are truly amazing!
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2001
Brian Jacques's first Redwall book is fantastic! Full of adventure and excitement, it will capture any fiction-lover's attention. Matthias, a clumsy, orphaned mouse, is the main character in this compelling story. He was taken in by the peaceful Redwallers at Redwall Abbey,a great sandstone place. It has a beautiful orchard, a nice pond, and nice beasts living there. In the dining hall hangs a magnificent tapestry of Martin the Warrior, the famed warrior and founder of Redwall. The story was, Martin defeated every foe with his sword and then one day vowed to never fight again. He helped build Redwall. The tapestry is the Redwallers' pride. Martin the Warrior was believed to help the Redwallers at troubling times by appearing in their dreams. One fateful day, a large rat with one eye comes. He is Cluny the Scourge, an evil, notorious rat that had a large army. He is looking for a fortress. As soon as he finds Redwall, he decides he wants to invade it and make it his. While he is in Mossflower, he is set on making Redwall his Cluny's Castle. He tries any way to dominate Redwall. Meanwhile, Matthias is trying to prove his worth. He admires and adores Martin. He works out challenging puzzles to find Martin's sword. He basically tries to become like Martin; an undefeatable warrior who fights for justice. Will he succeed? Will Cluny defeat the untrained Redwall army? This tale is truly superb, filled with sadness and delight. You should read it!
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2002
Hi I'm 14 years old actually but I couldn't use the adult form. I wanted to tell everyone under 13 to read this book. It has action, adventure, horror(well maybe not horror)comedy and love. It's a beautiful story and I urge you to read it. I personaly love Matthias. He kind of has the same attitude like me. Always standing up for waht you believe in. Matthias, Cornflower, Constance and Basil Stag Hare are my favorite characters. They're funny, entertaining and its easy just to fall right into their world with them as the "stars" of the book. Mr. Brian Jacques is a magnificent author. I think that his book, Redwall, beat Harry Potter 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7, and 5,6, and 7 aren't even out yet. When I read this book for the first time at the end it brought a tear to my eye when. . . Well if you want to know why it brought a tear to my eye, Read This Book! Then try reading all 14!!
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2000
Brian Jacques' "Redwall" series, starring hero Matthias mouse, has made him a renowned children's story-teller. "Redwall" is the book that started it all, and introduces us to Redwall Abbey, where the Abbot is in charge of a peace-loving community of mice, who are eager to do good to all men...errr...animals. Yes, there are no humans in this fantasy world of furry friends and foes - only animals: mice, sparrows, badgers, squirrels, and of course evil rats, stoats, ferrets, foxes, and snakes - each with its own unique characteristics and contribution to make to this fantasy world.
Conflict arises when Redwall Abbey is threatened by the notorious Cluny the Scourge, an evil one-eyed rat, with his band of equally nasty critters who want to claim Redwall as their own. The Redwall creatures need to resort to desperate measures to defend their territory, but ultimately it is the Matthias mouse who comes to the rescue, after discovering the famous sword of his hero, Martin the Warrior, and emulating his feats.
Certainly there are weaknesses. Despite the clearly religious setting of the Abbey, it never becomes clear what kind of religion this is, and it never really functions in the story-line. There is a great deal of hellish imagery used in connection with Cluny's evil army, where rats "look like the devil himself", use expletives such as "by Satan's whiskers" and "by the claws of hell thunder", and join the devil in hell when they die. Perhaps Jacques is borrowing Christianity as a traditional image of the powers of heaven over against the powers of hell, to underline the struggle between good and evil. Matthias mouse also has his flaws. He is at times rather anti-authoritarian, arrogant, bad-tempered and unjustifiably rude to his enemies, frequently resorting to rather horrifying name calling that hardly befits a role-model.
But despite this, it's not hard to see why children love this series. The fantasy world Jacques has created is compelling, and yet not complicated like that of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". The good characters are loveable, the evil ones equally despicable. The conflict between good and evil is easy to identify. There is no lack of originality, as readers are treated to forms of brilliant military strategy that they have never dreamed about. The creatures' creative schemes of attack and defence, and ingenious attempts to overcome the enemy are constantly charming. There is action aplenty, suspense, humour, even a touch of romance. And children are easily able to identify with Matthias, and join him on his journey to maturity.
This series does not have the makings of a classic like Tolkien's work, because it is doubtful that the appeal of this book will extend much beyond its intended readers of ages 9-12. Adults who continue to enjoy Rowling's Harry Potter and Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins may find this book too uncomplicated and childish. But it would be unfair to criticize Jacques too much for this, because the simplicity of the story-line is precisely what has made this series appeal so strongly to the age group it is written for, and it is this strength that lies behind its incredible success. In the end, this book needs to be judged on its own merits - as a children's fantasy about animals. As such it is unquestionably successful, and deservedly so. Don't doubt for a moment that by introducing your family to Jacques' furry friends and foes you will be doing them a great favour!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2000
Do you want to read a high-quality fantasy novel? Then I would refer you to the nearest library. Let it be a local, school, or your own personal library. Get there fast! I have just read "Redwall" by Brian Jacques. The book has 333 pages, but is definitely worth it. The main character is Matthis, an adventurous, young, and spirited orphan, left at the Redwall entrance. Redwall is a peaceful animal village that has beautiful and elegant . It also has arches and carved figures. The animals that inhabit it are ethical forest creatures. He is now, still young, but quite mature for his age. He has become one of the pack. Full of morales, and caring. Taking delicate procedures to keep others emotions in mind of all. These creatures have always helped others in peril. Now, Cluny the Scrouge, a rat known for being terrible and for taking over villages, is trying to take over Redwall. Since everyone in Redwall is refusing to surrender, they are forced to fight a awr with Cluny, even though it is against their ways. A part that I thought was quite descriptive and exciting was when Mathias and Guosim, a shreww friend of Matthias', fight the adder for possesion of Martin the Warriors' sword. the adder is a legendary snake, foe of all. He is known as "Asmodeus", for the sound thta he makes. Asmodeus is huge, and legendarily known for his viciousness and poisoness fangs. I can't tell you who succeeds, though. Although slightly upseting, it really stood out as how war affects everyone. And it does. The brutality of war even affected Cluny. he literally went mad. I'd describe this book as adventurous and eventful. The characters are believable, but creativly amusing as animals. The plot is, at times difficult to follow, but is riviting at its higher points. I'd recommend this book for anyone who loves animals, but can stand slight gore. Also, this is a long book, 333 pages. So, anyone who can sit still for two seconds, i would probably recommend a shorter novel. I hope you choose this novel to read next.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2000
I remember almost 5 years ago when I caught sight of a friend of mine reading a book called Redwall. I looked at it suspecially, why would my freind want to read a book with a mouse on the cover? (In the past the only fantasy I had been showed was the Narnia stories) I asked her and she told me it was one of the best books she had ever read. So of course I was intrigued and bought it myself. I was immeaditally opened up to a whole new world where animals could talk and laugh and cry and fight.
This book tells the story of Redwall. It's a peacful Abbey ever since the brave Martin the Warrior banished away all the vermin. But when the legendary Cluny the Scourge acctacks, it's up to the mice to fight against them. And then there's Matthias, a strong willed mouse. Will he be the mouse to lead them to victory? And can he solve Martin the Warrior's riddle in time? Read the book I guarentee that you will enjoy it.
378 of 499 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2004
You're looking for books to recommend to your youngest relatives - books that, you hope, will give them the same addiction to reading that has brought you so much enjoyment and value. But you know that kids today have different tastes, concerns, and outlooks than you in your formative decade. What to offer?
Be VERY careful before you offer them this book or its sequels. You can see by other reviews that Brian Jacques has garnered lots of enthusiastic fans. But there are some things that you, a doting parent, grandparent, or uncle or aunt, should know.
First, this is a violent book. There are a number of deaths, some quite awful. Jacques does not dwell on them, but he describes them vividly. Some are bad enough to cause shudders in some kids below the teens, and could play into the fears of some sensitive ones -- like when the fox backs into the giant snake in the dark, or when the brave defenders stop the invaders who are tunneling in by pouring big vats of boiling water down the hole to boil them, and then force the tunnel to collapse on them, burying them. There's an explicitly described, cold-blooded murder by strangulation. And there are many scenes of brutal cruelty, when sympathetic characters are beaten, clawed, and humiliated.
Just because these things happen in a beautifully pastoral setting among cute woodland animals doesn't mean they aren't violent and won't have an effect on the readers' imaginations.
Second, I was irked throughout by problems of scale. Jacques treats all characters and settings as if they were the same size. You have mice working alongside a squirrel, a hedgehog, and a badger. But how can that be? It's as if cocker spaniels stood alongside a horse, an elephant, and a tyrranosaurus rex -- that's how much bigger badgers are than mice. One other reviewer noted this, and the lack of humans. The mice inhabit an Abbey which seems to be built to human scale -- or is it? Because the mice manage to operate the doors and use the stairs, but then, so does the badger, who's 100 times as large. There's a Church of St. Ninian (so it must be C of E!) but it's occupied only by churchmice until the rats take it over. They, too, manage the doors and locks -- how?
In the other talking-animal books we love, scale is dealt with explicitly. In Walter R. Brooks's Freddy the Pig series, the spiders take care to keep out from underfoot, and small animals explicitly ride on big ones, etc. Scale is admitted and dealt with. In Watership Down, the rabbits are rabbit-sized, and other things in the world are their proper sizes too.
In REDWALL, things implicitly grow and shrink to be whatever size suits the animal and the needs of the plot. And that is simply sloppy. It makes it quite evident that Jacques wants to tell a tale of heroic fantasy among people, but he also wants to cloak that tale in the sheep's clothing of a cute animal story.
And that brings me to my final caution, the morality of the tale, or its lack thereof. It seems to me that Jacques has no particular moral stance or concern. He just wants to tell an exciting story with sympathetic good guys beating the snot out of unsympathetic bad ones. And he does, fairly effectively. But the only protagonist who even considers the possibility of nonviolent resolutions, the Abbot mouse, does so only for about 10 seconds, and then turns everything over to his military captains to run the show. There are two foxes who delight in double-dealing, and you might say there is a moral in that both end up brutally dead, but there's no connection between their perfidy and their deaths. One gets caught and is killed by the baddies, the other just has the bad luck to run into that snake. The only lesson to be drawn is that if you want to play both sides of the street, be more careful.
There are many sub-plots, and every one of them that I can recall is resolved through force or trickery. Matthias the Mouse is a Hero because he's a Hero, not by any virtue of a learning process; he never doubts himself or questions the rightness of what he does.
All that said, this is fair page-turning entertainment for a well-balanced child with a healthy understanding of the difference between reality and fantasy.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2001
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. Redwall is a peaceful animal village that is beautiful and very elegant. The animals that inhabit it are ethical forest creatures.The main character is Matthis, an adventurous, young, and spirited orphan, left at the Redwall entrance. He is now, still young, but quite mature for his age. He has become one of the pack. Full of morales, and caring. Now, Cluny the Scrouge, a rat known for being terrible and for taking over villages, is trying to take over Redwall. Since everyone in Redwall is refusing to surrender, they are forced to fight a awr with Cluny, even though it is against their ways. A part that I thought was quite descriptive and exciting was when Mathias and Guosim, a shreww friend of Matthias', fight the adder for possesion of Martin the Warriors' sword. The adder is a legendary snake, foe of all. He is known as "Asmodeus", for the sound thta he makes. Asmodeus is huge, and legendarily known for his viciousness and poisoness fangs. I can't tell you who succeeds, though. The brutality of war even affected Cluny. He literally went mad. I'd describe this book as adventurous and eventful. The characters and plot are unbelievable. Although the plot is, at times difficult to follow, it is riviting at its higher points. I'd recommend this book for anyone who's read Any other Brian Jacques books.