- Age Range: 8 and up
- Grade Level: 3 and up
- Series: The Mistmantle Chronicles (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 282 pages
- Publisher: Miramax Books (September 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786854863
- ISBN-13: 978-0786854868
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Urchin of the Riding Stars (Mistmantle Chronicles, Book 1) Hardcover – September 2, 2005
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A young squirrel determines his true destiny in this Redwall read-alike by British author M.I. McAllister. A foundling discovered on the rocky shore of Mistmantle Island, Urchin has been raised by the peaceful order of rodents and otters that live and work on the magical isle. Now almost grown, the young squirrel wants nothing more than to serve as page to one of the dashing Captains that make up King Brushen's personal guard. He gets his chance when Captain Crispin appoints Urchin his "right-paw squirrel." But on Urchin's very first morning in the Tower, the King's only son is found murdered and Crispin is accused of the crime! Urchin can only look on helplessly while his mentor is banished from court. Meanwhile, power hungry Captain Husk and Lady Aspen continue to fill the devastated royal couple's ears with treachery, and their cups with sleeping draughts. Urchin is desperate to prove Crispin's innocence, but who will believe an orphan of questionable origins? Born under a sky of shooting stars, Urchin is destined to do great deeds, perhaps even save all of Mistmantle. But first, he must believe... Entertaining but predictable, this simply told medieval fable brings nothing new to the growing body of children's animal fantasies. However, it will serve as a steppingstone for those young readers not quite ready for the detailed descriptions and hearty brogues of Brian Jacques's ever popular and endlessly replicating Redwall series.--Jennifer Hubert
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–Urchin the squirrel believes he is destined for greatness. Dropped from the sky by a gull onto the island of Mistmantle, he is rescued by Crispin, captain to hedgehog King Brushen. He becomes Crispin's page and is quickly embroiled in the murder of the King's young son. When Crispin is framed for the crime and banished, Urchin remains on Mistmantle, working for another captain, Padra the otter. Eyewitness to a power struggle for the throne, he helps fight against cruel new laws and reveals the true murderer. This story will appeal to fans of Brian Jacques's Redwall series (Philomel) as well as to readers who enjoy court intrigue and battle scenes with tons of tails and fur. While the action contains too many coincidences to be believed (someone is always perfectly placed to overhear just the thing needed for the next chapter), the characters are memorable and likable, and the writing is smooth and evenly paced. Urchin rises above other animal stories with flashes of humor as well as weighty issues like murder and cruelty to the weak. Although the plot devices and characterization are fairly stereotypical, the book is worth purchasing, especially given the popularity of this genre. Young readers will be pleased to see this new series hit the shelves.–Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT
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Top customer reviews
Urchin becomes a page to one of the king's guards and the story really starts from there with betrayal and conspiracy ensuing. The plot is simple enough for younger readers to understand and also complex enough to keep older readers from becoming bored. The writing is solid and for a book aimed towards a younger set, the writing works for all age levels. It never dips into juvenile territory and I really appreciated that.
The characters are endearing and the dialogue is well-written. I'm just glad I downloaded it. The book was well worth the 4.99 or so I paid to download it.
This is one of the best book series I've read in awhile. I'm a grown man and I will admit that I like books about talking animals.
I feel like it's a bit less... stuffy than Redwall (from what I remember) and it's definitely easier to understand than say, the Guardians of Ga'Hoole books (which is a good series too), which tend to drag in places and get a little overcomplicated for children's books. Definitely less violent than the Wings of Fire series (which I also recommend)
The level of violence is never offensive, the action is exciting, the characters are interesting, the setting is right, the dialogue is right... just the whole feel and theme of the book is just right. I felt transported to the medieval woodland creature world of Mistmantle and I can't wait to go back for book 2 (don't worry, I've already downloaded them all!)
This is a classic tale of good overcoming evil. The hero is a young squirrel, in each book he is about a year or two older. Great stories!