Author: Brian Jacques
Published: January 1, 1990
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
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. This dazzling story in the Redwall series is packed with all the wit, wisdom, humor, and blood-curdling adventure of the other books in the collection, but has the added bonus of taking the reader right back to the heart and soul of Redwall Abbey and the characters who live there.
Redwall is the story of an ancient Abbey deep in the woods of Mossflower, a pristine forest where animals live in harmony with one another. Redwall Abbey is the heart of all of Mossflower; a place where the citizens of the land live in peace and tranquility, coexisting despite their different species and backgrounds. The land is threatened, however, by a dangerous enemy known as Cluny the Scourge, a one-eye rat warlord. Determined to overtake Redwall Abbey and claim Mossflower as his domain, Cluny will stop at nothing to gain what he seeks. Matthias, a little mouse from a humble background, however, won’t rest until he proves his worth and saves Redwall from the tyrant. And so, Matthias begins searching for the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior to save Redwall. Can he become the hero he so desperately wants to be in time?
Ok, I know what you’re thinking…a book…with animals as the characters? Don’t be so quick to judge! I started reading this series when I was about 8 years old, and I made fun of the silly covers at that age, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Redwall is the first book in a series about Redwall Abbey, a harmonious place where the animals survive in peace and tranquility. That peace is threatened when a marauding band of tyrants sets up camp in the Church of St. Ninian with the goal of conquering Redwall. Brian Jacques created a magical start to the series with a book brimming with fantastic characters and a loveable hero in Matthias that propels the book forward with every minute action.
Redwall presents a world without humans – one where the animals are every bit as human as humans, themselves. With a loveable hero in Matthias, we’re transported to a world that’s simple at its core, but perfectly portrays base human emotions from love, to greed, to the hero that lies within every one of us. The world is rich and descriptive, and Brian Jacques’ words transport you to a world that’s pure and beautiful, but plagued by destruction, very much like our own world. With epic battles, a sweet love story, a full cast of endearing characters, and a world of adventure, Redwall is the perfect start to a great series. My only major qualm with Redwall is the amount of descriptiveness spent on each feast. Frankly, I got really hungry each time, and I can now tell you every staple of food on their tables.
All in all though, I loved Redwall, and I’m pleased to say it’s one of my go-to books to read and re-read time and again. I give it a strong 4 out of 5, and I’d recommend it to YA readers, especially those who enjoy a good fantasy. Fans of Watership Down will also love this book. The second book in the series is Mossflower.