Wednesday, November 4, 2015



Redwall is a classic story of good vs evil. In this case the fight is between a collection of woodland creatures - mice, rats, snakes, badgers, ferrets, sparrows, and even moles.
On the 'good' side we have a monastery full of mice in monk wear who are dedicated to helping and healing.
On the 'evil' side we have the nastiest rat ever (one eyed, pegged leg, scar covered, temperamental..."loony" as Jacques implies) and his gang of rats.
It was the 'bad guys' who really made the book for me. First, I was fascinated by this evil rat leader - Cluny the Scourge - and how terrible he was. Just the most repulsive, mean, nastiest character ever imagined. We was constantly swatting, bad mouthing, and threatening his followers. He must have killed half a dozen members of his horde (all ranks, no discrimination there) without a second though. He was obsessed with remaining in power and using his power to take over the world. I bet he was fun character to write.

I also got a bit of a chuckle from the names of some of the evil rats - Cheesethief, Scumnose, Wormtail, Ragear.

The actual plot was pretty simple - Cluny and his gang, who have been laying waste to most of the world, show up at the walls of Redwall Abbey. Surprisingly, they are repulsed when they try to attack the Abbey. They lay siege to Redwall, making additional and more creative attempts at getting inside.
During this time the occupants of the Abbey realize their full potential and in some cases their destiny - like say, being a world class warrior.
What make the book a page turner is the pace and the characters. There are very few slow moments with lots of battles, adventures through the woods, and a mystery made of riddles to solve. It keeps your attention. Also, you really have no idea what is going to happen. The action goes from very tame to pretty gruesome and violent. Will the next battle be waged with rotten radishes or will an oversized arrow go straight through a row of ferrets? You have to read to find out.

On that note, I think there might have been a mistake - a mistake labelling this book. Everywhere I look it is filed as a 'kids' book. But, to me, it should be shelved in the 'must read by everyone before they die' category. It reminded me of Harry Potter, which is also a 'kids' book that appeals to every age. Don't let the animal characters discourage you, it is a great read.