Author: Brian Jacques (English, 1939-2011)
Originally published: 1986
Page count: 333
Dates read: 8/27/2020-9/8/2020
2020 book goal progress: 24 out of 20
Reading category: TBR Shelf
Read my other book reviews for my 2020 goal HERE.
Description on back of book:
Welcome to Mossflower Wood, where the gentle mice have gathered to celebrate a year of peace and abundance. All is well... until a sinister shadow falls across the ancient stone abbey of Redwall. It is rumored that Cluny is coming - Cluny, the terrible one-eyed rat and his savage horde - Cluny, who has vowed to conquer Redwall Abbey! The only hope for the besieged mice lies in the lost sword of the legendary Martin the Warrior. And so begins the epic quest of a bumbling young apprentice - a courageous mouse who would rise up, fight back... and become a legend himself.
"Matthias cut a comical little figure as he wobbled his way along the cloisters, with his large sandals flip-flopping and his tail peeping from beneath the baggy folds of an oversized novice's habit. He paused to gaze upwards at the cloudless sky and tripped over the enormous sandals. Hazelnuts scattered out upon the grass from the rush basket he was carrying. Unable to stop, he went tumbling cowl over tail. Bump!"
CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 6/10 - ⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters - 8
Atmosphere - 7
Writing Style - 7
Plot - 5
Intrigue - 4
Logic - 5
Enjoyment - 6
What is a CAWPILE Rating?
This was an OK book. It started out well and I expected it to get deep and complex. Instead, it stuck very much to a children's story. It was a simple and predictable story, and most characters were one-dimensional. I almost stopped reading it because there's a character, Cornflower the fieldmouse, which plays an extremely stereotypical women's role and the sexism bothered me. It irritated me that every time we saw her someone was commenting on her figure and beauty... and in the end, she's given away (by the Abbot/leader of Redwall, not even her father) in an arranged marriage as a prize to a warrior - though it's not stated that way and both involved approve of the marriage.
BUT I finished the book because I recognized there was a myriad of incredible female characters to go along (and lead) with the other male characters! Constance the badger is big and strong, and a great fighter. Jess the squirrel is an expert climber and strategist whose husband is very much in the background, as most wives would typically be represented. Warbeak is the Queen of the sparrows. Sela the fox is a sly, two-timing witch doctor. Guosim the shrew is the co-leader of a democratic guerrilla group of shrews - and the list could go on. Other than Cornflower (and possibly the main character, Matthias, who was a bit annoying to me), all the characters, both male and female, were really neat to me and all had individual personalities - even if most of them were pretty one dimensional.
Overall, as a children's book, it's a great story! I highly suggest you read it with your kids. If you're an adult looking for a good fantasy story, I would look elsewhere for a more fulfilling read, though.
Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let Brian Jacques have the last words:
"We are none of us too old to learn."
"Don't be ashamed, I know why you cry and grieve. It is because you are kind and good, not hard-hearted and pitiless. Please listen to me. Even the strongest and bravest must sometime weep. It shows they have a great heart, one that can feel compassion for others."