on 14 March 2003
It kind of says something about an author when they write a book intended for readers aged 9 or above and still have it read by people aged 19 or more - like myself.
I first heard of this particular series on a book review T.V programme, and decided it might be worth a look. When I got the book, I could hardly put it down. That was when I was about 12.
7 years later on, and the same still holds true, and this book is one of the best in the series.
The story revolves around Matthias, a novice in the order of Redwall. He is young and clumsy, and dreams of being a warrior like Redwall Abbey's founder, Martin.
Little does he realise that Cluny the Scourge and his horde of rats are fast approaching the Abbey, and his chance to test himself may come sooner than expected....
this book has great characters, a great plot which follows the basic good-versus-evil principle, and some wonderfully emotional moments. even at 19, im still loving it, and i probably will for a lot longer. get it soon.
on 14 May 2005
I loved this book! The story is action packed,exiting, funny, aggressive in places and the best book I have read so far in my life!!!!Even better than the Harry Potter books.
My favourite characters are the paw sucking squirrel Silent Sam, the hero of the book Matthias Mouse, and the evil villain, Cluny. I also loved Constance the badger. I can't wait to start Mossflower, the next in the series & I would love it if my Mum got me the whole set.
Harvey aged 8.
on 18 April 2005
I am a big fantasy fan; and every time I found myself at the bookstore I would see the vast amount of books by Brian Jacques on the shelves and wonder if it was a series I would like. I had heard that the books were written for young adults, so I was not sure if they were my cup of tea. Luckily I decided to give "Redwall" a try, since the result was very satisfying. The author uses a wide variety of animals in order to create this fantasy setting, and portrays the typical battle of good versus evil in a crisp and simple way.
The main character in this first book of the series is a small mouse, Matthias, who is a novice and who dreams with becoming a warrior someday. His idol is Martin the Warrior, who according to many was the bravest mouse to ever set foot on earth. Matthias lives in Redwall and is part of the Order of Abbot Mortimer, and Order that professes peace and that has vowed never to harm another living creature. But all this peace and happiness is now in jeopardy, since Cluny the Scourge, a ruthless rat with an evil army, is heading towards Redwall, leaving mayhem through his path.
Cluny is the subject of a legend used by parents to scare their kids and to get them to do what they request, but now the threat is real and has to be faced. The terrifying rat is relentless, but hides a secret of his own, since in his nightmares, he receives the visit of a brave mouse that puts him to shame. The mouse is no other than Martin, who also talks to Matthias in his dreams. When the attack finally comes, we get to see a David versus Goliath type of fight that keeps up the excitement and that looks as if it will only end with the total destruction of one of the contestants.
Jacques proves that he has a lively imagination, and presents a world with many different creatures, who behave by the rules of what people usually associate them with. For example, the rats are evil, the foxes are sly, etc. The narration has a good pace and the book never gets boring, so overall it is a recommended experience. People that like straightforward plots will probably enjoy this novel. However, those looking for complex fantasy, in the style of George R. R. Martin, will be disappointed.
on 26 August 2001
The author and a splendid cast bring this tale to life with fantastic voices and a superb plot. a great work. i would definitelly recommend this to annyone who likes a good story.
on 2 February 2014
This was one of my very first childhood reads and I'm ashamed to say I'd forgotten all about this series until I was reminded about it within a Goodreads group (thank you, Goodreads!) I quickly went on to Amazon and bought the novel, eagerly awaiting its arrival.
I'm pleased to say it is still one of my favourite books and I'd wished I'd re-read it before embarking on writing my own novels because I think Brian Jacques is a master storyteller. His writing is the perfect blend of humour, grit and description that will universally appeal. It is certainly a children's book but even now at the (young-ish) age of 27 I still loved it and can't wait to read it to my kids. Now, onto the next one!
on 1 June 2001
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 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!
on 1 March 2000
Redwall is a story teller's tour de force, from the opening scenes we are treated with delight to the bumblings of the heroic mouse, immediately contrasted with the evil of Cluny the Scourge. My eldest daughter loved the battle sequences while my youngest son enjoyed the activities of all the creatures, but especially the moles. Brian Jacques' book is rich in personifictaion and each of the animals is endowed with a delightful personality which children of all ages will enjoy. But, perhaps the most significant thing is the sense of moral and good old-fashioned belief that it's hallowed pages instill into our children: Even adults can enjoy the sly pastiche of Apocalypse Now and the book succeeds in raising ethical opposition to Thomas Aquinas' conditions of a just war, writing in a Benedictine environment, similar to that inhabitated by the creatures of this novel. A Triumph!
on 13 February 1999
This book is about an abbey called Redwall, under attack by a rat called Cluny the Scourge and his horde in Mossflower wood. I think it's not fair that the creatures of Redwall are mice, voles, moles, otters, squirrels and badgers whilst Cluny's are rats, stoats and weasels. Now who`s going to win? It's pretty easy isn`t it? But wait - YOU have to read to find out....... What I like about this book is the way Brian Jaques describes what the animals look like and the way they do things. The words are so powerful the book sort of swallows me up so I imagine I'm there watching it all happen. I like the characters - some are grumpy,others are lively and jumpy. It's a good book for keen readers of my age (8) and above . There is a series of these books but it doesn't matter where you start - I highly recommend you to read any of them - particularly Redwall. They are all equally exciting!!
on 30 June 2016
My 8 year old son told me I needed to give this book five stars and write a review. I read the book to him and because there was never a dull moment and it was action packed I was constantly begged for more. So parents, if you too are reading this to your kids then be prepared for some long reading sessions or sad kids.
on 7 January 2001
Really, I mean, a story about a load of furry woodland animals! That's Beatrix Potter-land. Well, all right, Richard "Watership Down" Adams did take the genre to a different level (I started it once but never finished it). What self-respecting child would read this stuff, or admit to reading it, let alone an adult? Well, I did! And I couldn't put it down! Brian Jacques has created a completely believable and endearing world of little creatures: the story is good, keeps you wanting to know what happens next; there's suspense; there's a mystery to puzzle out (where is the legendary sword of long-dead Martin the Warrior?); the dialogue is well done with all the major characters given a distinctive way of speaking; and the good guys win in the end. Remember how much fun Pixar had with ants and grasshoppers in "A Bug's Life"? I'm surprised Pixar haven't bought the rights to it (or maybe they have?). It's a lot of fun. Although it's obviously billed as "children's literature", some of the vocabulary might be a little hard for a child under 11. I'm reading it aloud to my 8- and 11-year-olds (my 17-year-old turned her nose up at it, though). And there's a whole series of these to keep enthusiasts happy! The New York Times ran a piece a while back about how sales of Jacques books have surged up in the wake of Harry Potter (those kids who desperately need something while waiting for the next book to come out). Jacques' book is more low-key, but has many similar ingredients for a good tale. I've re-read Redwall several times, but so far have not revisited any Harry Potter story.