Redwall (Redwall, #1)

By Brian Jacques

Rating: 3 stars

This is one that I remember being very fond of when I was young, but had no real memories of the story beyond that. Revisiting it, it took a while to warm up to it, but once the evil Cluny and his horde turns up, it starts getting exciting fast. A couple of points that caught my attention, reading it with a 21st century adult eye. Firstly, I had completely forgotten how violent it is! There’s lots of battles, and people (animals) die by swords and arrows, but then you also get cauldrons of boiling water poured on some, death by snakebite and plummeting from the top of the Abbey tower for others. Secondly, the love interest is literally handed to the warrior at the end as a reward. And I was slightly uncomfortable with the “savage” Sparra (sparrow) tribe’s speech being made out like TV “Red Indians” from the 1930s or 40s.

The Guosim (Guerilla Union of Shrews in Mossflower) are an odd bunch too. The author seems to be using them to mock the left (in the “People’s Front of Judea” sort of way that Monty Python’s Life of Brian did), and at one point, the hero loses his temper at them and their democracy and asserts that if they’re not with him, they’re against him. Er…

But it’s also a tale of bravery, friendship and loyalty. Of banding together for a greater cause. And of pouring boiling water down tunnels full of rats.

Book details

ISBN: 9780099512004
Publisher: Red Fox
Year of publication: 1987

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