Redwall by Brian Jaques

November 24, 2008
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Redwall by Brian Jacques is a book about many creatures that live in Redwall Abbey and the surrounding land, Mossflower Woods. In particular the novel is about a young mouse training to become a brother in Redwall abbey, named Matthias. The abbey and its inhabitants are at peace until a malicious rat warlord by the name of Cluny the Scourge besieges the peaceful abbey dwellers. Matthias believes the legendary and lost Sword of Martin is necessary to defeat Cluny Martin was the Warrior and Champion of Redwall for as long as he lived, after being one of the founders of the building. Now Matthias needs to find the great sword and defeat Cluny, or else the abbey may be lost forever! Matthias is one of the abbey's best hopes of defeating Cluny and his fearsome horde of vermin.

Redwall is made great by the variety of first class characters held in its pages. The characters of the novel range from and eccentric hare to two cunning and deceitful foxes that swap sides in the war to benefit themselves. Every character from abbey animals to vermin is detailed very closely. The characters of Redwall make the abbey a fun and ever exciting place to read about.

The species of different characters demonstrates good and evil in this book. Showing the concept of good and evil in this way proves to be very interesting throughout the novel. Evil was portrayed by vermin such as rats, ferrets, stoats, and weasels. Good was portrayed by varying animals, from large badgers and otters to small mice and squirrels. Good and evil being shown in this way is very innovative. This idea suggests that people are born good or evil, but it implies that people cannot change who they are. It also demonstrates the way that some people only have their own interests at mind, through double crossing characters like two foxes named Sela and Chickenhound. Showing good and evil through species is a flawed idea because it does not demonstrate how people change over time. To benefit themselves, some Mossflower characters change.

Several characters change their alignments throughout the course of events in Redwall. The characters change out of selfishness, not selflessness. The healer fox Sela and her son Chickenhound both change their alignments. A gargantuan snake names Asmodeus also attacks both good and evil creatures. For Sela and Chickenhound, constantly changing sides proves to be quite dangerous.

Sela and Chickenhound change their alignments constantly throughout the novel. Gaining more wealth is very important to Sela and Chickenhound, and they are always out to do so. After Cluny is injured in battle, the foxes heal him at a death threat from the second in command. Next, the foxes learn about Cluny's plans to attack Redwall, so they try to sneak away and sell the information to the Redwallers. When Sela is killed and Chickenhound is wounded, the abbey-mice help him recover and he gives them some more information about Cluny's plans. Chickenhound tricks the woodland creatures into trusting him. Then he thieves many trinkets from the abbey and kills the aged gatekeeper as he flees from the abbey. Sela and Chickenhound are the main turncoats in Redwall.

Asmodues's beliefs seem to be only focused on survival. The giant snake acts out of hunger, killing and eating any animal that comes close to him. This colossus serpent is seen as evil by many creatures, even the vermin from Cluny's horde that are considered evil by the Redwallers. But Asmodeus doesn't care who he kills; he just wants to eat when he can because sometimes it can be tough for a slow moving carnivore like himself to get food. Although the snake mainly tries to stay alive, he also tries to gain things for himself. “There were other things in the lair of the snake: a fox's tail, wood-pigeon wings, the head of a big fish, and fur pelts of many species of creatures.” (Jacques 293). These trinkets are small examples of what the adder collected. Matthias learns that in the past the giant serpent had stolen something from Redwall. Matthias goes on a small journey and tries to slay Asmodeus, and recover whatever had been stolen.

A major theme in Redwall is friendship. A bond shared by all of the defenders of the abbey helps them along in the struggle against Cluny. Matthias befriends many creatures. An eccentric hare hits it off with Matthias when he is trying to rescue a tapestry stolen from Redwall by Cluny. Basil then returns to the abbey with Matthias and helps with the war effort. He also befriends a wildcat named Squire Gingevere and a sparrow by the name of Warbeak. Both of these creatures help him accomplish his goals. The Guosim meet up with Matthias when he is journeying to kill Asmodeus. Guosim stands for the Gorilla Union of Shrews in Mossflower. The sheer number of the shrews helps Matthias out a lot; they also provide him with delicious food and drink. Friends come to Matthias's aid a lot during his adventures.

Redwall is one of many captivating books from the incredible Redwall series. Some other titles from the outstanding series are Mattimeo and Pearls of Lutra. The books take place in different periods of time, but they all relate to each other. In Mattimeo Matthias's son, Mattimeo is kidnapped by a slave trader and Matthias journeys after the slave line to rescue him. In Pearls of Lutra Mattimeo's son, Martin the Second is the new Redwall Warrior. The characters of the series seem prone to adventure and the books are really hard to put down. Every reader who plans to venture into Mossflower Woods should be ready for cliffhangers, because often times a few stories alternate as they occur at the same time in the book.

Redwall is an implausibly good novel. The novel is made unpredictable by many cliffhangers and battles. The book is not overly violent or gory, despite the multitude of battles contained in its pages. If one enjoys Redwall they definitely need to keep on reading the books in the Redwall series. Redwall is a hard to put down, must read book because of the crazy cast of characters and the engaging storyline. Brian Jacques definitely outdid himself when he wrote the novel Redwall.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

ConstanceContraire said...
Jul. 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm
This is an AWESOME series 
 
Varon said...
Mar. 6, 2010 at 11:53 am
This is a really good review of this fabulous book.
 
R3AD1N6 said...
Jan. 11, 2009 at 2:14 am
I loved this book a lot, and I am currently reading Lord Brocktree. This series is impossible to put down, like you said, and I think you outlined the plot very well.
 
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