Redwall Series
Brian Jacques

Category: Children's, Fantasy
Morality: B
Writing: B

This popular series of books (of which I’ve read all but the latest two or three) details the adventures of various anthropomorphized animals who are somehow connected to the history of Redwall Abbey. This abbey — which, although it preserves some of the form of Christian monasteries, is not in the least religious in nature — is a haven and center of activity for all types of good animals: mice, moles, hares, otters, hedgehogs, and even the occasional badger. These animals often find themselves in conflict with hordes of barbarian evil animals: rats, weasels, stoats, wildcats, and more; exciting adventures inevitably result.

These books are rather formulaic. Without exception, they contain the evil warlord bent on murderous activity, the daring quest, and the valiant heroes and heroines. But they are fun. Jacques’ writing, while not stunning, is certainly satisfactory and enjoyable; his characterizations aren’t deep, but they’re adequate. His plots are complicated, with several connected stories moving ahead simultaneously — he jumps back and forth, leaving cliffhanger endings with each group, so you just don’t want to stop reading. He is especially clever with creating dialects for the different types of animals, and his poetry is well-done too.

Morally, the books have the traditional good guys versus bad guys set-up so appropriate and appreciable in children’s literature; occasionally, such as in Outcast of Redwall, things get slightly more complex, but always with clear delineation between good and evil. The abbey’s founder, Martin the Warrior, reappears in dreams and visions and gives a sort of mystical support to the creatures living in Redwall in traditional medieval style.

Posted by Sasha | April 30, 2003

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