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Redwall

by Brian Jacques
Series: Redwall #1
351 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Corin, Edmund's Friend

Exciting and humorous book with significant violence and mild language.

Plot

Young, bumbling Matthias is eager to make a name for himself in the peaceful Redwall Abbey, but the greatest excitement possible seems to be catching an extra large fish.

While the Redwallers and all the country folk in the neighborhood feast and celebrate together, Cluny the Scourge with his hoards set their greedy eyes on the ancient abbey.

Through the battles and schemes that follow, cryptic messages from a legendary hero are found, and Matthias finds that he has a mighty part to play after all - but only as a part of a team.

Morality

Other than the actions of the villains (who are very bad), the "bad" morals in this book are mostly for humor's sake (for example, certain characters like to argue). Other than that, the good guys are actually good, and ordinary virtues such as courage, bravery, and honesty are strongly upheld.

There is some glory-seeking on the part of a few characters, which may be viewed by the reader as wrong, and one character is confident and zealous in a way that could come across as proud.

A few characters are put in the position of choosing between betraying the other good guys or having their family killed.

Spiritual Content

A character has prophetic dreams. A character who died long before the story begins left messages suggesting that he is reborn in another character.

Violence

A character is struck in the back by a bird's beak; a huge bell falls on a bad guy; two characters have a bad fall; boiling water is used as a weapon. Cluny's standard is a skull.

There is a snake that freezes its victim with terror and then kills them with its poisonous teeth. Those killed by it are described as having grotesque expressions of terror.

Many bad guys are killed, some by their own leader (which is the most disturbing part of the violence). Cluny rules his hoards through terror, willingly injuring or killing them. Good characters are also killed in battle or through other means, and there are many, many injuries and fearful moments.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The bad guys sometimes get drunk and the Redwallers drink Elbery wine. One Redwaller has a great affinity for wine, but it is not suggested that he gets drunk with it.

Sexual Content

A male mouse notices a female mouse for her beauty and graciousness, and he has a growing attraction for her. A character marries.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

D**ned is used incorrectly once; various slang and name calling throughout the story. People and things are many times described as like "Hell" or "the devil himself"

Conclusion

This is an exciting, funny, and well-written book, though the books that follow improve upon it. Redwall makes a great read-aloud depending on the maturity of the listeners, allowing the reader to screen out some of the violence.

Though this is the first book of the Redwall series to be published, it is not the first book chronologically. The Redwall series can be best enjoyed, however, by reading the books in publication order so that one can understand the references to events already written.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 13+

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