Monday, May 18, 2015

Mossflower - Brian Jacques

Summary:  The thrilling prequel to "Redwall". The clever and greedy wildcat Tsarmina becomes ruler of all Mossflower Woods and is determined to govern the peaceful woodlanders with an iron paw. The brave mouse Martin and quick-talking mouse thief Gonff meet in the depths of Kotir Castle's dungeon. The two escape and resolve to end Tsarmina's tyrannical rule. Joined by Kinny the mole, Martin and Gonff set off on a dangerous quest for Salamandastron, where they are convinced that their only hope, Boar the Fighter, still lives. (Summary and image from

My Review:  Brian Jacques is back with another epic adventure in the world of Redwall - but this time, Jacques is introducing us to the legendary Martin and relaying the origins of the Redwall Abbey.

Martin is a warrior mouse that has been driven out of his home by marauding sea rats and is searching for a new home.  He stumbles into an idyllic forest called Mossflower -- well, it was idyllic before the murder of the king and the usurpation of the throne by his daughter, the brutal, insane, and devious Tsarmina.  She's enslaved the residents, is waging war on them as they try to resist, and worse, she's framed her brother for the murder of the king and has taken two little hedgehogs hostage.

Under the direction of Bella the badger, the rightful ruler of Mossflower, borrowing on the courage of Martin and the cunning of Gonff (the prince of mousethieves), they launch a longterm plan to retake the forest, protect their futures, and restore Bella's father Boar to his daughter while they're at it.  

This book is a little more intense than Redwall, and it didn't grab me as much.  I'm not sure if it was my state of mind, or if it was just that the novelty had worn off, but it wasn't as magical as the first.  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it quite a bit.  I just found it easier to set it down than I did with Redwall.  The story was also a little bit more formulaic - and while it's a successful formula, I would have hope to see a little bit of a shake-up.  Then again, I'm not the target audience, and middle readers like formulas (Babysitters' Club, anyone?), so this may bother your readers less than it did me.

My Rating;  Three stars

For the sensitive reader:  Again, there are battles and deaths, patricide, and one particularly intense battle between an eel and an otter that was truly intense.

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