The creatures of the abbey live in perfect harmony until the infamous Cluny the Scourge and his hoard of rats come calling. The fiend decides he wants the fortress for his own uses, waging war and laying siege against the peace-loving woodland animals. Guided by Father Abbot Mortimer, the wise old record keeper Methuselah, and fierce fighting badger Constance, Matthias is able to rise to the occasion and become another legendary warrior of Redwall.
The novel is written in from a narrator's all seeing eye, which builds suspense as our main characters go off on separate quests since the narrative jumps from action-packed scene to scene. The battles are penned skillfully and with enough detail to satisfy even the most finicky of audiences. The plot moves swiftly, keeping us thoroughly entangled from start to finish. The story is one of virtuousness, courage, and the power of hope in the face of utter despair. It's even speckled with a bit of romance. Who'd have thought?
I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. However, there is the issue that the book is, in short, about cute little mice running around with swords. While the plot is good and the characters are believable, it's obviously meant to be read by a much younger audience. I couldn't help but think "Oh, how adorable!" at the most inconvenient moments. If I'd grown up reading this series I'd probably have a much deeper attachment, but as things stand it's just a great way to pass a rainy day.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. In fact, I'll probably continue on with the series. Would I guarantee you'll love it? Only if you are under the age of thirteen. At the very least, it would make a most excellent bedtime story for your kids. Who knows? You might look forward to their bedtime reading as well. ;)
[This review is also featured on PTBC.]
PS -- Don't forget to submit your questions for the blog-sprucing Q&A next Monday! Email/comment me your questions here by this Saturday, May 1st at 11:59 pm to have them included in the post.