Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review: Mossflower by Brian Jacques

This is a prequel to Redwall (which I reviewed a while back) and is the second book in the Redwall series. I loved the first one, as well as this one, but this one was less awesome than the first. Not to say it wasn't brilliant, but it just wasn't quite as brilliant.

The hero is a mouse called Martin the Warrior - a legend by the time the first book takes place - and when he travels to Mossflower country, he finds it ruled by the wildcat Tsarmina, Queen of the Thousand Eyes. Martin believes that to slay Tsarmina, he must find the mythical mountain of Salamandastron and meet the badger Boar the Fighter. It's got great description of landscapes and great-sounding food, as well as delightful characters such as the hares of Salamandastron and the mousethief Gonff.

But certain parts, such as Martin's and Bella of Brockhall's characters (Matthias and Constance), and the riddle-solving, seemed a little too close to Book One. I like it when series can produce something entirely new with each installment. Overall I liked it, however.

Final Grade: B


  1. I'm gonna say now that I'm a big Redwall fan, as it's what really got me into reading. If, on your trek through Mossflower Country and beyond, you need a book, I can lend you one, as I've got them all but the last two.
    One of Brian Jacques's (RIP) strongest points was always description. He originally wrote Redwall as a story to tell to blind children, after all.
    Now, you raise the point in your review of the book being somewhat similar to Redwall. I'm sorry to say it, but the series is somewhat formulaic. This becomes the most evident around book 17 or so, which would be the period of time when Brian Jacques's publisher was telling him he had to write more Redwall books as opposed to venturing into other series. But, I think they're all rewarding reads, regardless of formula. Sometimes, I think, we need a little formula in our stories. Sometimes, it can be a good thing to settle down with a nice little book where things are familiar, where the good guys really are good, and the bad guys really are bad, and you know how the hero's internal journey progresses. I don't think the Redwall formula is a bad thing, because, in a way, every time I picked up a new one, it was like catching up with an old friend.

  2. Hello there. I agree about the descriptions - beautiful. And I suppose some formula is good, and here he honestly didn't use a WHOLE lot, but I try to be critical of even the things I enjoy. But yes, I like the heroes as well as the villains - Cluny and Tsarmina are both awesome. My favorite is currently the adder Asmodeus(ssss).

    Thanks for the offer: I generally listen to Brian's audio books, but when I get to one the library does not have (I think #5 - Salamandastron), in the future, I'll no where to go. :) Thanks!