Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Martin the Warrior

Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques

I had been pretty burnt out on the Redwall books after Mossflower, Mattimeo, and Salamandastron. Redwall was a creative and fun book, but it seemed that all its successors were progressively formulaic and uncreative. Martin the Warrior, however, is a return to the same creative spirit of the original book, and, in my opinion, improves upon it.

The book explores the early life of Martin the Warrior after he has been made a slave by Badrang, the cruel tyrant of Marshank. Escaping with a small group of captives, and washing up on an unknown shore, Martin attempts to return a mousemaid named Rose to her family at Noonvale and build an army to return and challenge Badrang.

Jacques still uses his familiar formula from the previous books, but by not feeling the need to set the book near Redwall Abbey it becomes more of a novel adventure and a great fantasy yarn. If someone wanted to read just one of the Redwall books, I think that I would recommend Martin the Warrior above the original.

5/5 stars.


Rose said…
When I was around 11 or so my friends and I literally read piles of the Redwall books. I read about ten of them , and they read even more...and suffice it to say I got burnt out. :P I remember really liking Mossflower and Redwall and just reading the other ones because I was/am a compulsive reader and those books were on shelves I could reach. But I haven't read this one. I might have to give it a go for old times' sake.
Rick said…
That's funny. I had never actually read any of the books until last year (or even heard of them until the last five years or so). Whether I read another one at this point depends on whether my son decides to read more. (I'm trying to keep up with him.) This one had a much darker ending than the others I've read.