Brian Jacques and the Redwall Series
From Miss Amanda at Main
I’m not shy about stating, loud and clear, that Brian Jacques is a hero of mine. Jacques’s Redwall series captured my imagination as a child and kept me reading well past any “established” bedtime I might have had. His stories about bravery, friendship and loyalty were laced with love, humor, adventure, and loss, and for a young girl in a small town, they opened up whole worlds. Isn’t that what great books are supposed to do? Jacques’ death was not like the passing of other literary figures for me, it was like losing a best friend, someone who has been with me since I was eleven years old and I greatly admire. I never personally met the man, but I didn’t need to in order to know that he deeply loved the characters he wrote about and he truly appreciated his fans. I recommend Jacques’ books to every young reader looking for a great story and I tell them to not be intimidated by the thickness of the novel I’m handing them. “It goes so fast,” I promise them, because it’s true. I believe strongly that any book that gets a child reading is worth its weight in gold and then some, but books like the ones Jacques wrote are both priceless and timeless because they have spawned generations of fans, and we’re still putting copies of them on library shelves. The power of the Redwall series goes beyond simply loving a story, but admiring the man behind the words as well.
My favorite (if I absolutely HAD to pick one) Redwall book would be Marlfox. I’ve read and re-read that book more times than any other in the series. I LOVE this book – I think it’s a blend of the mysterious danger the Marlfoxes bring to the story (which is so different from the searat and wildcat villains of many of the other books) and the humor and friendship of the Sensational Wandering Noonvale Companions Troupe (led by Florian Dugglewoof Wilffachop – and he’s a hare, not a rabbit, donchaknow!) The Swifteye squirrel family add to the action and the three Redwall friends, Song, Dann, and Dippler (and a baby mouse named Dwopple) only maximize the the story. I could never call Jacques a formulaic writer because just when you think you know what will happen, the story throws you in a different direction and you’re caught up in it all over again. My copy of Marlfox is worn and obviously well-loved, but it has a revered spot on my bookshelf, just like all my other Redwall novels.
If you have never read Jacques, do give these books a try. While they are technically in a series, you don’t have to start with Mossflower in order to know what’s going on. Each book stands on its own (though I do recommend reading Mossflower and then Redwall in order to get your history of Martin the Warrior and Matthias firm in your mind, since its referenced in almost every book from thereon out.) Fans of C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and anyone looking for a grand adventure with a lot of heart will do right by their imaginations to try these books. You won’t regret it, trust me.
Brian Jacques Links:
The Official Brian Jacques Website: Did you know his last full-length book in the Redwall series comes out on May 3rd? The Rogue Crew will be on the shelves soon!
We All Have Them: A Tribute to Brian Jacques: A really great tribute to this amazing author by Jason Pinter, bestselling author