Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mossflower: Review

Mossflower (1988) is the second book in Brian Jacques's Redwall series about the brave deeds of the woodland creatures in and around Redwall Abbey. But it is also a prequel to the first book, Redwall. It tells the foundation story which gives background on what the Mossflower Wood was like before the abbey was built and how it all came to be. At this time, the woodlanders are suffering under the cruel paw of Verduaga Greeneyes, king of the wildcats, and his even more vicious daughter Tsarmina. Tsarmina is so greedy for power that she arranges for her father's death and places the blame on her more peaceful brother Gingivere. 

When the oppressed creatures who live in the shadow of Kotir, the wildcats' castle, go hiding in the woods, Tsarmina declares all-out war. She will have serfs and slaves to pay tribute and work for her evil hordes or they will all die. The woodland creatures are fighting back the best they can, but are losing hope. Then along comes a brave mouse by the name of Martin the Warrior. He is captured after a vigorous fight (one against many), but escapes the dungeons of Kotir with his new friend Gonff the Mousethief. After helping the woodlanders mount a few battles, Martin is persuaded by Bella the Badger to lead a party to search for her father Boar the Fighter who left on a quest and never returned. Martin sets out with Gonff and Dinny the young mole to bring back help to defeat Tsarmina and her villainous vermin. Martin leaves a young warrior with a broken sword and returns to Mossflower with a reforged weapon, newfound friends and fighters, and the resolve to defeat the evil queen.

I read this one to fulfill my final category for the Book Challenge by Erin 10.0: Read a book that is a friend or family member's favorite book. My son has never been a great reader--but he fell in love with the Redwall series when he was young and I wanted to use one of his favorites for this category. He initially thought of Triss or The Legend of Luke, but when it came down to it he finally decided on Mossflower. It's easy to see why he loved this one. It has it all--big battles, hand-to-hand combat, sneaky mice getting the better of the evil cat Queen, rat pirates, a quest for an ancient hero, and a final take-down of Tsarmina that is earth-shattering (quite literally). There are also tremendous themes of friendship and loyalty; love and loss; and the constant struggle (especially for Martin) between needing to fight to protect those he loves and not wanting to kill needlessly. Great lessons for young readers wrapped in a delightful animal fantasy world that kids (if they're anything like my son) will want to visit again and again. ★★★★

No comments: