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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Jacques’

The Sable Quean – A Review

Posted on July 17th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

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The Sable Quean by Brian Jacques

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

Another Redwall tale full of dashing and daring characters, this time ready to save the young dibbuns from an evil sable quean. These woodland creatures have heart and bravery even when faced with such evil as the sable and her horde of vermin looking to take over Redwall Abby. Adventure and action await the reader who picks up this book. And it’s not just the soldier hares who get in on the action. The dibbuns are every bit as brave as their parents, even when they’re missing their home, family, friends, and good food.

The Redwall series will always remain one of my favorite series. These books can be read in any order, though I urge new readers to check out Redwall and Mossflower first. Redwall is the first book and Mossflower (my all time favorite!) is the second book in the series and the prequel to Redwall. Read those two first, and you can then read any of the other books in any order you like. Also, if you like audio books, I highly recommend listening to this series in audio. Brian Jacques narrated his own books, often with a full cast of readers behind him as various characters. He had such an amazingly rich voice that was perfect for vocal storytelling. This series is geared toward a wide audience age range from late elementary school through middle school and into high school. A lot of older kids and adults have also read and enjoyed these books. I started reading them in 7th grade and read them through highschool and into college. After Brian Jacques’ death, I picked up the last four Redwall books I had yet to read and I’m now working my way through them. He was my favorite author growing up, and it didn’t seem right to miss out on these last few books. The Sable Quean is the second to last novel in the Redwall series and at some point before the year’s end I intend to read the final book, The Rogue Crew.

The Sable Quean was a fantastic read, which couldn’t be put down once I got into it. Of course, if you’ve read all the books, you know they do become rather predictable in what happens. Even so, some of the things that happen in this book were not predictable at all, which was a bit refreshing.  It was a fun read and one I would recommend to anyone who likes the Redwall series or other similar books, such as the Warriors series by Erin Hunter.

My Summer Reading List for 2013!

Posted on May 25th, 2013 by Anna in Books

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Once again, I have decided to select a few books to read over the summer and then post my book reviews here. What makes this so different than my usual book review posts? The main thing is that I’m telling you ahead of time what I’ll be reading. The second thing is that I have selected a total of eight books (the same number I read last year) to read within the months of June, July, and August, which is a lot more than I usually read and review in a single month the rest of the year.  Also, these books are usually somehow related to the summer reading lists that you teens will be reading from yourselves. If they’re not currently on a summer list, they might have been last year, or they’re simply a teen book I’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

So without further ado, here’s the list:

Fiction

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Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier*

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill–a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk–Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

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Redwall: The Sable Quean by Brian Jacques

He appears out of thin air and vanishes just as quickly. He is Zwilt the Shade, and he is evil. Yet he is no match for his ruler, Vilaya the Sable Quean. Along with their hordes of vermin, these two have devised a plan to conquer Redwall Abbey.

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The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

 

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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (The first book in the trilogy, Foundation, will be the primary focus of my reading. If time permits I might very well dive into the other two books.)

A THOUSAND-YEAR EPIC, A GALACTIC STRUGGLE, A MONUMENTAL WORK IN THE ANNALS OF SCIENCE FICTION

FOUNDATION begins a new chapter in the story of man’s future. As the Old Empire crumbles into barbarism throughout the million worlds of the galaxy, Hari Seldon and his band of psychologists must create a new entity, the Foundation-dedicated to art, science, and technology-as the beginning of a new empire.

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein*

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

Non-Fiction

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Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer by Chely Wright

Chely Wright, singer, songwriter, country music star, writes in this moving, telling memoir about her life and her career; about growing up in America’s heartland, the youngest of three children; about barely remembering a time when she didn’t know she was different.

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Secretariat by William Nack

In 1973, Secretariat, the greatest thoroughbred in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. This book is an acclaimed portrait that examines the legacy of one of ESPN’s “100 Greatest Athletes of the Century”: the only horse to ever grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated all in the same week.

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Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution by Linda Hirshman

A Supreme Court lawyer and political pundit details the enthralling and groundbreaking story of the gay rights movement, revealing how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America forever.

*These two books have been chosen by the TBOM group as their book reads for July and August.

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series – A Review

Posted on January 24th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series by Brian Jacques

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of a young, mute boy, Ben, and his faithful black lab, Ned. They are stuck aboard a ship called The Flying Dutchman, where an evil captain rules. When the ship is destroyed and the crew cursed to roam the seas forever, the boy and his dog are saved by one of God’s angels who curses them to roam the earth forever, never growing older. The angel gives them both special powers. Ben can now speak any language he needs to, and the two have a mind bond that allows them to communicate with each other via thought. Together Ben and Ned travel the world as directed by the angel and help anyone they can along the way. But even as they travel, The Flying Dutchman and its evil captain haunt their dreams and forshadow terrible things to come.

There are three books to this series: Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, The Angel’s Command, and Voyage of Slaves.  I’ve just finished the third book, but since I haven’t reviewed any of the books here yet, this review will cover the series as a whole. If you like adventures, especially seafaring adventures, you’ll like these books. These can be read by older kids and teens alike. While there is a lot of action, this series is very different from Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. The avenging angel directs Ben and Ned, but it’s not overly religious at all. It’s a historical fantasy series, so the religion is only included as part of the time period for the most part. In the third book, unlike the others, there are characters from all over the world, and sometimes they use pet names (such as My Sweet, or Little Girl) for each other in their native languge. Those words, when first used, are starred, and an English translation is put at the bottom of the page. Overall, this is a great series where friends are made, evil doers are caught, and everything is righted in the end. It’s a fun, relaxing read. The final book has an ending that works well as an ending to the series as a whole. I say this  because it was very possible the author meant to write more before his death, but I don’t know for sure. This ending could go either way for the series, so you, as a reader, are not left hanging, needing to know what happens next. The books should be read in order, but each story is wrapped up at the end of each book.

Doomwyte – A Review

Posted on August 10th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Doomwyte by Brian Jacques

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of the woodland creatures of Redwall Abby who live by the code of honor and friendship to all. A riddle is found that was written by Gonff the Prince of Mousethieves many seasons ago, detailing the whereabouts of the Doomwyte Eyes. These are four precious jewels Gonff stole from the Wytes, a murderous band of birds and their snakes, who still harbor a hatred toward any creature they can kill and eat. Not only is there one riddle to start off the search for the jewels, there are several more along the way. Not only are there riddles, there are plenty of songs, feasts, fights, bad guys, good guys, laughter, love, and lots of fun.

I just finished this wickedly awesome fantasy adventure novel this afternoon and completely loved every minute of it. Some of the Redwall books seem to be the same as the others, but this one provided a fresh story with new creatures and very different adventures that made it fun to read Brian Jacques all over again. I was constantly wondering where the book would end up because at no point was the ending obvious. I especially loved the character of Umphrey Spikkle who showed that one doesn’t need to know how to read and write in order to do good work, have fun, and save the day. He also shows that it’s never to late to learn what all those squiggles on the page actually mean.

A note about Redwall as a series: Brian Jacques (pronounced Jakes) wrote the series to be read in any order. Each novel makes for a good stand alone story. However, I highly recommend reading Redwall and Mossflower first, as they explain the story of Martin the Warrior, the eventual spirit guide who appears in later novels, and the beginnings of Redwall Abby.  I also highly recommend Mossflower because it’s the prequel to Redwall, and is by far, my favorite of all the Redwall books.

 

Legendary Author Passes Away

Posted on February 11th, 2011 by Anna in Books

Brian Jacques

Brian Jacques, whose Redwall series, set in the mythical Redwall Abbey, has sold more than 20 million copies, died last Saturday of a heart attack. He was 71.

The 22nd and final book in the Redwall series, The Rogue Crew, will be published in May by Philomel, a Penguin Young Readers Group imprint.

Philomel president and publisher Michael Green noted that Jacques “initially wrote Redwall to entertain the children at Liverpool’s Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, where he would read aloud, giving voice to the many accents, giving aroma and flavor to the famous Redwall Abbey feasts, and giving life to a world in which mice and hares were heroes to the end. The world has lost not only a talented author, but a truly gifted entertainer and champion of children.”

Jacques was born in Liverpool, England. Penguin said that his interest in adventure stories began in childhood, when he read the works of Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson and Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of his favorites was The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham.

BBC noted that Jacques showed literary talent at an early age (and we’re lucky he survived a teacher’s reaction): “He was caned by a teacher who could not believe that a 10-year-old could write so well when he penned a short story about a bird who cleaned a crocodile’s teeth.”

-Shelf Awareness Daily News (www.shelf-awareness.com)

If you’re looking for any of his past published books, we have a display in the Copley Teen room containing several of his Redwall books and Castaways of the Flying Dutchman. Also, if we don’t have it, there are many of his books downstairs in the children’s room. So whether you’re looking to relive your childhood, or reading his books for the first time, we have them here!

The Rogue Crew, his latest book due out in May, is not YET available to be put on hold through the BPL catalog (www.bpl.org). But do keep an eye out for it. When we order our first copies you will be able to put your name on the request list to be one of the first to get it. Also, if you’re looking to purchase it, there are bookstores that will let you preorder the book ahead of time. Barnes and Noble (www.bn.com) is one such bookstore, but there may be others if you wish to shop around.