The Rogue Crew by Brian Jacques Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room This is the final story in the Redwall series. It chronicles a group of hares, shrews, sea otters and a few hedgehogs, as they race against time to reach Redwall Abby before the murderous vermin crew of the ship, Greenshroud. The ship and her wearat captain, Razzid, once thought to be defeated by fire, have returned, bigger and better than before. Now, the ship not only sails the seas, it has wheels that allow it to sail on land as well! Will the warrior hares from Salamandastron and the mighty sea otters of the High North Coast reach the Abby in time to save the good woodland creatures who live there? Or will more vermin along the way keep them from reaching their goal and their friends? I started reading this series nineteen years ago. Yes. You read that correctly. Nineteen years. The first book in the series, Redwall, was originally published in 1987, though I didn’t find it until a few years after that. The Rogue Crew (book #22) was first published in 2011. So you can see just how long this series has been going on. If it weren’t for the death of the author, Brian Jacques (pronounced Jakes), this series would still be going on. This will always be one of my favorite series, and Brian Jacques will always be one of my favorite authors. Though he lived in Liverpool, England, I was lucky enough to get to meet him on three separate occasions and I can say he was an amazing person to listen to. His voice was as rich and deep as his stories. Did you know Redwall got started as a story for blind children? Jacques delivered milk to a blind school and wrote Redwall for them, making his style of writing as descriptive as possible so the children could see everything in their imaginations. A former teacher of his eventually showed Redwall to a publisher without telling Jacques, and as they say, the rest is history. Because of his descriptive style, his work makes me feel like I’m in an adventure with all these different creatures who are kind, caring, tough, warrior-like, evil, mean, innocent, whatever words you can use to describe people, you can use to describe these creatures. I really do feel like I’m there, in the midst of a battle, or enjoying a huge feast on a beautiful summer evening. Though, one thing I adore about these books that tends to be a deal breaker for other readers, is the fact that each type of animal has its own way of speaking and Jacques uses that throughout all of the dialog. I see it as a fun time to learn how to speak like a mole or a hare. Others, find it distracting. If that is something that bothers you, this might not be the book for you. If it doesn’t, I urge you to check it out. I can’t recommend these books highly enough, and I’m very sad to have finally reached the end. A note about the order of the books: Each book is its own story with its own set of characters. If you’re new to the series, you should start with either Redwall or Mossflower. Redwall was the first book published and Mossflower is the prequel. After that, you can read them in any order you like. I admit, they might get tiring after awhile if you attempt to read all 22 in a row, but take a long break and come back to them and you’ll remember why you enjoyed them so much when you first picked them up. To me, these are timeless classics set in their own fantasy world. Thirty, fifty, even perhaps one hundred years from now, I imagine they’ll still be readable and enjoyable by many and I hope they’re never forgotten by readers of all ages.
Posts Tagged ‘Redwall’
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For me, I was obsessed with Alphabears by Kathleen Hague and illustrated by Michael Hague (who also illustrated The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien) when I was really young. In fact, my Dad read it to me so many times he eventually had the whole thing memorized. It’s still my favorite book today too and reading it was the last thing I did right before I got into the car to go to college because I wasn’t taking it with me. Why do I love this book so much? The illustrations are amazing and the rhymes are great! “F is for Freddy, a big frightful mess. What he’s been up to, no one can guess.”
After that, I was obsessed with the Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell because, well, duh, if you read the last post you know I love horse books. It’s about horses and girls who need to be given a chance to shine, and once they do… well, you get the idea. I love books like that. I would get one and spend the entire day reading until it was done, and then go get the next in the series.
My third obsession was the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Why? Well, let’s start with the adventures, the sword of Martin, fighting animals who have hilarious wit, animals who talk in various dialects, the feasts, everything is just awesome. They’re a great, enjoyable read, and Brian Jacques has the best narrative voice and was always entertaining when he did book signings.
So now that you’ve heard about my childhood reads, what are some of yours? Don’t forget to give us the title, author, and the reason why you loved the book(s) so much.
YA Highway is a blog (www.yahighway.com) by a group of young adult authors from all over the world! And every Wednesday YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination, from their blog, and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.
But, why not do the same thing on our blog every week? I’ll post their question and you can put your answers in our comments section, or on your own blog and link back to it in our comments (and theirs too, if you’d like, because I’m sure they’d enjoy reading your answers!)