The Sable Quean

Our rating: **½

Buckler, a blademaster hare from Salamandastron, is sent to Redwall Abbey to deliver new bell ropes to the Abbess and is caught up in the adventure of his life. Vilaya the Sable Quean, along with her captain Zwilt, plan to take over Redwall Abbey by kidnapping their Dibbuns and holding them hostage. But Buckler has a score of his own to settle with Zwilt and leads the inhabitants of Redwall to stop the evil vermin horde.

I’m afraid I wasn’t particularly impressed with this book. It’s pretty stereotypical Redwall, without enough new things to make it feel original. Two of the characters (including a warrior mole!) are introduced later on in the book and assume important roles, which felt a little last-minute to me. I would say that big Redwall fans might want to read this, but The Sable Quean is not a must-read.

Doomwyte

Our rating: ****½

Young Bisky the mouse and his friends at Redwall are determined to find the four great jewels that were hidden long ago by Gonff, the prince of thieves. Unfortunately, this treasure is also sought after by the raven Korvus Skurr and his hoard of sinister Doomwytes. Solving riddles, braving danger, and meeting many allies along the way, the Redwallers may still be up against more than they bargained for.

I must admit I didn’t go into Doomwyte expecting much. However, I ended up pleasantly surprised. Several funny moments, some riddles, plenty of adventure, and a new sort of villainous threat. I think what really pulled it off for me, though, is the lack of character stereotypes. After so many books in the series, there starts to be almost a standard for “the abbot character,” “the hero character,” and so on. But this one felt fresh and different, while still keeping in the same general feel as the other books. I’d say Doomwyte is worthy to sit on the shelf with the rest of the Redwall series.

Brian Jacques’ USA Tour Dates Announced

Brian Jacques has announced his 2008 USA tour dates. This year, he’ll be hitting New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Kentucky, Texas, and Oklahoma. Visit the official Redwall Web site for more details!

Redwall Book 20 Coming Soon

Scheduled for publication on October 16, 2008, Doomwyte is the twentieth Redwall book.

From the Redwall Wiki:

On a moonless night, two rats follow hypnotic lights into the forest, never to be seen again. Such is the power of the Doomwytes, sinister ravens led by the deadly Korvus Skurr. And when the young mouse Bisky persuades the creatures of Redwall Abbey to go in search of a fabled treasure, hidden long ago by one of the abbey’s most notorious thieves, they do not suspect Skurr and his ravens will be vying for that very treasure. Bisky and his fellow Redwallers must summon all their courage to face the evil horde of slithering snakes and vicious ravens. From underground tunnels to the tops of trees, the fearless Redwallers, with the help of their woodland friends, battle some their most vicious enemies yet in an exhilarating, terrifying treasure hunt.

Not only that, but this year we will be getting not one, but two Brian Jacques novels! Castaways 4 has been confirmed for 2008.

Eulalia!

Our rating: ****½

The Searat captain Vizka Longtooth captures a young badger, which he decides to tame. But Gorath (the badger) is angry at the rats for killing his grandparents, and he plans to escape as soon as he can. Meanwhile, badger lord Asheye has a dream, telling him that Salamandastron’s new badger ruler will be found defending Redwall Abbey. He sends out perilous hare Mad Maudie to find the badger and bring him back. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Redwall Abbey has also banished a young hedgehog thief, telling him not to come back for a whole season. The resulting tale does indeed end up making sense in true Redwall fashion.

Doing a review of a Redwall book is always a challenge. I have read all eighteen books before this one, and I already have a favorite picked out. That being said, Eulalia! certainly meets expectations. The characters are just as memorable as always, the story just as complicated, and the ending just as satisfying.