‘Martin the Warrior’

Look at this: it’s almost 11:00 and no one’s been here yet. Does that mean I can write anything I want, since no one will see it?

I finally got a chance to read one of the Redwall series of fantasies by the late Brian Jacques. Redwall itself, Book #1 in the series, wasn’t available, so I chose Martin the Warrior.

These books have been fantastically successful, spinning off TV specials and even an opera, of all things. Blamed if I know why.

All of the characters in Martin are talking animals. Somehow this works just fine in The Wind in the Willows and the Freddy the Pig books, but I didn’t find it worked for me here. I suspect it was because many of these animals act like badly-behaved human beings. This is supposed to be fiction for juveniles, but I would rate it “R” for violence.

For all the fighting and the journeying in this story, it doesn’t seem that much really happens. Jacques could have told the story in half the time he took. Instead, he padded it with long descriptions of what all the characters were eating, every two or three pages. After a few chapters, this began to strike me as a very strange procedure.

By now you may be getting the impression that I don’t like anything. But can I help it if there’s so much poor workmanship out there? I wanted very much to like this book, but I got kind of turned off by all the blood and guts and the perpetual fascination with food. Was Mr. Jacques starving while he wrote this thing?

2 comments on “‘Martin the Warrior’

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