Mariel of Redwall is the fourth book in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. It was published in 1991 by Philomel. The Redwall wiki (spoilers!) can be found here, and info about Brian Jacques can be found here.
“Gabool the Wild: a more wicked rat pirate king never ranged the seas. To serve him means peril. To cross him, means certain death.
When Gabool attacks the mouse-ship carrying Joseph the Bellmaker, he plunders Joseph’s marvelous bell in a fit of greed, and pitilessly casts him and his daughter, the mousemaid Mariel, into the raging sea. Gabool thereby unleashes events that will pit him against a force the magnitude of which even he cannot possibly imagine.
Mariel is cast ashore, with no memory of who she is; her only protection is her trusty rope-weapon, the Gullwhacker. But once she is brought to Redwall Abbey, she remembers and, certain her father is dead, vows to avenge him. Mariel sets off with three fearless Mossflower companions in search of Gabool, and ensures a battle that will never be forgotten in the annals of the peaceful Redwall community.”
What I Liked:
So, I’ve always liked the hares, but I think the hares in this book are (so far) my favorites. Tarquin and his songs about Hon Rosie, Hon Rosie’s laugh, and the sheer awesomeness of Thyme and Clary…they completely stole the show, in my opinion. Thyme and Clary also made up for another Can’t Have A Redwall Book Without Redwall Being Invaded Even If It’s Not Necessary plot. Although, granted, this Redwall invasion was way more relevant than the one in Mattimeo…
Mariel is the first female main hero in Redwall (although there was Jess Squirrel and Lady Amber in previous books, but they didn’t have a main plotline), so that’s cool. Also, I think it’s funny how Dandin doesn’t seem to have any prior sword experience and then suddenly handles the Sword of Martin like a pro. Magical Sword Powers!
The revelation near the end about a certain character is pretty good. I mean, I’ve read the book before so I knew what to expect, but reading it again I realized that this was probably a very big reveal for those who have never read the book before, which made me appreciate it all the more.
Gabool is, I think, the first villain to go completely crazy before the end. Cluny was like that to an extent, and Tsarmina as well, but their crazy was based more off of fears they had. Gabool is just crazy.
What I Didn’t Like:
I’ve never really liked Mariel of Redwall that much. I’m not quite sure what it is. Both Mariel and Dandin just seem very different than the warriors that have come before them. Maybe this is due to their age, but I can’t quite buy into either of them being the “warrior” of the book, especially Dandin. I think it might be because there’s not nearly as much character development for either of them as there was for other warriors, like Matthias and Mattimeo (Martin doesn’t quite count because he’s Martin the Warrior and awesome, but even Mossflower gives him development of a sort). I’m not counting Mariel’s amnesia as development, because that wasn’t development. That was amnesia. Saxtus had more development than Dandin and Mariel, for goodness sake! Treerose had more!
Only two books of it and I’m already tired of the Redwall Invasion plot! Uh oh. As I mentioned above, though, this one, though, was much, much better than Mattimeo’s, thanks entirely to Thyme, Hon Rose, and Clary (Oh, Thyme and Clary…). But it’s still an annoying side plot to deal with.
I think Gabool would have been a much better villain if he didn’t go crazy almost right away.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Violence, death.
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
“Never seen a blinkin’ harolina? Corks, no wonder you’re lost. I say, is that a long patrol medal you happen t’ be wearing?”
“This? Oh yes, it was given to me by Colonel Clary, Brigadier Thyme and Hon Rosie…”
Before Storm could say any more, a dreamy look crossed the jester hare’s face, making him look extra foolish.
“Egads! Hon Rosie, the Honorable Rosemary—exquisite creature, completely adorable gel, doncha know. Did she mention my name by the way?”
“Supreme sacrifice, wot? Chap keepin’ another chap afloat in a bally swamp with his harolina. Not many’d do that y’know. Bet Hon Rosie’d think it was a jolly noble effort on my part—fact I’m sure she would.” He turned to the big frilled lizard that was following him. “I mean to say, a chap’s harolina is a very personal possession, wot? Omigosh! Eulaliaaa!”
Bigfang strode about, nodding his head knowingly. “So, a tunnel, eh, mates—that’s how they did it. Prob’ly got some of those squirrels to do their diggin’ for them. I thought so!”
Graypatch grabbed Bigfang by the nose. Digging his claws in tightly, he twisted with cruel ferocity.
“Moles, muckhead, not squirrels! Moles, d’ye hear me?”
Clary, Thyme and Rosie appeared, just outside the clearing. “I say, slobberchops, you shouldn’t’ve twisted the poor chap’s hooter like that. He was right, we did use squirrels!”
Mariel of Redwall lacks development for the main heroes, which unfortunately for me resulted in quite a detachment from caring about them. Tarquin and the other hares are amazing, though, and Clary, Hon Rosie and Thyme make a tedious Redwall invasion plot bearable. The ending battle at Bladegirt is pretty cool, and Gabool’s end is quite poetic. A mediocre novel, but it has its moments.
You can buy this here: Mariel of Redwall
Coming Up Next: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier