Doomwyte is the twentieth book in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. It was published in 2008 by Philomel. The Redwall wiki (spoilers!) can be found here, and info about Brian Jacques can be found here.
“Who stole the jeweled eyes of the Great Doomwyte Idol long ago? What horrors dwell in the caves beneath the wooded hill—the realm of the fearsome Korvus Skurr, the black-feathered raven?
Young Redwallers and their friends find themselves in the grips of adventure, solving mysterious riddles and battling villainous foes in daring underground forays. Join them in the quest, the feasts, the songs, and the fray. Unite with tribes of the Guosim and Gonfelin against vermin, carrions, and the dangerous Wytes. Discover why the black avenger haunts the wooded slopes. But most of all, beware of the dreaded Balis!”
[Quick note: There is no What I Liked/Didn’t Like because I’m experimenting with a new form of review writing. I’ll just be combining my thoughts, positive and negative.]
We’re almost at the end, thank goodness.
This book was refreshing in terms of plot elements: some of the Fetch Quest Items were outside the Abbey, rather than hidden inside; the villain and his cronies were fairly unique; and Tugga Bruster was a mean and nasty Log a Log that nobody really mourned. I wish Balis hadn’t been given the Mad Villain Treatment so early on, but the threat he made even going mad was at least legitimate unlike Korvus Skurr, who didn’t actually do much besides throw snakes to the catfish.
I do think the Redwall books with one main hero and his/her sidekick are better than the group hero books because the former can focus more on development. Bisky and the others (I can’t even remember their names) were pretty flat and even Bosie, who carried the Sword of Martin, was forgettable. I did like Zaran, though, because even though she filled the “warrior wants revenge” trope, I did think she was quite sweet (as in charming) as a whole, and she managed to put the past behind her and move on with a new life.
Also, I did like the inclusion of the Gonfelins, even though we’ve never heard of them before, and some of the new places found in the Abbey. This book was heavy on exploring for much of it, and I enjoy exploring.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Violence/fighting, death.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
“Outside in the rainswept, clouded night, across the water-logged lawns and dropping beds of daffodils, late snow-drops, early periwinkle and purple pasque blooms, a single, silent, pale light floated in over the threshold wall. It was soon followed by a second. Between them they slid back the well-greased bar of the main gates. With scarcely a creak, the outer gates opened a mere fraction. That was enough. At ground level, and slightly higher up, the eerie lights shimmered in, half a score of the mysterious flames, undimmed by the downpour. The Wytes had come to Redwall Abbey.”
Doomwyte, while still not a great Redwall book, and still too reliant on past archetypes, at least subverted a few things, such as with the character of Tugga Bruster. Balis was pretty threatening and made up (mostly) for Korvus Skurr being a weak villain, although I think Jacques relies on the “going mad” trope too much with his villains. While a lot of the heroes were forgettable, Zaran was sweet and the search for the Doomwyte Idol gems was better than some of the other Fetch Quests.
You can buy this here: Doomwyte (Redwall)