Outcast of Redwall by Brian Jacques Book Review
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Outcast of Redwall Book Review
During a battle gone wrong on his quest for revenge, the evil warlord Swartt Sixclaw leaves behind his son Veil. Found and brought to Redwall Abbey, Veil is taken in by a young mousemaid named Bryony. And despite the Redwaller’s peaceful nature, some believe once a vermin always a vermin. When items go missing, or things go awry, Veil is always the first to blame. Each time Bryony stands by his side, defending the young ferret as if he were her own. Until one day he goes too far and is banished from Redwall Abbey. With nowhere else to go, Veil seeks out his father, but life with vermin is never easy.
While Outcast of Redwall may seem as though it focuses on Veil’s time at the Abbey and his journey after, there is a much bigger story to be told. In order to understand how Veil ends up abandoned, readers are introduced to the long time feud between Sunflash the Mace and Swartt Sixclaw. As the badger lord and ferret cross paths time and again, the badger lord sets his eyes on thwarting Swartt’s villainous ways. And true to vermin style, Swartt Sixclaw swears revenge on the badger.
Knowing Veil’s family history only adds to the doubt readers and Redwallers may feel toward the young ferret. It brings into question if Veil comes from a wicked father, does it inherently mean Veil will behave the same way? Bryony is set on the path she can turn Veil’s behavior around if she gives him enough love and support. But some in the abbey cast doubt on Veil, and he grows up in an environment where blame is constantly placed on him for every misdeed. When he eventually takes things too far he is cast out. On his own, Veil’s behavior only further escalates. Whether it is to protect himself from the guilt he feels, or because he embraces his vermin nature is up to the reader to decide.
Despite both Sunflash and Veil’s storylines dealing with heavier themes, Brian Jacques does a wonderful job balancing them with acts of kindness and good natured creatures. One of my favorite moments was when Sunflash spoke of all the recipes he learned from friends on his journey. He spoke of the emotions he felt when eating these delicacies and his desire to share them with friends. Food and feasting is a common occurrence in the Redwall books, and each time a dish is described the reader’s mouth will water. Never read a Redwall book on an empty stomach!
Outcast of Redwall breaks the mold from previous Redwall novels and explores the world beyond the abbey in greater detail. It also shows how even those in Redwall who are seen as kind and caring creatures, can still hold grudges and doubts. Not everyone is perfect, and certain behaviors can change the path of those influenced by them. Altogether this was another riveting adventure filled with quests, friendships, and battles.
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