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Mattimeo by Brian Jacques
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Nov 28, 2010

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bookshelves: ya-children-s-lit, contemporary
Read from November 28 to December 09, 2010

** spoiler alert ** After reading (& loving) Redwall, Mattimeo was something of a disappointment. It was almost a predictable retelling of the first story, with nothing that added to it to make it stand on its own. The pathetically convenient appearances of the owl & Stryk Redkite *just in time* to save the day & their equally convenient disappearances I attribute to the author's sloppiness, in addition to the handling of the shrews & sparrows. It reminds me of when I watched Star Trek growing up. Whenever there was a new character on the bridge you knew there would be an attack, & that character would be killed. That was the purpose for that character--so it was with the nameless shrews & sparrows, who were the only ones to be killed in the battles against the evil hordes. The whole tale was just too far-fetched to be believed, from the grief-stricken parents who swear to find their kidnapped youth, but stop in critical moments to feast & rest up (what parent would stop like that when their kidnapped child was in view & in danger--no matter how hungry or tired they were?), to the battles where thousands of huge, evil, seasoned armies fall beneath the swords of a handful of warriors...& yet nobody (except a few nameless shrews) are killed. Including children, who have never learned warfare...? Sorry, I realize it is a fantasy, but even fantasies must have some sense of believability. I was disappointed with each step in the journey at the easy solutions. This was supposed to be a tough journey--Good grief!

I would have rated this lower, maybe a 2, but I couldn't, given that Jacques really is a great writer. His language & his characters are loveable, even if the story has much to be desired. I wouldn't receommend this book, but I've know many a kid who devours the Redwall books religiously, & for them I wouldn't disrespect this volume. This series is not as bad as, say Goosebumps...the quality of the language is far superior, I just wish Jacques had given more time to the plot.
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