Kogiopsis's Reviews > Martin the Warrior

Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques
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Sep 19, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: fangirl-alert, childhood-nostalgia, teary-eyes, reviewed, favorite-2013-reads
Read in June, 2013

One of the things I came across when I was young and completely obsessed with Redwall was a quote from Brian Jacques, in the introduction to 'Redwall Friend and Foe' where he stated, emphatically, "Goodies are good!" I can't help thinking about that when I think about this book, because here's the thing: while on its surface Redwall can look like a series with black and white morality, where certain people are good and others are bad, the stories themselves often overturn those expectations, and none do it quite as powerfully as Martin the Warrior, story of the Abbey's legendary champion before he arrived in Mossflower Wood.

Martin isn't a bad person, but what he is isn't precisely 'good' either. His story is fundamentally about being consumed by revenge to the point that he loses sight of the people around him, and it causes horrible destruction and suffering. What he fights for, nominally, is freedom; but it is clear as the book nears its climax that he is also motivated by pride and pain, and both of those cloud his vision. He does not make it out unscathed.

The end of this book was pretty much the saddest thing I remember reading as a child - the song that played over the TV show's final scenes still makes me tear up. There is a brutality to it which is uncommon for the series (though not unique) and it is that coupled with the long-term effects on Martin - which most readers probably already know - that make this so painful. And yet it's... also a big part of what makes this book powerful, because it is a book about pain and responding to it, and Martin's choices at the beginning and at the end are completely opposed, as are the choices he makes in much of the rest of his life.
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03/12/2016 marked as: read

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