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Urchin of the Riding Stars

(The Mistmantle Chronicles #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  5,207 ratings  ·  282 reviews
The start of an exciting new trilogy, Urchin of the Riding Stars is an epic, Shakespearian story of murder, treachery and revenge set on the island of Mistmantle, a world of squirrels, otters, and moles.
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Miramax Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Louve Young adult I would say,but an eight-year old could read it.
Patrick The Mistmantle Chronicles is for young teens but I can say that it's more or less PG13. The series does have it's dark moments but it's designed for a…moreThe Mistmantle Chronicles is for young teens but I can say that it's more or less PG13. The series does have it's dark moments but it's designed for a young audience. A good example would be any Don Bluth cartoon such as The Land Before Time. It's Dark but it's not overly graphic. Now the Now characters are not full anthropomorphic they are more or less Bipedal, they look feral but walk on 2 legs.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,207 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
The publisher described this to me as "Shakespeare with squirrels," and that's about right. It has elements of Hamlet and Macbeth with the same kind of fantasy world that made Redwall popular. I enjoyed it very much. The book worked so well as a standalone it will be interesting to see what the author does for the next book in the series.
Gillian Bronte Adams
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
As someone who grew up devouring the Redwall books, I was super excited to discover the Mistmantle Chronicles. However, this series is not just a Redwall knock off. The author has her own unique voice and presentation style and deserves full credit in her own right for an imaginative story.

Urchin is a young squirrel discovered orphaned on the seashore during the night of the "Riding Stars" - basically a meteor shower. He is rescued and eventually taken under the wing of Crispin (another squirrel
Allison Tebo
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mini Review.

The Mistmantle Chronicles is more than just a "animals with swords book" it is SO MUCH MORE. A beautiful, swirling adventure that sweeps the reader away into a magical and amazing place, this book also paints deep spiritual truths that touched me to the core. From dizzying heights of joy and giddiness to sorrow so deep I actually cried over more than one book - the Mistmantle Chronicles is not "just a children book" - it is a treasure, a classic, a joy. These are my go-to books when
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Urchin the squirrel was born on a night of riding stars. It was the same night he arrived on the island of Mistmantle, and the same night that his mother died and was washed back out to sea. Discovered by Crispin the squirrel and Brother Fir, Urchin was sent home with kindly but simple Apple to be raised by the community in Anemone Wood. Once Urchin was old enough to enter the island's work parties, he is asked to become Captain Crispin's page, a dream come true. But his dreams turn to nightmare ...more
Friend of Pixie (F.O.P.)
I don't think Logan is ready for the Redwall books (too intense), but this was a good in-between series. And what kid-who-adores-Reepicheep could resist a swashbuckling squirrel? (He laughs with delight when I even say the phrase "swashbuckling squirrel.") There were a couple of things that were a bit difficult. The first scene is Urchin's mother giving birth to him and dying alone on the beach, which wasn't glossed over quickly enough for me. And the main evil character, who is crazy, has a rec ...more
Sarah Amelia
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book along time ago and it was one if my favorites!
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Brilliant! Absolutely lovely. Everything a book ought to be. Proper review to come; I MUST dive right in to the next one.
Michael Fitzgerald
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is mostly a good book - there's not so much wrong with it, apart from the infanticide/euthanasia fixation, which seems an odd thing to include in a book written for children.

The most obvious parallel is to the Redwall series. Both are vaguely medieval with coalitions of furry animals gathered in a castle/abbey. At least the world of this book has a kind of deity. Seems like the author just did a search and replace, inserting "the Heart" in place of the word "God". Historical tapestries are
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 10 years and up
Shelves: finished-in-2018
My purpose in reading this book was to "proof read" it before giving it as a gift. I was totally taken in by the story and greatly enjoyed it! It was well written and intriguing. I felt that the story had some nice twists in the plot and flowed nicely. There are some tense moments and mild violence in the story which may be disturbing to younger children. There are only animals in the story (no humans) but it is not a "cute" animal story. There are battles, adventures, treacheries, and even deat ...more
Going into this book I knew nothing about it. I thought it was going to be some cutesy tale about animals on an adventure or something. Instead what I got was a wholly engrossing tale of intrigue, deception, valour, friendship and more. I really recommend this book. I listened to the audio version and the narrator was amazing! Definitely worth the read, or listen.
Leah Beecher
So, this bed time chapter book I read to my 3rd grader and Kindergartener took over three months to finish. This had more to do with my starting dinner shamefully late and therefore bedtime was horribly late, than anything else. However, I will say, it is a longer read, with long chapters. {When the scene switches within a chapter there is a little * at the top of the paragraph, making it convenient to stop and remember where you were left off mid-chapter, which is kinda helpful and special}. My ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: auroras-books
My 10-year-old loved this series so much that she read it twice, then asked me to read it to her at bedtime. It's got old-fashioned heroes and a truly evil villain, but she was so caught up in the story that she started naming her stuffed animals after the characters in the book. I have to admit: it's pretty darn good for a book about talking squirrels and otters.

That said, the villainy will be too intense for younger children. As it was, I had to explain what culling is -- it's being used by th
Oh, My. Gosh. I had a cuteness overload after reading this book and I'm not the kind of person to normally feel that way.

Got this book from my parents at a bargain book sale for only a few dollars. After reading this I felt really happy I got it for so cheap and yet angry at the sellers because they were not only selling such an amazing book but also at such a low price like it was a terrible book.

The illustrations play a great part in the story. There just serve as eye candy in the whole book a
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-related, fantasy
En riktigt bra bok! En härlig blandning av Shakespeare och Hobb förlagt i Mossblomma!
Nå, inte egentligen, men nära nog.

Urchin är en utböling på Dimslöjornas ö. Hans ljusa päls och underliga bakgrund får honom att sticka ut från öns andra ekorrar. Att han sedan, helt oförberett får anställning som page under en av öns tre kaptener hjälper inte saken nämnvärt. Särskilt sedan hans älskade kapten snart blir anklagad för mordet på den unga prinsen och därmed tvingas i landsförvisning.
Stackars Urchin
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
"A true heart survives the breaking."

I still remember the day I saw this series on the shelf at the library and picked this book up. I thought it would be a nice little fluff read. How wrong I was and how deeply I was touched after the read!
This book has the feel of Arthurian legend mixed with-as mentioned by others-Shakespearean themes that give it a tone of timeless appeal.
You will come to love the valiant and playful otters, the loyal and hard working hedgehogs, the determined and courageou
Apr 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a very good series to read with a child (or maybe without!). My son is 10 & he's thoroughly engaged with the characters & story. It's a typical hero's journey with Urchin in the lead role - born under circumstances spelled out in an inevitable prophecy - but there's a strong ensemble of characters who act in primary roles when the POV shifts to each one in turn. I find the writing a little trickier than most books for reading aloud, not sure why - maybe the word choice?

The good
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In the best tradition of fantasy, Mistmantle establishes itself in good company. Fans of Redwall, Despereaux, Ga'Hoole, and Narnia will all find something comfortable, yet refreshingly unique in this book. Urchin is an orphan squirrel in the peaceful king of Mistmantle. Somewhat of a misfit, he fears his dreams of adventure will never come to be. Peace can be fragile, and all is not what it seems for the gentle creatures of the island. Treachery and murder are afoot and heroes are about to be bo ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jag har tyckt det var synd att Brian Jacques böcker inte finns att köpa på svenska längre. Men böckerna om Urchin är något i liknande genre. Så jag läste glatt igenom första boken och hittade en värld i samma anda.

Djuren (Ekorrar, uttrar, igelkottar och Mullvadar) har all sina karaktärsdrag och man ser det runt om i deras lilla värld. Små härliga beskrivningar om olika maträtter för de olika djuren är roliga och hur olika djur tar sig fram via tunnlar, vatten, eller klättring.

Vems perspektiv vi
Dec 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was great! When I first saw it, I thought it would be a knock-off of the Redwall series but it was really original. It had a sweet (I don't mean cool, I mean sweet) and presenting-the-facts style to it and though it was a little obvious that Lord Husk and Lady Aspen were the bad guys right from the start (this thing does a spoiler alert on its own right?) it did a terrific job of making them seem innocent at first. It was surprising too, in small ways as well as the big ones and, thoug ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
A few children's fantasies deserve adult attention for their own sakes, not simply as choices to give to younger relatives. The Mistmantle series definitely belongs in the category of "ageless reader appeal."
A surprisingly well-developed plot, colorfully real and recognisable characters, admireable heroes (complete with character flaws), and satisfying illustrations of necessary life lessons are typical of this first volume. Read it! You'll be glad you did!
King Haddock
This certainly was no replace of the wonders spun in Redwall, but it was a cute children's novel, nonetheless. Still, I found it highly predictable because it follows a very normal pattern of plot. In that sense, the book was already worn out from the first page. Characters were extremely flat. Still, the culling of the "defective" children was chilling, as it was meant to be, making a great start in the novel. Overall, it is a fun, short adventure story to read.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ellie, jacob, mom
Listening to the audio in the car with the kids. Our friends the White's gave us this audio, thank you! I absolutely love the reader's voice...Andrew Sachs. He changes his voice so well from character to character!..7/22/15

Jacob would like to rate this above 5 stars. We all loved it! Looking forward to getting Book Two (perhaps for Christmas?)
Gretchen Jones
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every book in this series compelled me to the next book! Minimally predictable, which is hard to accomplish in all five books in a series. Heartwarming, believable characters carry through all five books. Loved every one of them!
Jun 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasyishbooks
Premise is reminiscent of Redwall, but with a bit of grit. Plot should ring some Shakespearean bells. :)
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I felt completely pulled into the fantasy world of talking animals. I enjoyed the charm and pull between good and evil. The imagery was great.
May 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It seems as though every book with anthropomorphic animal characters claims to be an “adventure in the great tradition of Watership Down and The Wind in the Willows.” Unfortunately not all anthropomorphic animal books meet the standards set by the tradition.

There are several good things about the book: It is well-written overall, the characters are generally believable, there’s lots of political intrigue (Many of the themes in the book come from Macbeth), and the artwork both on the cover and at
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Light Furry Adventure
On the hard to reach island of Mistmantle, a corrupted knight tries to take over the kingdom.
This book is best described as Redwall meets McBeth. Urchin does not play the part of a big hero, just a person who believes in what he is doing. I expected a pretty generic adventure and that is about what I got. I’m glad to say that this book has a little bit more religion in it’s characters than Redwall; the people of Mistmantle have a few sayings concerning “The Heart” and that gives a little cultur
Akos Hochrein
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. McAllister builds a beautiful medieval universe, where vermin are fighting for survival and power with intrigue, charisma, bravery and strength. The story is about the adventures of Urchin, a brave, young squirrel, who was born under a lucky star and is trying to find his place on the island of Mistmantle, where higher powers are plotting against each other.

I'd recommend this read for anyone. Might exclude younger children (ironically), because there's some pretty
Antonio Talamantes
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Treachery, adventure, sword battles, evil, bravery, kings and queens, talking animals, what not to love about Urchin? I've been putting off this book for a long time, and when I finally picked it from my shelves, just couldn't stop reading. If you're into fantasy mixed with castle-related topics this is your book. Can't wait to read the next one.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Eigenlijk ben ik aan deze trilogie begonnen vanwege het prachtige omslag, maar de inhoud mag er ook zijn. Het eerste deel vertelt een sympathiek en bij vlagen wat ruig verhaal: de dierlijke personages zorgen voor leuke of zelfs schattige passages, terwijl dood en verderf bepaald niet op de achtergrond blijven. Het einde is verrassend afgerond, waardoor het boek ook op zichzelf kan worden gelezen.
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Goodreads Librari...: Author name 6 39 Jun 17, 2017 02:40AM  
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Margaret McAllister writing as M.I. McAllister.

Other books in the series

The Mistmantle Chronicles (5 books)
  • Urchin and the Heartstone (The Mistmantle Chronicles, #2)
  • The Heir of Mistmantle (The Mistmantle Chronicles, #3)
  • Urchin and the Raven War (The Mistmantle Chronicles, #4)
  • Urchin and the Rage Tide (The Mistmantle Chronicles, #5)