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Keyla
December 7th, 2003, 11:58 AM
Well, it has been a good few months since the last "Book Focus", so it is about time we had one.

*Puts on currator's voice*

Continuing our chronological trek through the series we now come to a most interesting book. A tale that is distinct and moving. It is destined to go down in history as being the one that truly broke the mold.
However, opinions on it are quite varied. Many hold it in very high esteam. Book 2 is perhaps some of Brian Jacques' most dark and mature writing yet, dealing with issues such as loss, slavery and revenge. Yet others have a far lower opinion of it, some refering to the first book as being similar to "a beginner's fanfic".
So what is it a veritable jewel of the series or an embarrasment to the term "Tale of Redwall"?

*Returned to normal self*

How did you rate it within the series?
What were its strengths?
What were its weaknesses?
What were your favorite characters?
If you were Brian, what would you have done differently?
What surprised or disappointed you?
What was the most vivid "moment" or scene for you?
Did you feel the very original structure worked or did it just mean that the tale did not work as well as it might?
This tale was most definately ambitious and a break from the norm after Brian had written so many with a relatively similar structure. Do you favour taking such gambles or would you rather he progressed in a more "safe" and cautious way, developing the way he writes the tales only slightly each time?
Many of the characters in the story, such as Luke, Martin, Ranguvar and Folgrim, are driven by revenge or have been at some time in their past. Do you feel Brian has exhausted this as a theme and do you think he is progressing on from it?

Senav
December 8th, 2003, 04:17 PM
Lalala...
How did you rate it within the series?
Eh, depends. I wouldn't put it in the pits, but it's not high on my list o' favorites.

What were it's strengths?
The second book. All the great characters, especially Ranguvar (that's a cool name). And I like Folgrim. Crazy characters are the best.

What were it's weaknesses?
The first and third books. The whole thing would've been better off if they'd been shortened or taken out altogether. More attention is paid to getting to and from the Northlands than Luke himself.

What were your favorite characters?
Folgrim, and Luke, and Ranguvar. Crazy, vengeful, or both...is this a trend?

If you were Brian, what would you have done differently?
I dunno. Erase the first and third books? Or I would've prefered a much shorter "introduction" chapter, as in Trimp arrives at Redwall, she and Martin discover their "history", and she tells the tale, instead of what we got. Like Martin the Warrior.

What surprised or dissapointed you?
Not sure. Maybe the fact that Folgrim likes to snack on enemies, which is new for the good guys. Or thatLuke and Ranguvar died in a dramatic manner.

What was the most vivid "moment" or scene for you?
Two stand out in my mind. The scene where the Goreleech went down (very dramatic=me like), or when Martin goes out to sit on the rocks before they leave. It was sad without being mushy, which I like. And I like pretty colored rocks.

Did you feel the very original structure worked or did it just mean that the tale did not work as well as it might?
Oh I liked it. 'Twas a neat way of telling the tale. Reading a story about creatures reading a story.

rowanoak
December 9th, 2003, 08:15 AM
I admit I have not read the book, but I did want to say something in answer to the revenge question. BJ has used the idea of revenge often and I think it is because, in part, revenge is a natural reaction to being seriously wronged, though it does not exactly make it right. Also, adding the motive of revenge gives more depth to the good characters like Luke and makes them more realistic; making the good characters motives for what they do not be totally pure. Keep in mind too, that the "Redwall" world does not have much of a justice system.

Keyla
December 13th, 2003, 09:29 AM
How did you rate it within the series?
I gave it 5th to 6th, just for the record.;)


What were its strengths?
Book 2 was superb: dark; passionate; filled with many a wonderful character; unashamedly emotional. Brian was bold enough to deal with slavery and death the most openly he ever has in my opinion. The narrative was flab free and perfectly balanced.
Throughout the entire novel the characters are well developed. We got what I think is our best look at the central character at the series as he contemplates both his past and his future. There is a real sense of loneliness about his character and as the tale progresses we see how much more mature in character he is than in the two previous books.


What were its weaknesses?
Through the middle section of Book 1 the plot seemed to meander lazily being attacked by one thing or the other and trying to introduce various characters, some of whom, such as Log-alog, were generally unnecessary. However, things really picked up as they drew nearer to the northlands, when Martin's emotional journey became more compelling.
The ending 50 pages seemed slightly strung out. The conclusion could have taken a far lesser time. The length of the finale book did take something out of the punch of Luke's tale.


What were your favorite characters?
Luke and Martin were both unappologetically centre stage and were done fantastically. More on the periphary Folgrim and Ranguvar were both very good characters, although I do feel the mentally scared otter might have benefitted from being in a different book where his character arc was not broken by such a large intermission.


If you were Brian, what would you have done differently?
While I find it difficult to fault the middle section I would say that the "bookends" could have been tightened up a bit. Some characters could easily have not been there. In addition, I felt someone more engaging than Trimp could have brought up Martin's father.


What surprised or disappointed you?
The biggest surprise, initially, was the structure of the book, really breaking the mold. The intensity of the narrative of the middle book was also quite a shock.
Some people say that more time should have been spent on Luke's tale, but I personally feel that it was just the right length.


What was the most vivid "moment" or scene for you?
Arfship will always remain in my memorry as the picture I have of this book. I find it quite unsurprising that this most striking and intriguing image was used for both the British and American covers.
Martin's contemplation after he has heard the tale is a simple yet powerful scene with real pathos. It really brings the hammer home.


Did you feel the very original structure worked or did it just mean that the tale did not work as well as it might?
While I do feel that the faults of the book are down to Brian's infamiliarity with such a structure I think it enhanced the book overal, allowing Brian to create such a powerful story rather than just another Redwall history such as "Martin the Warrior" and "Lord Brocktree".


This tale was most definately ambitious and a break from the norm after Brian had written so many with a relatively similar structure. Do you favour taking such gambles or would you rather he progressed in a more "safe" and cautious way, developing the way he writes the tales only slightly each time?
I personally think such gambles are necessary for the series to progress and for the fans' attention to be held, otherwise the series would fall into a rut of repeatition.


Many of the characters in the story, such as Luke, Martin, Ranguvar and Folgrim, are driven by revenge or have been at some time in their past. Do you feel Brian has exhausted this as a theme and do you think he is progressing on from it?
I think revenge is a central undercurrent of the series. It is a passion that drives many of the characters, but it is often used as a catalyst for tragedy, such as in the case of this book and "Martin the Warrior", and so long as Brian is exploring it in original ways then I am quite content.

To sum things up it is one of the best in the series in many areas but one of the worst in a few. However, overall it is a not only groundbreaking but also very satisfying entry to the series.

Keyla
December 28th, 2003, 07:04 AM
Just as a bit of pointless trivia "The Legend of Luke"'s average placing in the series from votes cast thus far is, rounded to the nearest whole place 8th. This is, perhaps, surprising when one considers that in its pole "Lord Brocktree" scored higher, despite often being rated as being far lower.

Chelki Sureshot
January 2nd, 2004, 01:54 PM
I loved it. It gave a bit of background on Martin, I rated it 3rd or 4th. It was excellant. There was nothing wrong in it. I thought it was perfect how it came up in Trimp's song. I was kinda disapointed that it didn't have more of the Abbey, but that wasn't really relevant in the books. Beau was totally awesome. One of my favorite hares, for sure. BJ threw in a Dibbun, which added a lot of charcter, and he made a lot of the mice die without dragging it out. (haha, it rhymes.) I don't see why people rate it lower. IT is one of his later books, and I usually don't bond with the later books, (if you know what I mean) but this one I did.

Cheek Stag Otter
February 23rd, 2004, 10:37 AM
How did you rate it within the series?
Somewhere in the middle, 6th or 7th.
What were its strengths?
I really loved the different Island that Luke and co traveled to and seeing Martin as a kid was cool too.
What were its weaknesses?
THE THRID BOOK, boy did it drag.
What were your favorite characters?
Trimp, Chugg, Flogrim, Luke, Ranguvar, Beau
If you were Brian, what would you have done differently?[b]
Shorten the last book because it really bored me and brough down my raking of the book over all.
[b]What surprised or disappointed you?
Like with "Marlfox" before it, I expected to hate this book (because of general opinion) but was really surprised I liked it so much. I thought Brian wrote the character's of Gonff, Dinny etc reallly well since he hadn't written them in quite a while. What disapointted me was the fact that some characters seemed to have aged loads (Fredy and Coggs) while Martin and Gonff hadn't aged at all.
What was the most vivid "moment" or scene for you?
I loved Vilu's death, one of the Redwall best.
This tale was most definately ambitious and a break from the norm after Brian had written so many with a relatively similar structure. Do you favour taking such gambles or would you rather he progressed in a more "safe" and cautious way, developing the way he writes the tales only slightly each time?
I liked the new structure and would welcome any book like that again.
Many of the characters in the story, such as Luke, Martin, Ranguvar and Folgrim, are driven by revenge or have been at some time in their past. Do you feel Brian has exhausted this as a theme and do you think he is progressing on from it?
Slightly, I feel the revenge element works sometimes (Outcast) but not at all in others (Mariel). I really think its a book to book basis.