|Reviews for The Crimson Badger, Book IV: Fire on the Mountain|
| SomeoneI'mSure chapter 15 . 8/12/2012
Will do! And I plan to read some of your other stories which have interested me.
I'm already getting the idea that Urthfist may have just been set in his ways. If his brother hadn't broken their vow long ago, I'm sure Urthfist would not be dead like he is. Not the best way to deal with the situation, but I suppose it makes Urthblood more mortal and the story more believable. I don't want the story to end! It's wonderful! It's got me hook line and sinker!
I'm having so much fun reading, it's hard to put myself to work doing other things sometimes. Expect my review in some of your other stories. I will get this finished, my work done, and start on the Shrew Wars real soon.
| Highwing chapter 1 . 8/11/2012
No, worries, S.I.S.! Even at the start of your first review, I could tell you'd really formed strong and emotional opinions about my two Badger Lord characters. If Urthblood represents something new to the Redwallian universe, then Urthfist stands in for the traditional Badger Lords, who in BJ's novels have slain more vermin than I can even begin to count; his "insanity," as you put it, is merely the attitude of any number of Badger Lords from the published novels, perhaps exaggerated a bit to contrast Urthblood's conscription of the vermin but still very much rooted in what BJ gave us. It's a clash between the orthodox and the revolutionary and, viewed in those terms, is about a whole lot more than just the rule of some mountain by the sea.
Many thanks for the reviews! I cherish them all! And please do continue the tale in "The Shrew War!"
| SomeoneI'mSure chapter 6 . 8/11/2012
Sorry about that lost post if it seemed like a flame; you should probably skip to the ending and read what I said there first, if you feel your being criticized. Sorry, I need to work on better ways for writing my reviews.
(It occurs to me that I forgot to mention that I believe you could probably write a book for Redwall - if they let you - and be partially mistake for fancier Mr. Jacques. Marvelous skills and talent, I say, chap.
| SomeoneI'mSure chapter 6 . 8/11/2012
All this talk of fighting... and for what? Ruling Salamanderstron. I never liked Urthblood from the beginning because of his tactics, his emotionless and distant manner, and his obvious corrupt ways which he brought with him from the northlands, regardless of his respect and politeness to Redwall and of the fact that I like what he did to the vermin - giving those creatures a chance to defy the stereotypes which have existed since the beginning of Redwall stories!
However, considering the alternative, I dislike Urthfist even more so. He's obviously insane on some level and completely inconsiderate to the creatures he swears he means to protect. He's out of control, even though his brother eggs him on. Neither of them have very good footing in this fight for Lordship because neither of them deserve the throne, but I suppose it's a matter of the lesser of two evils.
All in all, as you can probably tell, I absolutely adore your very creative and well-constructed story and I'm dying to see it to it's resolution which I'm getting to as you are reading this (if you are reading this). I'm not sure if you get much encouragement from your readers but I should probably say this - you have talent and keep up the jolly good work, wot!
| fatescanner chapter 23 . 12/16/2011
Let me just start off by saying that you sir, without a doubt, have written one of the best Redwall stories I've ever had the pleasure to read, possibly THE best I've ever read in fact.
The amount of detail you give to the characters, to the environments ranging from the Abbey to Salamandastron and the surrounding Mossflower country, to the battle sequences, to the different species mannerisms and speech patterns, even to describing the food, reminds me time and again that you have, without a doubt, emulated Mr. Jacques writing style perfectly in this story. Countless times it felt like I was reading an actual story penned by him, but I don't think that even Mr. Jacques himself could've come up with such a gripping story, nor would he probably have had the nerve to write it, since, admittedly, it does break from the normal Redwall conventions quite a lot, but to me, this is but a minor quibble when I think of just how epic a story this has turned out to be for me. And just to think, I haven't even started the sequel! I can't wait to start reading that as well, I'm sure it'll be just as good, if not better than The Crimson Badger.
If you would indulge a curious fellow writer, I'd love to hear the story of how you came up with the idea for this story if you wouldn't mind telling it. :)
And just as a final bit of praise, I just want to say that this story would be, in my mind, a more fitting conclusion to the Redwall series than The Rogue Crew ever could (not to badtalk The Rogue Crew, it's an awesome story in its own wright). The amount of detail you gave this story, as well as the content of the story itself, just completely blows The Rogue Crew away.
Congratulations once again on penning such an awesome story, and see you in the sequel!
| Quaver Ava chapter 18 . 11/6/2011
I must say! You had me laughing like a mad beast on caffeine! From all that terrible stuff and tragedy I've been eating up like someone starvin it's a great wonderful thing to laugh and not be on the verge of tears. Oh, I really needed a good laugh, and you supplied me with such. Thank you.
| ifeelmad chapter 22 . 10/27/2011
| ifeelmad chapter 16 . 10/27/2011
| Otulissa the dragon chapter 23 . 6/14/2011
I have followed many Redwall stories, but never have I found such a uniqe and colorful story. I have to say you, my friend, could be the next author for Redwall! Your skill and mastery of writing could almost rival Brian J. himself! I have a hint for you, don't forget the occasional "Wot, wot!" from the hares! Once again, beautiful story, I will stalk you from here on with your stories.
Lissa, the Cloudstork
| Samadhir chapter 22 . 6/9/2011
And so we come to the end of this great tale…
As I mentioned before, since I had to make that ridiculous cheerleading post when Highwing mentioned posting outtakes from TCB, I’ll review both chapter 84 and the epilogue here, since doesn’t allow for multiple reviews of the same chapter, and give my thought and the book as a whole as well. I’ll try to keep things as economical as I can.
Poor Hanchett. Having come out of a recent spate of clinical depression myself, I understand how horrible it feels when everything seems so hopeless and meaningless that you just want to throw yourself of a wall and die. Traveller is kind in trying to cheer him up, and when that doesn’t work he manages to get him back from the brink by pointing out that he still has his duty as a Long Patrol soldier to consider. Although that will let him keep going, it’s still just a sense of duty, rather than any actual joy of life, and that is not a good way to live. I don’t think Hanchett will ever truly recover from this melancholy, sadly.
Traveller’s little speech about the future, how they’ve got to keep ready for whatever dark days may come, and what it all means for Mossflower and the rest of the world, is very powerful and a poignant reminder that for all the epic events that has taken place in TCB, it is truly only the beginning of all the momentous events that will come…
I do of course have many problems with his reference to the “treacherous fox”, but more on that later.
And as a finish to this epic tale, we get an exciting account of how Vanessa, Arlyn, Clewiston and the others clean up the dishes! Do I detect a slight contempt in Hugh’s tone when he describes how the two new mustelids scoffed up the food? He still harbours such prejudice against vermin, eh? Well, it’s to be expected; generations-old attitudes don’t disappear overnight. I loved the account of how Broggen and Smallert played and frolicked with the otters, especially the stoat’s less-than-voluntary “otter right of passage” in the pond! It’s wonderful that beasts who were so distrustful and contemptuous of each other at the start of this story are now close friends; it truly shows how far things have progressed.
At the end, there’s nothing else to do except to retire into the abbey for the night, to the joyful, off-key singing of otters, hares and a slightly drunk weasel, to enjoy the celebrations of the Redwall spirit and way of life for as long as it may last…
Things are nicely wrapped up in the Epilogue. How wonderful that Broggen turns out to be an ermine stoat, and that the Vanessa even names the winter season after him; that’s got to be the first time that the Redwallers have named a season after a vermin in a fond manner. Though I have to wonder if it’s really appropriate for him to cavort about in front of children in the nude! Yeah, there is that question of exactly what counts as nudity in the Redwall universe, and what, eh… bits and parts are… visible.
So you think Snoga is nothing but trouble, eh? Well, you haven’t seen anything yet. A little tip: the sequel isn’t called “The Shrew War” for nothing…
I would actually have liked to see Urthblood’s visit to the abbey myself, but that would probably have kept things going for too long. No surprise of course that the hares don’t want to come with him back to Salamandastron, he really should have known better by now. But it’s awesome that Mina arrives at Redwall to be with her suitor! The wedding bells are sure to tingle very soon! And no less than three hundred Gawtrybe have arrived at the mountain to help with the defense; that is sure to keep Tratton out of the badgerlord’s home, but it will also escalate the conflict further. I like Urthblood’s idea of building way stations for the Sparra across Mossflower to open up regular communication channels (he’s always the forward thinking one, isn’t he?), but considering that the abbeydwellers haven’t even got around to building that staircase yet, it will probably take awhile.
Loved Geoff’s account of how Vanessa tried to coax a straight answer out of the badger as to whether he tried to goad his brother into attacking him; he really is like a brick wall in such matters. I am rather firmly convinced now that that was the case, and I understand why Urthblood would not want to admit such a thing. He truly is a mysterious and questionable creature, and we’ll only see more of those traits in the future…
But what grinds my bones more than his recalcitrance is the Long Patrol hares attitude towards Machus…. Grrr! I understand that they would be rather upset about how he led to the death of Urthfist, but how they can regard what he did as a “treacherous” act, let alone see him as the “vilest of villains”, is just mind-blowing. Hanchett did the exact same thing before he did, even though Urthfist was nowhere near in as much danger as Urthblood was when Machus jumped in, and they regard him as a hero and Traveller spent the first part of the previous chapter praising him for it! Disrespect, you flopeared hypocrites, disrespect! At least the Redwallers have the good sense to see his actions for the noble sacrifice it was, and I can only hope their attitude will rub off on the hares in time.
And it all ends with a little soliloquy by Geoff of how Redwall has stood against evil over the generations, and how he’s certain that it will continue to do so in the future. “Evil can never triumph over good”, eh? That is what past Redwall leaders have said, and that was one of the core themes of all of BJ’s novels. But as hopeful a sentiment as that is to end the story with, in this case I can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding dread. Highwing’s saga turns many of the established elements of the official novels on its head, and this, I think, is one of them. Evil can come from many places other than vermin hordes and conquering searats; it can also come from the hearts and minds of beasts with genuinely noble goals and intentions, who nevertheless are willing to do anything, no matter how questionable, to achieve them. Browder was one such example, and there is at least one other beast out there that I’m sure you will agree might fit the bill as well….
But whatever happens, life will go on. For good or evil, great changes are being wrought upon the world, and the best most honest creatures can do is try to weather them. And hopefully, to try and influence them so that everything will turn out as well as it can in the end…
Well… what is there left to say except: absolutely fantastic work, Wing! It has been a pure joy to re-read The Crimson Badger again. My admiration and love for it has only been strengthened. It is truly a great accomplishment that you have achieved, and while I don’t mean any disrespect towards BJ, I think it far exceeds the official books in quality. Once again, this is an amazing story!
Of course, I won’t deny that it has its flaws, some of which I’ve discovered as I’ve re-read it. Like I said during “The Warlord”, it has problems with pacing at times, particularly during the beginning which drags on a bit too much. There are some problems occasionally with the backstory, like how the old relationship between Urthblood and Urthfist is never expanded upon, or the question of why there are no hares in the crimson badger’s army. And since I’m not that big of a fan of the official novels, as other readers of my reviews have probably figured out by now, I sometimes think it doesn’t need to tie in or follow as many of their conventions as it tries to do; I’ve never been fond of how they age, for instance, with a season being the equivalent of a year, and how badgers can live four times as long as other creatures.
But overall, these are minor quibbles. They’re only noticeable because the rest of the story is so great. It has wonderful characters, a wonderful plot, wonderful ideas, wonderful action sequences (though we could have seen a bit more of that), and wonderful writing all-around. Truly an accomplishment, Wing, that you have every reason to be proud of.
Of course, it is merely the beginning of The Urthblood Saga. Like you said, The Shrew War will be posted during the summer; I can’t wait for that to happen. Without spoiling too much to others, let me reassure everyone that it’s even better than The Crimson Badger. In the meantime, I will continue to read and review the other related stories, like Martin the Turd, and to keep working on the TvTropes page for the saga: /Fanfic/TheUrthbloodSaga . Once again, forgive me for the self-promotion, but if any other fans of TCB would want to jump in and take a look, or even help out with it if they’re tropers themselves, that would be great.
Thanks once again, Highwing, for this excellent tale, and I truly hope it will gain the attention and recognition it deserves. It has already gotten several new fans with its posting here on , and I’m sure it will get many more in the future.
See you in The Urthblood Saga, Part 2: The Shrew War!
| Samadhir chapter 21 . 6/8/2011
Wow, I guess I was truly justified in adding the ”Food Porn” category to The Urthblood Saga on TvTropes; it truly can compete with the original novels. All the descriptions of the food and drink makes my mouth water, and I don’t even LIKE vegetable pies. The only disappointment is that there’s no meat dishes; I think the Redwallers should rethink their vegetarianism sometimes (well, except for the fish and shrimps, since they don’t count apparently, but I hate seafood).
Nice poem by Vanessa (though I still wonder exactly to whom or what they’re praying to), and I don’t think the new hare residents could have been better honoured than having the season named after them. I’m a little uncertain if some of the longears really don’t want to see another battle again, since they probably still want to settle the score with Urthblood, but that will have to wait to another day.
Lovely little banter between Smallert and Broggen at the end. I did get kinda strange vibes with Smallert’s comment that the cream around his whiskers would make some other male stoat would want to make Broggen “his wife”, but that’s probably just me being dirty. Hehe!
Now it’s just one more review to go, which will be of both the last chapter, the epilogue, and The Crimson Badger as a whole.
| Samadhir chapter 20 . 6/8/2011
Very nice account at the beginning of all the changes occurring at Redwall and how life continues its uneven path. With the heatwave that is sweeping over Sweden as I’m writing this, I’m rather envious of the Redwallers getting to enjoy the cool breezes and long shadows of the autumn.
I do think that since they made that long expedition to the quarry to get the stone for the hares’ new dorms, they should have taken the opportunity to bring along some stone for the staircase as well. Kind of an oversight if you ask me.
And weeks pass and there’s still no sign of Alexander. I know how frustrating it can be to wait for something without knowing the date of when it will arrive, if ever, and I don’t have to worry about a friends of mine having been slain. I understand the Colonel’s worries, even if I think he should know that Urthblood would have no reason to go back on his word now.
But at the end, they do return. Nice to see that Hanchett survived and was given a pardon; at least Urthblood had the good sense to do that, even if I’m still annoyed that he would make such ridiculous “treason” charges to begin with.
With that sorted out, all that remains now is to enjoy the coming Nameday Feast!
| Samadhir chapter 19 . 6/7/2011
A chapter that is basically just one scene, though split into two parts.
Broggen is lovely, as always. Vanessa is tactful, kind and considerate in her dealings with him. Clewiston is willing to consider the possibility of living together with a stoat and a weasel, and former soldiers of Urthblood on top of that. A nice little meeting, overall.
I really like Vanessa acknowledgement that Broggen had no choice over the type of creature he happened to be born as (and why should he have refused to be a stoat, if he’d had that choice?). Goes to show how ridiculous it really is to hate creatures over such matters, even if old suspicions do have their reasons.
And the emotions start flaring up when the possibility that Urthblood might come for a visit comes up, and that the hares will have to be courteous towards him if that happens. At least he agrees that he’ll be able to avoid any fights with him, and his words “IF Urthfist was right about him” implies that he might be able to actually consider the possibility that he wasn’t…
And they’ll still call themselves the Long Patrol, eh? Fitting, I suppose, though it would have been interesting to see them adopt a new name for their new station and role. The Red Patrol, perhaps?
| Samadhir chapter 18 . 6/7/2011
Hehe! Yes, babysitting could be a useful occupation if you don’t want to relive the entire story of a battle you’ve just been through. It’s heartening that the Long Patrol don’t consider such activities to be beneath them; more beasts could learn from their example. Equally heartening is their defense, along with Winokur and Cyril’s, of Broggen being allowed to be in proximity to the children; it seems Clewy has finally overcome his prejudice against the stoat. And then they’re found cavorting around like little children themselves; that was hilarious! I’m kinda curious about Droge requesting another “horsy ride” though; I didn’t know that they had a concept of “horses” in Mossflower. I know Cluny rode on a horse-drown cart in the first novel, but since so much of that is “non-canon” now, you really can’t be too sure.
And Winokur’s exciting, terrifying and bloody tale must surely have left an impression on his listeners. He has indeed been forced to mature into an adult over his journey; regardless of how events unfolded, I think he should be proud to have had the honour of making it and being allowed to witness all these monumental events.
All that remains now is to wait for Alex so they can properly celebrate their Nameday. You know, after all the long reviews of the last chapters, where so much exciting and action-packed things happened, or things that will be very important for the future of the saga and establishing character moments, it feels kinda strange to return to these shorter reviews. It feels like the beginning of TCB, where things were rather slow and there wasn’t that much to say about each chapter. After all, the main conflict is over now, so now all that remains is to pick up loose ends and cool off after the climax. But I’m sure there’ll be a few interesting tidbits for us yet…
| Samadhir chapter 17 . 6/6/2011
Man, I had almost forgotten about that staircase! I do wonder if they will ever get around to actually building the damn thing.
The scene where Rafter meets up with Winokur is so cute! Sparras are really adorable when they want to be. And it’s truly nice of him to walk all the way with his otter friend; that’s a sign of true dedication.
I can understand why the Long Patrol would be reluctant to set foot inside the abbey, considering the bad impression they’ve made on their previous visits; I’m glad that they recognize that the Redwallers might have a good reason for resenting them. But the abbeybeasts are forgiving and understanding creatures, and hopefully some of that spirit will rub off on the hares as well.
Poor Cyrus, breaking down like that at the news of Machus death, and Maura cradling him with tears in her eyes. A truly excellent illustration on the impression the fox has made on Redwall.
And Broggen will truly need a place to stay and heal his wounded heart after all he’s been through. I really pity him, for thinking that they would reject him simply on account of being a stoat. He’s truly fortunate to have such a good friend and supporter in Cyril. I loved the part where he thinks that he should have his own stoat, like Cyrus has his own weasel, like they’re pets or something! But the way it’s phrased and how they all obviously care for each other, it comes across as adorable rather than demeaning.
All in all, a lovely homecoming for Winokur, and a lovely welcome for the Long Patrol hares and Broggen. Now that the main conflict of TCB is over, let’s see how they work out their remaining issues.