|Reviews for The Shrew War, Book VII: The Isle of Death|
| ifeelmad chapter 11 . 2/5/2012
Hurray for peace! Except for when it causes creatures to be delivered as labor hostages - or rather, as Urthblood put it, "reservations. "
The idea of interesting and new times and coming of age has always been one that has appealed to me greatly. Thank you, Highwing, for this beautiful story, full of both cold heartedness and emotion, and bringing more depth to the canon Redwall series. I shall conclude this with a death threat. You must write another saga, or suffer a worse fate than Snoga did. Lol. Just kidding. I'll go on to read the Epilogues.
| ifeelmad chapter 10 . 2/5/2012
I. . . I'm flabbergasted. The deaths were heartwrenching and unbelievable, and pitiful.
But even further, Saybrook, you have done the unthinkable. Not only resigning for the sake of your own heart and conscience . . ... but doing it OPENLY instead of sneaking off leaving a note . . . and openly condemning Urthblood?
Uh oh. . . . A miscalculation?
| ifeelmad chapter 9 . 2/5/2012
Though I know there's more fascinating story to come, I really was disappointed with Hanchett's and Snoga's simultaneous and wordless death. I'd hoped Snoga would have to face the pain of seeing the badger he'd fought so long before dying, or at least had hoped their death had seemed more poignant . Still, it was an incredibly good plot trick, and it could be made to be bittersweet and touching. I'm sure te ending is better. :)
| ifeelmad chapter 8 . 2/5/2012
I knew Snoga would try treachery. Why else would he agree at last, with must blustering and swaggering, to duel Hanchett?
| ifeelmad chapter 7 . 2/5/2012
Ah, Snoga. Such blustering and ranting, yet you're reluctant even to fight physically by yourself with that creature. It's about time your creatures ditched you to your own business. So LOL to you. Go, Gomon!
| ifeelmad chapter 6 . 2/5/2012
Hanchett's dogged and murderous hunts, though insane, have gone a long way toward redeeming him in my eyes. And they remind me, strangely, of Felldoh, though of course Hanchett isn't nearly as poignant.
| ifeelmad chapter 5 . 2/5/2012
Poor Hanchett. I think his hunt has made him lose his marbles.
| ifeelmad chapter 4 . 2/5/2012
Sometimes the moaning about supposed "good" species fighting with vermin, such as Saybrook's lament, becomes a bit annoying when it's done by a creature who's the same species. Anyway, other than that, this story is just becoming better and better.
| ifeelmad chapter 3 . 2/5/2012
Seems like Snoga's in trouble with his troops once more. Throwing a turnip - that's a mighty eloquent retort!
| ifeelmad chapter 2 . 2/5/2012
Well, Urthblood is back to his cool impassive self. I can feel the chill when he accosted Tardo about Lorr's death.
Tratton made the wisest move he'd ever make when he decided to leave Salamadastron alone.
| ifeelmad chapter 1 . 2/5/2012
And Hanchett is still in pursuit!
I loved Urthblood in the last chapters of the book before this, and this beginning was straight to the point and grabs me immediately.
| Killy-S chapter 11 . 12/13/2011
I had hoped to come up with some clever comments to make about this last chapter. But I really couldn't.
I do enjoy how we're back at the rat mine camp. Always lovely to see the baddies again. Lieutenant Rontork leaving with Saybrook made my life. I guess they could have told the foxes about what had happened, but considering how loyal the foxes are, they may well have killed the otters or not taken the news well.
Oh Mina and the Colonel are at it again. My she's a firey little one.
Sporky: Me think thee a fool? Never my good sir.
| Quaver Ava chapter 11 . 12/12/2011
So book seven, and possibly the whole TSW finally concludes. Or am I reading this chapter wrong?
It's a sad notion to think that Urthblood lost every single otter, and a sadder notion to what he might do to them as they return home. Would he declare them to be outcast from the rest of the north and isolated like he's done with that Noony place? Or will he decide to spread lies to have them hunted down and killed, set an example for the rest of his troops not to leave.
It's amazing how easily you can bring in a new element. The lizards are a new twist that's suddenly thrown into the fray. Once one bad guy is out, another possible one is in. Are these just a small tribe of reptiles or are they apart of something far worse?
Redwall's all caught up on the happenings of the lands. I am amazed at how Mina could find justification in every twitch the badger makes. It will be a sad moment when she will be forced to choose between Redwall or Urthblood for I am sure there will be a moment sometime in the not so distant future. Love or loyalty will be her choice, and it will be a very interesting one to see what she picks. As for the rest of her fellow tribal squirrels I can only see them now as the equivalent to the SS for Hitler.
Now, as far as choices go, what will be the fate of our beloved abbey? An answer I do not believe we will be receiving anytime soon as Urthblood is truly to busy in other matters to give Redwall much attention. (Thank God!) Maybe perhaps he will leave the abbey so alone that a whole army of hares grow up in it, driven by revenge for their parent's fallen friends and comrades.
Or maybe the abbey itself will take up arms against him. In all, answers that will not be given until a while from now I bet.
I sure hope this was the last chapter for this book, cause I assumed it was...
| Samadhir chapter 11 . 12/12/2011
The last chapter before the epilogues… Despite having taken months to publish, it still feels too soon.
I still find it a little unrealistic that ALL the otters in Urthblood’s service decide to call it quits, even those who weren’t there to witness the gas attack themselves. Surely SOMEONE would’ve deemed it sadly necessary? Oh well…
It’s also rather odd how the swordfoxes have heard nothing about the negotiations with Tratton. Apparently, Urthblood must be really afraid it’ll upset his followers if they find out about it before they have been finalized and there’s nothing they can do. Of course, he’ll soon be embarking upon a course of action that should upset any decent beasts a lot more than peace talks with the searats…
And it must be quite the shock to have Saybrook behave so discourteously to him, and then have him pull all of Rontorka’s otters with him. I understand they’re upset, but Tolar has been a comrade and friend for seasons; they should’ve at least explained themselves better and been more courteous! And now they’re gone from Mossflower for good. What will this development bring with it…?
Down at the border of Southsward, we get our final “Searats suffer a final sudden, painful and ignoble death” scene. Gormillion is dead, and Kirkirt, the young searat captain we started to find intriguing and hoped would be developed further, has perished off-screen (goddamn you, Wing!). After a few days of travel (with Kothar having left the slaves to die; that detracts some of my respect for him), they are promptly butchered by… those creatures, with Kothar, whom we’ve known for nearly thirty chapters, being the first to die by decapitation. And they only manage to bring a single of their attackers down with them.
Truly, rats are the bitch-species of the Urthblood Saga. I think we can all agree on that now.
But what on earth are those “Sleepers in the Sand”? I remember when you first posted this chapter that their appearance was the actual twist at the end of TSW, rather than the announcement of the Purge of the Rats. But whenever I wonder about the future of the saga, imagining how things might go, I’m always focused on the latter; I really have no idea what to make of these strange, reptilian beings or what part they could play in coming events. In fact, I think a lot readers tend to forget about them when they’ve read TSW. This is very strange indeed, and an intriguing set-up for what’s to come in the next novel…
And our final scene in the last non-epilogue chapter of TSW is, fittingly, another return to the beloved confines of Redwall Abbey. After all the chaos and violence of the wider world, it’s always comforting to spend time in here.
The Guosim return to bring the Abbeybeasts up to date on everything that’s been going on outside their walls; the death of Lorr and Hanchett, Snoga’s defeat and the peace talks between Salamandastron and Terramort. And predictably, these news are enough to confuse and upset a lot of beasts, and to bring up arguments and debate between them.
Clewiston, being Clewiston, naturally claims that they’re evidence of just how treacherous and barbaric Urthblood is, and thinks he has final proof of having been right about him all along. You all know my opinion on Clewy, and how I often think he’s opposed to the badger for the wrong reasons (treating vermin and foxes as decent beasts? The bastard!). Mina of course remains staunchly loyal to him, even as her assumption that he’d never negotiate with that “murderous tyrant” is turned on its head. I love how she first proclaims with absolute certainty that he’d never do such a thing, and when it turns out that he is she shrugs it off as him acting in the best interests of the lands.
I understand what you mean, Sporky, about Mina being so honest and faithful to her master. It is admirable, in a way. But the Long Patrol’s loyalty to Urthfist was also admirable. There comes a point where you have to recognize that might’ve given your loyalty to the wrong beasts, and you do so for the right reasons. Blind, unquestioning loyalty at all times tends to lead to bad things, and I hope both Mina and Clewiston will come to understand it.
(Btw, “slaughter of hares”? You hares attacked and tried to slaughter his troops; what did you except them to do? Yes, Urthfist was probably goaded into it by Urthblood, but still…)
When all is said and done, there isn’t much the Redwallers can do about these things. For the moment, it’s best to just celebrate the life you have and try to affect the things you can. There will be a memorial service for Lorr and Hanchett, preperations for a new Nameday feast (how many feasts have they’ve had in this novel? I’ve honestly lost count) and then… who knows? Great changes are coming to the world, and whatever happens, Redwall will be there to observe them and, hopefully, endure.
“Something tells me we may indeed still have some very interesting times ahead of us.” You have no idea how right you are, Arlyn. Very interesting times indeed…
| Sgt. Sporky chapter 11 . 12/12/2011
Damn, the wound that is Lorr reopens. *sigh*
Arlyn, understandably, doesn't really seem all that comfortable with the news Log-a-Log brings. I would have found it... disconcerting as well.
And of course Mina sticks up for Urthblood. I hate to say it, but I admire her loyalty in a way. She keeps her word, and she defends her allies to the last. If only she knew exactly what was going on... Be not blind, O sweet maiden! It ill becomes thee. I wonder if the Gawtrybe ever would turn against the Crimson Badger? Maybe if they witness enough horror.
I hate his guts for selling his rats out like that. However much his goal may be noble, there is a point where the ends no longer justify the means, and this is it. This was the straw that broke this hare's back- that level of betrayal is unforgivable. He could pacify the Urgals and he would still be in poor standing with me.
On the lighter side, Vanessa was likely quite pretty in that dress! Is she perhaps trying a new strategy to get Cyril to fall for her? I may be a person who thinks personality should be the deciding factor in love, but looks sure as Hellsgates help! Oh, so many times have I lost a lady to a larger, stronger, more handsome man! And so many times has a fine, intelligent lady in rags lost a good man to a wicked, shallow slattern in fine attire!
Yes, Arlyn old bean, this will be interesting!
Killy: Think you I be a fool, O Lady of Vinland? I had thought mine self greater in thine eyes. Of course I would not agree with this! I cannot, in good conscience, support such a move!
Samadhir: Aye, we have indeed given the predictable reactions. 'Tis a terrible thing, yes indeed...