Top critical review
on September 29, 2003
Brian Jacques' novel Triss, the fifteenth book in the Redwall series, is a perfect example of a popular author beating a dead horse. In a word, Redwall has lost its novelty and sparkle, and the author would best abandon it for his other projects, including Castaways of the Flying Dutchman.
I bought Triss because (unlike many of the recent Redwall books) the plot actually sounded interesting. Unfortunately, though Jacques can still set a story quite well, he can no longer take advantage of his own plots. The book was highly predictable, to offset which Jacques filled it with reversals of fate and twists and turns that did not really alleviate its predictability. Similarly, the characters are merely caricatures of Jacques' more memorable creations, and the settings are no longer settings but set-pieces. For instance, Brockhall plays a role in this book, but in an entirely boring way. Also, Jacques now feels compelled to insert a song in virtually every chapter, as well as to repeat descriptions of food verbatim. He also uses the same jokes over and over. That said, there were some genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and I was glad to see that female characters are now evenly placed among warriors and villains, instead of just abbey-dwellers.
I was at one point a diehard Redwall fan, and the first seven books in the series are still some of the best books I own. However, the fire has gone out of Jacques' writing; I do not think any of his Redwall books will ever stir me as much as Mossflower, Salamandastron, or my other favorites did and still do. So save seven bucks and go reread them, or better yet, something else. However, all this being said, I will still probably read the next book in the series, 'Loamhedge,' because I can't quite give up the ghost myself.