I assume that Brian Jacques book has been read by a decent number of people here. It looks like I probably bought my copy in 1990, when I was 11, and thought that it was quite impressive and unique within its class. I’ve kept it since that time since I decided when I was young that one shouldn’t lose touch with the things that seemed to have accomplished something novel. I read a couple of the sequels, but Mr. Jacques penchant for writing to a very specific formula turned me off after only a few books and resulted in me never going back and reading the books at all.
Now, I figured that if I didn’t like it, reading it again, it would be because it hadn’t aged well or such. But instead, I’m finding that the real issue is discovering what a child Matthias was. I wonder if it was intentional or if Mr. Jacques simply didn’t think about the ramifications of his story. He introduces Matthias as our “hero” for the story. But this hero then proceeds to sneak out in the middle of the night to go get himself killed, just to be absent when the abbey is first attacked en force. By the happy chance of meeting a rabbit soldier, Matthias survives and makes it back. Then he gets enamored of the idea of Martin the Warrior and ends up getting himself captured by the sparrows just as, again, the abbey is attacked. A sparrow matron enables him to escape. And then, again, he leaves the abbey to go get himself killed as Cluny attacks.
Through the whole “war” against his sworn rival, he’s done everything but actually fight. Instead he’s spent most of his time chasing some fantasy dream, and being rather reckless about it all, not even telling anyone he’s doing it, quite often. The whole time it has been the adults doing and leading the fighting.
Knowing that he’s going to come back and save the day and be put up on everyone’s shoulders and marched around as the hero of the abbey is annoying me, so I’ve been slow finishing the book.