Terrouge E-zine Archives
The Taggerung - An Exclusive Look
By: Gen T. (Guest)
Editorís note: Our guest author, Gen T., is inclined to refer to herself as Toco and our editor, Erin, as Shorey or Shorestar.
Two days ago, I had no thought of getting my new Redwall book anytime soon. I had no thought of anything even closely related to Redwall. Being a low-budget kinda person, I usually wait until it gets to paperback (oh, the agony of waiting!). Well, I was working through Dune for the third time. That was when I get a knock on my door. Getting up and muttering "Excuse me, I'm trying to practice my music career, does anybody mind?," I moved over to the door and peered through the peephole. One single word met my eye and I opened the door to Taggerung.
Taggerung. Let me say that again, just for effect. Taggerung. Yes, indeedy, Tagg- *bricks thrown by impatient Redwallers* Roight. Back to the review, and roight snappy, now. By the very next day I was deep in the mires of Mossflower, and busy being yelled at by my teachers ("Toco, put the feather-blippin' book down and tell me who Napoleon's younger sister was!" "Napoleon had a younger sister?") while I developed a huge crush on Brian Jacques' most recent protagonist, Tagg. (Oh, that I were a pretty young ottermaiden!)
Upon bragging about this to my Redwallian fiends (*bricked again* friends, I said friends! Editors note: Right. We believe you.), I was immediately pounced and forced into writing a review (with much "Toco you're the greatest! You're so nice!"). Perhaps I balked a bit a first. ("No, no, no, I only write fiction. Unless you want satire. Do you mind shameless insanity?") However, the persuasive skills of my dear friend Shorestar won out. ("Shorey, dear, of course I'll do the review. Can you put down that very sharp and pointy pike now?" Editors note: The views of this guest author are not necessarily the views of Terrouge, nor even wholly true. Then again, they might be.)
WOULD YOU GET TO THE BOOK ALREADY?
Roight. Will do. The book starts off in the vicious Juska tribe of Sawney Rath, consulting his seer as to the legendary "Taggerung." The predecessor of this vicious beastie was Sawney Rath's own pater, and our beloved clan leader wants to have the next Taggerung in his clan, so that all the other clans would be terribly jealous and whiny when he bragged about it. However, this newborn legend is a baby from the dreaded Redwall (no villian with a gnat's brains would go within a league of the place). In order to steal the child, treachery and vice must be used.
So, they steal the otter-brat, raise him as Sawney's own son, but Tagg has a good streak a mile wide. (Which, paired with a nice description of his physique and his fighting tricks, this author was soon in a swooning fit and busy wishing she was a pretty otter maiden.) However, his father is the tough clan chieftan who kills for fun. When Tagg is ordered to skin a runaway fox alive he lets the poor chap live and runs off. The rest of the book consists of Tagg's adventures while travelling to Redwall with his new friend, Nimbalo the Slayer, while dodging the Juska vermin sent to retrieve Tagg's head.
I've been asked "Is it any good? Is it out of his current slump?" Well, I wouldn't say it could compare with some of my older favorites, but I think he's climbing up out of the slump. Taggerung doesn't have any of the spectacular battle-scenes of some of the earlier books. The mouth-watering descriptions of the meadowcream custard aren't quite as mouth-watering. The plot smacks of a reversal of Outcast of Redwall, with the good ol' otter raised among vermin as compared to the nasty ol' vermin raised among proper abbey dwellers.
Still, I think Taggerung has one supreme redeeming quality. The characters. True, you find loads and loads of the classic Skippers and Foremoles, and bankvoles, typical ballad-singing, scoff-consuming hares, and trouble-seeking dibbuns, there are a few characters who stand out to me as actual individuals (I hardly made it through Lord Brocktree for the lack of these). Tagg stood out to me as more of a person than many of Brianís past heros, and Nimbalo's past touches on new ground, too. Madd, the squirrel, and her friend Botarus (although he talks like a bad Yoda clone) are two individuals I don't really recall seeing in any previous books. Even Ruggan Bor isn't the same sort of ruthless villain, I like the way he presents himself as emotionless. A few others scattered here and there separate it from the standard Redwall bunch, and, of course, there are few as individual as Lady Cregga Rose Eyes. Her role in the book is a touchingly simple one that I wouldn't dare ruin by telling all y'all about it.
So. Verdict. Is it worth it? I think so, yes. I sure had trouble putting it down for four hours straight yesterday in class. Even though I didn't distract anyone by bursting into chuckles as I've done once or twice before in a Redwall book (few things compare with baby Dumble flying past the window in a haversack), I definitely smiled.
Well, then, three cheers for Redwall and our good friend Brian Jacques, he's given us another worthy tale.