Urchin of the Riding Stars: The Mistmantle Chronicles, Book One

M. I. McAllister is the wife of a minister who lives in England. She has written several other books for young readers such as Hold My Hand and Run, Ghost at the Window, and The Octave of Angels. My wife and I have just finished reading her first book of “The Mistmantle Chronicles” series, and it is GREAT.

Mistmantle is an enchanted island surrounded by mist and inhabited by squirrels, hedgehogs, moles, and otters. King Brushen is a hedgehog, served by Captains Husk and Crispin, squirrels, and Padra, an otter. One night, a tiny squirrel is found abandoned on a beach, rescued by Crispin, named Urchin, and destined for greatness. Urchin becomes Crispin’s page, but when the King’s young son is murdered sometime later, Crispin is falsely blamed and exiled, paving the way for Husk and his wife Lady Aspen to try and unseat King Brushen. Urchin then becomes Padra’s page and assists in uncovering the evil plot and thwarting it. I noticed that the professional reviewers quoted on the Barnes and Noble website gave this book only tepid praise, but all the reader reviewers said that it was really great. I guess that I have to agree with the reader reviewers. I suppose that comparisons to Redwall are inevitable. I do like the Redwall books, but I think that this book was truly outstanding. What I like about Mistmantle even better than Redwall is that it is not just the good vs. the bad and the good win, but that there is a even stronger implication of a moral “righteousness vs. evil” conflict underlying the “good vs. bad” in the style of G. P. Taylor’s Shadowmancer, only using Redwall type characters. Language level: nothing objectionable.

My rating: EXCELLENT.

Thanks for the review, Wayne. It sounds like a great book.

The link below is to a cool website about the Mismantle Chronicles (published in 2005) that includes the author’s biography.

Related website: http://www.mistmantle.co.uk/default.asp

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