Redwall was a book I read many years ago just before I entered into private schooling after going through six fun years of home schooling. Six years of being at home and getting an education does have the benefit of allowing an avid reader such as myself time to build up the reading speed and vocabulary (I did little else but read books in those formative years in fact but I digress). Now I must admit that I loved Redwall when I first read it as a ten year old. I thought it was the coolest thing since The Hobbit. I haven't gone back to this first book in a while but I do know that my last summation was that it is a decent enjoyable read for children (and adults) but compared to other books in the series it lacks.
I do love the fact that Brian Jacques as a storyteller went out to tell a story using talking European animals as his characters. Some of my favourite stories have been told through such interesting characters (take Pixar and Toy Story, Monsters Inc or Finding Nemo). So the idea is a good one. Personally I don't feel that he executes it as well in this first novel as in later additions to the series.
For one thing the aspect of animal sizes is not consistent in this story compared to others. And it is the one story to use a horse as one of the creatures (an apparently dumb animal which does not suit the storytelling as well). I did love the heroic main characters and the villain (the idea of having a tail with a poisonous comb is pretty darn cool - more villains should get them. It would make a nice addition to the Joker's arsenal for instance).
So in summary I would state that the subsequent books (up to around book eight or nine) are superior. After book eight however Jacques seemed to run out of fresh ideas and kept his Redwall storyline going by adding different animal characters as villains and heroes knowing that he would still sell his stories. It's not poor storytelling but it does feel too familiar. However the first eight books are definitely favourites of mine and books I have and would read again. And it is a hope of mine that a 3D animated film version of these books could be made (I think it would be even better film material than it is as a book).