A series in the same vein of animal fantasy as Redwall, Guardians of Ga'Hoole, and the like, The Mistmantle Chronicles focuses around Urchin, an oddly colored squirrel who is washed up on the beach of the titular Island inhabited by moles, otters, squirrels and hedgehogs on a night of falling ('Riding' in the book's universe) stars. Most of the books take place on the generally isolated island, since 'those who truely belong on Mistmantle cannot leave by water and return by water except for Voyagers
, and deal with a lot of internal strife, especially inside Mistmantle Tower. Keeps most of the animals acting like they should
, meaning while hedgehogs may eat cakes and drink wine, they also enjoy bugs. Written by a minister's wife. The books so far are-
- Urchin of the Riding Stars
- Urchin and the Heartstone
- The Heir of Mistmantle
- Urchin and the Raven War
- Urchin and the Rage Tide
This series provides examples of:
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Husk seemed intent on turning Mistmantle into a facist dictatorship with himself at the helm. He couldn't stand any deformed animals (he killed his own brother, wife, and attempted to kill his own illegitimate son, Juniper) and had any that were reported deformed killed, even when their deformities couldn't be a drain in any way and eventually animals that aren't deformed at all.
- [[Anvilicious]]: Again, written by a minister's wife. YMMV depending on your beliefs, of course.
- Anyone Can Die:Almost all of the kings on all of the islands die by the end of the series. Even Crispin.
- Armor Is Useless: Almost no one wears them, apart from the occasional helmet, even though all the Tower Animals use swords.
- Bad Dreams: In the first book, Husk gets these after killing Prince Tumble, of the dead hedgehog sniffing him out Could be seen as prophetic when a short sighted baby hedgehog does the same thing innocently at the end.
- Battle Couple: Crispin and Cedar, Arran and Padra.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Crispin has quite the long fuse, being able to take murder accusations and serious critisims of his wife and kingship. Once you cross that line, however, Heart save you.
- The Brute: Granite, who is content to be the sword hand of his employers, as long as they give him the license for bullying and terrorizing people.
- The Caligula: King Silverbirch. Husk somewhat subverts his trope - while he is obviously psychotic, most of his evil deeds are done for pragmatic purposes.
- Demythtification: The only 'magic' comes from the Heart, and only manifests itself in prophecies or riding stars for the most part.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Husk and Aspen seem to genuinely care for each other.
- Fantastic Racism: Silverbirch's island hates squirrels that are colored like Urchin, mainly because of a prophecy that one would bring down a ruler.
- The Good King: Crispin. Also Brushen before his son was murdered.
- Large Ham- Mossberry takes everything he can Up to Eleven.
- Love Makes You Crazy: The Heir of Mistmantle with the squirrel that began hallucinating and thought that Crispin and Cedar's daughter was hers and tried to leave the island with her because she thinks that Husk is still in power and will kill her like they did her real children.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the later books, darn near once a book.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Padra and Crispin. Especially at the end of book five.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: 'Plague/lice/fire/fleas on X'
- The Insomniac: Husk again!
- Karma Houdini: Tay the Historian. While not fully aware of Husk's schemes, she still helps him to plot against the king out of personal ambition, and almost gets an entire nursery full of infants murdered and gets away with a little jail time.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: At the first glance, Lord Treeth seems like an inept buffoon, however, he is actually crafty enough to foil the rescue mission to Whitewings, and to mastermind the plot that almost brought down King Crispin, by subverting the very chief of guards, assigned to guard his prison.
- Old Soldier: Lugg
- Oracular Urchin: Myrtle, though she's not creepy. Just a little hedgehog that makes predictions through pictures she didn't realize she was creating.
- More Than Mind Control: While Husk and, later, Smokewreath do commune with supernatural forces of evil, it is made abundantly clear that evil only managed to take hold on their souls because they were bad, bad people even before that.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted. The books take place over several years. The first one begins with Urchin first becoming a page. The last one ends with him and Sepia about to get married.
- Put on a Bus: All of the soldiers on Team Husk at the end of 'Riding Stars' were shipped away to random islands.
- Platonic Life Partners: Urchin and Needle. Being separate species helps.
- Regent for Life: Silverbirch
- Ruling Couple: Crispin and Cedar
- Silk Hiding Steel: Sepia, Cedar, and probably also Larch.
- 0% Approval Rating: Most of the villains end up with this among the general population. On the other hand - or, most likely, exactly because of that - even the most insane ones generally avoid practicing the staple villainous human resource management tropes towards their inner circles of cronies and soldiers.