The Mistmantle Chronicles is a series in the same vein of animal fantasy as Redwall, Guardians of Ga'Hoole, and the like. It 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 M. I. McAllister.
Books in the series so far:
- Urchin of the Riding Stars
- Urchin and the Heartstone
- The Heir of Mistmantle
- Urchin and the Raven War
- Urchin and the Rage Tide
- 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 any, apart from the occasional helmet, even though all the Tower Animals use swords.
- 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.
- Husk somewhat subverts his trope; while he is obviously psychotic, most of his evil deeds are done for
- Deathbed Confession: In Heir of Mistmantle, Damson ends up telling Juniper, who she believes to be Brother Fir, that his father was Captain Husk and that he both murdered his mother and attempted to drown him when he was a baby. This puts Juniper into a state of shock and self-doubt for a good part of the novel.
- Demythification: The only "magic" comes from the Heart, and only manifests itself in prophecies or riding stars for the most part.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Silverbirch's island hates squirrels that are colored like Urchin, mainly because of a prophecy that one would bring down a ruler.
- In Urchin and the Heartstone, this is the main reason why Gorsen and the Hedgehog Host was planning to overthrow King Crispin. He later says that only hedgehogs could be proper kings of Mistmantle because they were creatures of the earth, and that no one could respect a twitchy-tailed tree-climbing squirrel for a king.
- Karmic Death: Lady Aspen poisons the queen (claiming it to be "medicine) so that she and Husk can conquer the kingdom. After she falls out of a window, Gleaner gives her that "medicine", killing her.
- Love Makes You Crazy: The Heir of Mistmantle, with the squirrel that begins hallucinating and thinks that Crispin and Cedar's daughter is hers. She tries 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plagued by Nightmares: In the first book, Husk gets nightmares 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.
- Put on a Bus: All of the soldiers on Team Husk at the end of Riding Stars were shipped away to random islands.