Yes, another Redwall book! When I went to the library a few weeks back, I could only find a few books that were on my to-read list, and there were several Redwall books that I had not yet read. So that is why I am reading so many so close together. That was a lot of so's, sorry. :P
I don't think it came through in my review of High Rhulain, but I didn't enjoy that book as much as I usually enjoy Redwall books. There are several possible reasons as to why this was: because I kept getting distracted while reading it, because fewer of the events in the book were actually set in Redwall and area than usual, and/or (most likely) because I was busy catching up with Community and watching all four seasons of Merlin in two weeks. And I feel really guilty about that, because when I'm watching more TV than reading, there's definitely something wrong.
Anyway, all of that aside, I was definitely in a much better mindset to read The Sable Quean. Maybe that's it--maybe you have to be in the right mood to read Redwall books.
Anyway, I enjoyed the story, and I loved all of the main (good) characters, particularly Buck and Diggy and all of the Dibbuns (youngsters). I loved Diggy because he was the typical hare residing in many other Redwall books, with his bally whosits and wot wots and bottomless stomach. And I loved Buck because he wasn't any of that... he was quite utterly un-hare-like, other than his warrior status and skill with a blade.
I think it's a little odd that the book is titled The Sable Quean when Vilaya (the sable quean) doesn't do much in the entire book... she directs her Ravagers, she kills a young otter prisoner (Flandor) who was acting out, she runs away from the battle at Redwall, and she is chased down and killed by Ambrevina the badgermaid (oops, spoilers). I suppose it's the title of the book because Vilaya is the one who conducts the kidnapping of all the woodland babies and the two Redwall Dibbuns, which is what starts the whole thing in the first place. Still, there have been worse villains in the Redwall books than Vilaya the sable Quean and Zwilt the Shade.
As always, I love the dialects of all the characters--I love, in this case, that there is a mole warrior, Axtel Sturnclaw; mole warriors are a rare thing--but the hare dialect will always be my favourite. As always, I love the descriptions of the food that the woodlanders eat... someday I'd like to try to replicate a feast of Redwall and it would be delicious. And as always (though I think I may have forgotten to say this in past reviews), I love the songs and poems featured throughout all Redwall books. When reading High Rhulain actually, I realized that none of the songs are repeated in any of the books. That's a little bit odd, considering they are usually introduced as "a traditional song of Redwall" or "an ancient Guosim chant"--you'd think they would have shown up in the earlier books... but personally, I just think that Brian Jacques really enjoyed writing new songs and poems for each Redwall book. And that's okay.
Stay tuned, I've got another Redwall book to read and review yet: Loamhedge. Which is another one about hares (yay), but also another one set mostly away from Redwall (boo). So we'll see how that goes.