Children · John Flanagan · Ranger's Apprentice

Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

I wasn’t sure I would like this series at all, but I thought I would give it a try after reading some very positive things about it. Now that I have finished the entire series, I am incredibly impressed. I absolutely love this series, its in my favorites list, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good fantasy story! I was so upset after I finished it, but the good news is there is a prequel series and the first book is already out! I can’t wait to read it! If you haven’t already tried this series than you must get the first book immediately! I believe that adults will love this series as much as children. Due to a couple of cases of addiction and drunkenness I suggest this series for children at least ten and older.


 

ruinsofgorlan
My Rating 5/5 Stars!

They have always scared him in the past — the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied (goodreads.com). 

Plot

I have had The Ruins of Gorlan on my bookshelf for quite some time and it wasn’t until I ran out of ideas on what to read that I picked this up. I was kind of in a reading slump because nothing I was reading was as good as The Way of Kings. When I read a book know I have to really like the characters or I just can’t read it. As soon as I started reading this book I was hooked on it! The prologue was awesome and then once I read further I decided that I really felt something for some of the characters. I had a difficult time putting this one down.

The story follows Will and other orphans as they are placed in their new apprenticeship positions. Will becomes an apprentice to a rather unusual Ranger and Horace is a new apprentice in battleschool. Throughout the story we watch as their skills and relationships develop. There are a couple of minor fights throughout the story; enough to keep things interesting, but it mostly focuses on the training and development of these two characters.

This book isn’t your typical fast-paced, action-packed story, which I actually found refreshing. Instead it was mostly character development with a few fights between them and a couple of battles. Even though the pace of the story was slower I was never at all uninterested in what was going on because I was so engaged in the characters and what was happening to them. I also enjoyed that the story wasn’t at all predictable; there were plenty of twists and turns along the way.

The few fights and battles present in this book were done incredibly well. They were well choreographed and paced without being overly detailed. They also were not too graphic or violent; perfect for the intended audience.

There were tons of themes/messages portrayed in the novel. One of these was the message of bullying and the effect it can have on children. There were many examples of this, but the most apparent was during Horace’s time at Battle School where he is picked on by a few second year students. Friendship was also an important theme in the book. Friendships develop between Will and Halt, Will and his horse Tug, and the most developed one was between Horace and Will when they turned their rivalry into respect.

Characters

The main character is Will who you will definitely come to love and hopefully develop a connection to. He is a very likable and relate-able 15 year old who was orphaned as an infant. He is brave, agile, stealthy, extremely curious, and honest. Most of these qualities are what attracted Halt (Ranger) into accepting Will as an apprentice. I loved how his character developed throughout the story as he learned new skills and fixed or established meaningful relationships with characters.

Halt, a Ranger, is seen as being very mysterious and creepy because people don’t know much about him and he is able to blend in so well to backgrounds that he isn’t seen. He is grim and awfully silent towards the beginning, but Will kind of opens him up a bit so that we see his true character. Halt is also very serious, sarcastic, and small of stature, but very deadly. As his relationship develops with Will he starts to become protective of him. I find Halt to be a very intriguing character and I can’t wait to learn more about him.

Horace, an orphan with Will, is a natural born swordsman who is very muscular and athletic despite his size. We don’t actually learn too much about him, but still connect with him because of how much he is picked on during Battle School. Eventually you feel very bad for him even if you didn’t like him to begin with.

Three other orphan characters are George, Alyss, and Jenny. We learn a little bit about George but he doesn’t play a major role in the story. The girls on the other hand are completely underdeveloped and non-existent. We don’t know anything about them and they only appear a few times in the book. It would have been nice to have at least one stronger, more developed female character.

Morgarath, the villain, is the Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night who was the former Baron of Gorlan in the Kingdom of Araluen. He was banished to the mountains because he rebelled against King Duncan and lost the battle. His loss was pretty much due to Halt, so Morgarath abhors him and wants his vengeance. There wasn’t much else learned about him other than he can control Wargals with his mind. I don’t believe we even know what he looks like yet. I am sure we will learn more about him in the next book!

Writing

I loved the writing in the book! It was easy to understand, flowed well, and the dialogue was natural.

Overall Thoughts

This is a fantastic start to a great series. If you love fantasy or want to read an interesting adventure story than pick this one up! I don’t think you will be disappointed! Children will love this book, especially if they don’t mind a slower story.

Check out these other reviews of The Ruins of Gorlan by fellow bloggers!

The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange                         Just One More Page

                Dragoncloud                                                      Sleepy Book Dragon


burning bridge
My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

Bracing for a final clash with the evil warlord Morgarath, the Rangers rally the kingdom’s allies, and Will is chosen, along with his friend Horace, as special envoys to nearby Celtica. But the simple mission soon takes an unsettling turn – the Celticans have disappeared, their town abandoned. The scheming hand of Morgarath, it seems, has been far from idle. He has found a way to bring his legions over the once impassable eastern mountains and is planning to ambush the king’s army in a rout. Now with help many miles away, Will and Horace are the only ones standing in the way of the dark lord’s plans.They have shown great skill and courage in their training, but how will they fare in the face of true evil? (goodreads.com). 

Plot

The Burning Bridge starts where the previous left off. Will and Horace along with Gilan travel to Celtica but find it and surrounding communities mysteriously abandoned. Eventually, they encounter a survivor who informs them as to what happened and with this new information it is vital that Gilan travel quickly to inform the King. Will and Horace move more slowly with their new companion, but come across some Wargals and find out more vital information about the upcoming war, so they have to find away to destroy Morgarath’s real plan and make it back to the King to inform him before it is too late. The book ends with the final clash between King Duncan and Morgarath.

The plot actually moves rather slowly like the first book, but wasn’t ever uninteresting because there were many exciting moments in the book. There was so much anticipation and mystery that I was involved in the story from the very beginning. I enjoyed following everyone’s story-line. Halt ends up on a diplomatic mission with Alyss and their adventure was entertaining and then Gilan, Will, and Horace’s adventure was fantastic even after they had to split up.

The ending of the book wasn’t really what I was expecting. I thought there was going to be a huge, epic battle, but it was little more than a skirmish. It ended up on a one-on-one battle against Morgarath and a volunteer opponent (omg!). This was pretty exciting and intense and I didn’t think it was going to turn out the way it did! There is a cliffhanger so be prepared to read the next book! I’m going to start right away! I can’t wait to see where the next book takes us since the problem with Morgarath has been dealt with.

Characters

It was great having Gilan take more of a lead role in this book and to learn more about him. I liked the bonding of the three men (Gilan, Horace, and Will) that developed on the journey and everything they taught each other. Horace definitely  plays a larger role in this book! And, of course, there is Will whom I absolutely love! He is learning more and taking his role as a Ranger very seriously. He is becoming braver and gaining more courage as you will see throughout the book.

Alyss has more of a role in this book as she goes on a mission with Halt. I loved everything about these chapters, especially what Halt is thinking the entire time. It was hilarious! I hope to see more of Alyss in the future and hope she becomes a character that I really care about because she isn’t quite there yet.

Halt is just as awesome as ever, but with his apprentice gone on another mission we see his personality takes a turn for the worse. We find out how much he really cares about Will even though he doesn’t want to admit it. I enjoyed learning more about his personality and the things that he does in this book are just terrific and hilarious. He is becoming my favorite character!

Overall Thoughts

This is a fantastic addition to the series! I don’t know if it would move to slow for younger children, so I would recommend this for anyone 10 and older! I think you will love it especially if you enjoyed the previous book.

Check out these other reviews of The Burning Bridge by fellow bloggers!

Bookhound                                            Reading for the Masses

The Reading Eagles                             Bookworm Reviews


127823
My Rating: 5/5 stars!

Plot

Again, The Icebound Land picks up right where the previous book left off. Evanlyn and Will were captured after the battle with Lord Morgarath and are on their way to Skandia to be sold as slaves. Upon reaching Skandia, after a terrible boat ride, the children find themselves separated from each other, and their treatment, especially that of Will, is much to be desired. Escape seems almost impossible until they receive help from a very unlikely source. Since Will has become addicted to a drug used to control slaves it is up to Evanlyn to carry out the escape plan while taking care of Will.

After figuring out how to get out of his current duty to the King, Halt along with Horace travel toward Skandia in order to get Will and Evanlyn back. However, they encounter many problems along the way, which drastically slows down their trip.

I really enjoyed this book and didn’t even mind the switching back and forth of viewpoints because both of their stories were really interesting. The pacing of the story was great even though the plot didn’t move forward very much and I can’t wait to start the next book in order to see if Halt and Horace are ever able to get their friends back.

Characters

Well, I already love Halt and it was great for him to be able to spend some time with Horace. He really needs someone to be with him and they learn a lot from each other. I enjoyed the banter between Horace and Halt because it was really entertaining and didn’t take away from the seriousness of their predicaments. They are definitely growing as characters and Horace is learning a lot from the Ranger. I can’t wait to see how much more these characters develop.

Evanlyn has the biggest character change in this book because towards the end she must learn to survive on her own while caring for another. Being a princess didn’t teach her much about survival, but she never gives up. I enjoyed seeing her struggle and push through her problems without much complaining. She is becoming the female character that I have been looking for in this series! I like that she is becoming a stronger, more independent character. I can’t wait to see more of Evanlyn and learn more about her.

Will is pretty much the same in this book. For the last half there isn’t any development at all because he is in a comatose state due to his drug addiction.

One of the new, interesting characters is Erak, the Skandian who captured Evanlyn and Will. He is a very intriguing character and isn’t as cruel as I would have made him out to be (since he sells slaves). He ends up respecting both Evanlyn and Will for who they are and you can tell by the end of the book that he really seems to care about them even though he still gives them up to slavery.

Overall Thoughts

Honestly, I enjoyed this one just as much as the others two books in the series. The plot is engaging and the character development is spectacular. A major part of the book centers around Will’s addiction to a narcotic so just be aware when allowing children to read the book. This could bring up a discussion on addiction.

Check out these other reviews of The Icebound Land by fellow bloggers!

Librarian’s Ledger                                 Read to Your Children 

Reading for the Masses                         Ya? Why Not?


Plot

Skandia
My Rating: 5/5 stars!

Picking up where the previous book left off, The Battle for Skandia begins when Evanlyn is taken hostage by a Temujai warrior while retrieving food from one of their traps in the mountain, and it is up to Will to use his Ranger skills in order to find her. Meanwhile, Horace and Halt are getting closer to finding their missing friends. Eventually, there is a heartwarming reunion, but it is cut short when Halt realizes that the Temujai army is closing in on Skandia and their next destination would likely be Araluen, so he is hoping to make an alliance with the Skandians and attempt to stop the army where they stand.

A big portion of the book is concerned with the alliance between Halt and the Skandians and figuring out how to defeat the Temujai army with so few men. Although there was a lot of tactical information it was actually interesting to read about and I enjoyed how exciting and intense the battle was. There definitely was a lot of action, enough to keep you on the edge of your chair!

The Battle for Skandia has an amazing if somewhat predictable ending, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It also concludes the story line that we have been following for the last few books, so I am eager to begin the next one and see where it leads.

Characters

This series has amazingly likable characters that I just can’t get enough of and is the main reason I enjoy the series so much.

I enjoy Halt’s affection for Will, Horace, and even Evanlyn, as well as his wry sense of humor. Not to mention his love for his job and how much he cares about his King and country.

Will is becoming more and more of a Ranger and he takes on all new responsibilities in this book during the war with the Temujai. It is up to him to train men to use and accurately shoot a bow who have little to no experience within a very short time. I do believe it was Will who came up with the idea of how to do this successfully. He is maturing more and starting to become a great leader with good ideas.

Even though Evanlyn was kidnapped in this book she was still strong and brave during that whole fiasco. She also shows us that she can stand with the men during the battle and keep everything under control. Even though she is a princess she still wanted to be a part of what Halt, Will, and Horace were doing and she wouldn’t take no for an answer. I love that this series has a strong female character!

There is a lot more of Erak in this book and I think he is a fantastic character as well. I loved the interactions between Erak and Halt throughout the book. A lot of it was hilarious! Erak on a horse was just too funny not to mention Halt being on a boat!

Overall Thoughts

Another great addition to the series with improvement in character development and a conclusion to the current story line. It is also one of the more emotional and action packed books of the series so far. A must read!

Check out these other reviews of The Battle for Skandia by fellow bloggers!

Thereisabookstoreinmyhead                                    Tales Between the Pages

Hidden In Pages                                                          Books by their Story


Plot

My Rating: 5/5 stars!
My Rating: 5/5 stars!

After the conclusion of the previous story arc I was excited to see where this next book was going to take the series. It turns out that in The Sorcerer of the North we have skipped quite a few years and now Will is a fully fledged Ranger. (I recommend reading book seven before this one in order to fill in the gap between these books.) He no longer gets to be with Halt at Castle Araluen, and is instead assigned to take over as Ranger in Seacliff Fief. Although he encounters a few troubles within the fief it is a fairly peaceful place, but he isn’t there for long. He is requested by Halt and Crowley to go on a secret mission.

Will has to go undercover in order to uncover information about some strange happenings in the north at Castle Macindaw in Norgate Fief. There are rumors that there is a sorcerer causing problems, but people are hesitant to talk about it. It turns out that the sorcerer isn’t quite what you would expect…

This book is by far the creepiest in the series with strange things going on in the woods outside Macindaw Castle. The story moves at a great pace and really builds up to the point when you finally meet the sorcerer; however, it doesn’t end there. Will still has many problems to solve and so the book just sort of ends out of nowhere. I was actually quite surprised that I had reached the end. What a cliffhanger. Be prepared to have book six on hand before finishing this one!

There are not many points in the book with high action or battles, but it is still really interesting because of the mystery behind the rumors and the things in the woods. It was really intriguing and I was excited to find out what was really going on. Mystery and suspense were a huge part of this book. It was also engaging because Will is taken out of his comfort zone and forced to act as a ministerial playing a mandolin, which was entertaining.

Characters

Will is on his own for the first part of the book though he finds a pretty cute canine companion, but he soon meets up with Alyss and they end up spending time together undercover at the castle. I thought it was a nice change to have Alyss as the secondary character instead of Horace, but I still don’t like her as much as any of the other main characters. There is a lot we don’t know about her other than she is a great courier, fairly brave, and is afraid of heights. I need more of a connection with her.

If I am correct Will is now somewhere around the age of 20!? We definitely see him as being more mature, but I just can’t picture him in his twenties. I still feel like he is younger, but more experienced and capable than before. I enjoyed the flaws that we see in his character in this book because it makes him more real. He can’t do everything and his rescue attempt with Alyss completely failed. He is also taken out of his comfortable, familiar role as ranger and forced to go undercover as a ministerial, which means he couldn’t carry his familiar clock nor his bow. It was interesting to see him struggle with this for quite some time.

There are some other characters in this book to play close attention to including Lord Orman and Keren, as well as the “sorcerer”.

Lord Orman is an interesting character because you are never sure whether or not he is the one causing the problems in the fief or if it really is someone or something else. The entire book I didn’t like him because he came off as rude and nonchalant. It didn’t seem like he cared about what was going on.

Keren is a knight and related to Lord Orman. He seems like a very nice guy and believes in protecting his kingdom. I liked him at first, but no longer….

I don’t want to discuss the sorcerer in any detail in this review because I don’t want to give him away, so I will talk about him in the next review.

Overall Thoughts

This is a fantastic addition to the series! It was engaging, interesting, mysterious, dark, and suspenseful, and every chapter left me wanting more! Though there wasn’t much action, Flanagan has a way of making the story entertaining anyway. Since the book was most definitely left on a cliffhanger be prepared to read the next one. I highly recommend reading these books in order to fully enjoy the characters and so you don’t jump into the middle of one of the story arcs.

Check out these other reviews of The Sorcerer in the North by fellow bloggers!

Hippogriff’s Aerie                                    thereisabookstoreinmyhead

Bookhound                                                 Reading for the Masses


Plot

The Siege of Macindaw takes place directly after the Sorcerer of the North. Horace meets up

My Rating: 5/5 stars!

with Will and gets caught up on the current situation, Alyss is still in prison after Keren took over the castle, and Will needs to come up with a plan to get into the castle. He decides to enlist the help of the Scandians whom he discovered are nearby. With the help of Horace, Malcolm, and the Scandians Will figures out that he needs to capture the leader of the Scotti in order to figure out what Keren and the Scotti are planning. Afterwards, with new-found information, they plan a way to take over the castle.

The plot moves at a reasonable pace; enough to keep you interested throughout. It was pretty intense, especially towards the end of the novel, as well as being one of the darker books in the series. There is a lot of “magic” that is used to scare people in this book, and many exciting battles. I should mention there was a part in this book where one of the characters uses a bottle of acid and throws it in the face of somebody, which results in extreme pain and the smell of burning flesh.

I enjoyed the story arc over these two books and was satisfied that the ending was wrapped up nicely. I look forward to reading the next book and figuring out Will’s next adventure.

Characters

Alyss isn’t that great of a character and she spends the entire book locked in the tower of the castle. There isn’t much development in her character; she is kind of boring. Her relationship with Will takes a turn in this book due to them confessing their love for each other (finally). However, I was hoping that this wasn’t going to happen since I don’t like Alyss quite yet. I just don’t think the author is that great at creating female characters. I kind of wish that Will would be more involved with Princess Cassandra instead. With still quite a few books to go maybe Alyss’s character will develop more. I hate not being able to connect with a character because it makes reading about them boring.

Horace comes back in this book, which is awesome! I love Horace and Will together! Their interactions with each other are very entertaining and I like how their relationship has grown to be more serious, but they still have that child-like bickering. Horace has also become quite a good leader, friend, and protector. We see him in one of his first positions as a “general” as he leads the group of Scandians to take back the castle.

Keren is a traitor to his country; however, he does show us that he feels he may have made a mistake, but there is nothing he can do about it now. He goes ahead with his plan, which doesn’t turn out the way he hoped it would.

We get to know Lord Orman a little bit better or at least see a change in his character. He is definitely appreciative of what Will is doing for him.

Malcolm is a great character and I hope that we get to see more of him in later books. He is very caring and takes his healing abilities rather seriously. He doesn’t turn any one down. Malcolm is also pretty good at scaring the crap out of people and keeping up his mysterious appearance as the horrible sorcerer.

Overall Thoughts

A great, exciting addition to the story and a terrific ending to the current story arc. It is a bit darker than early books, and there are several instances of the word “damn” as well as slightly more descriptive battle scenes and wounds. However, I think anyone ten and older would love the book.


Plot

My rating: 4.5/5 stars!
My rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Erak’s Ransom was a rather interesting story because we actually go back in time to the period before books 5 and 6, a few months before Will is set to graduate and become a Ranger.

I hated that there was such a large gap of time after book 4 and I am really glad the author went back and filled in some information. It was great to get to understand the feelings that both Halt and Will had towards Will’s graduation. Once he graduates he won’t be under the care of Halt anymore and this fact made Halt extremely sad. He really has grown to love Will as if he was his own son. Will also had some pretty strong feelings such as not being sure whether he could handle being off on his own and live up to Halt’s expectations. Anyway, this was a major part of the book as well as Halt’s wedding (totally didn’t expect that!).

In this book, Will and company find out that their friend and ally Erak has been taken prisoner by the Arridi, a nation of desert dwellers, and are demanding a large sum of money for his return. Halt, Will, Gilan, Horace, and Princess Cassandra travel with Svengal back to Arrida. The negotiations go fairly well, but it turns out that Erak was kidnapped (again) from the Arridi by the Tualaghi, brigands and bandits that prey on other travelers and undefended villages. It turns out that the Arridi must join forces with Halt and his company in order to safely get Erak back before he is turned over to a Skandian traitor.

For most of this adventure Will goes off on his own in the desert country in order to find his missing horse. He encounters many hardships along the way and one mistake could be fatal. Halt has strong feelings about allowing his apprentice to go off on his own, but in the end he agrees, if rather reluctantly.

The plot was fairly interesting and there was enough action to keep me entertained. However, I thought it was a little too much or unnecessary to have to go around chasing down Erak’s kidnappers. Once is one thing, but the second time was a bit ridiculous. Oh well, the book was still great and kept a good pace throughout. The desert setting was also a nice change from the previous books and the people were interesting too.

I thought that looking upon Halt and Will’s relationship as well as Will learning to fend for himself was the best part of the book. I really enjoyed the amount of emotion that was present in this book; Will and Halt for each other, as well as Will’s love towards his horse. Not to mention the jealously that Alyss has over Princess Cassandra and Will spending time together.

Characters

We see a lot of development with Cassandra and understand that she is someone to be reckoned with. She is strong-willed, brave, capable, and very intelligent. Cassandra is the best female character in this series because she can hold her own against others and saves lives on more than one occasion. She is also learning more about her role as Queen that she will one day have to undertake and she is taking it very seriously. Her first mission is definitely a success.

Will is becoming much more mature, which was evidenced throughout the book. He took it upon himself to find his horse and save those he cares for. He also learns from his mistakes, which is very important.

I thought it was fascinating to meet another group of people within this fantasy world. The Arridi are an intriguing group of people and it was interesting to get to know them, as well as other groups they encountered. The Arridi leader, Selethen, reminds be a lot of Erak, which isn’t really a bad thing per se. I just thought the character could have been a bit more distinguishable.

Overall Thoughts

This was a great addition to the series, filled in some gaps that were missing from the story, and allowed us to explore more of this fantasy world.  It was also a great character development book for Will and Cassandra. I wish I would have known before reading books 5 and 6 because I might have read this one first and then continued on, but it doesn’t really matter.

Check out these other reviews of Erak’s Ransom by fellow bloggers!

 YA? Why Not?                               Sarah’s Reviews


Plot

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars!
 My Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

In The Kings of Clonmel a cult appears throughout the land of Clonmel claiming that their god can protect the people from evil-doers, when in fact it is the cult itself that is causing the problems in order to steal the offerings left for the god by the citizens of each city or town. Halt is all to familiar with this group and plans on bringing a stop to it before the cult can reach Arulean.

The plot moved along at a great pace, but compared to other books in the series this one isn’t as action packed. The only really exciting part takes place right towards the end of the book.  However, I was engaged in this book because there is a lot of information revealed about Halt’s past, which was intriguing. I loved learning more about Halt and his family; this was the best part of the book!

Characters

Will is constantly changing as he gets older and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes on his own apprentice soon. The beginning of the book shows us how well Will fairs as a teacher when he has to instruct some new apprentices. This part was very entertaining and revealed to Will how much of a pain he must have been to Halt! Will is also learning more about sneaking around, hiding in plain sight, and using trickery.

Halt is developed quite a bit in this book because we learn so much about his past including who he really is and information about his family and where he used to live. I have waited a long time to learn more about Halt, so this was awesome!

Horace’s confidence is growing as he gets older and we see this several times in this book, especially at the end. He handles himself very well in his final battle in the book coming up with new ideas in order to defeat his opponent.

Overall Thoughts

This is a great addition to the series and provides some much-needed information about one of our favorite characters. It isn’t as action based as many of the other novels have been, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless.

Check out these other reviews of The Kings of Clonmel by fellow bloggers!

              Hippogriff’s Aerie                        In the Life of A Book Addict


Plot

My Rating: 4/5 stars!Halt’s Peril is the continuation of the previous book in which Halt, Horace, and Will search for Tennyson. He is always one step ahead of them, but once Tennyson realizes how close they are to catching up to him he sends his assassins to wait in an ambush. This was one of my favorite parts of the book because it was so suspenseful! Halt unfortunately doesn’t make it out unscathed and what appears to be a minor cut at first becomes a major problem later. It is up to Will and Horace all alone and out in the middle of nowhere to figure out what is wrong with Halt and how to cure him. Afterwards, maybe they can continue on with their journey if Halt survives.

The pacing of this book was great, but a little slow and predictable. I thought they spent a little too much time traveling, but was rewarded when Halt and Will have to face the assassins in ambush. Awesome part of the book! Not only do we have this amazingly suspenseful part, but Halt ends up getting injured. Poor Halt! I enjoyed the entire part of the book in which they rush to save Halt’s life. It was very entertaining.

The ending of the book is great and everything wraps up nicely!

Characters

Will and Horace are tested in this book and it was interesting to see how they handled their friend’s illness. It wasn’t without problems and I thought that the solution was rather obvious, but it took them forever to figure it out! It was really frustrating because I know they are smarter than that. It’s apparent in this book how much Will really cares for Halt and how far he will go in order to save his mentor’s life.

Through Halt’s delirium we also realize how much Halt cares for Will and Horace. He really lets his emotions out without even realizing it.

Malcolm, a character from The Sorcerer of the North makes an appearance in this book, which was fantastic. I love his character and was glad to see him back in another book!

Overall Thoughts

This is a great addition to the series and a terrific ending to the story arc! It was a little slower than the other books, but wasn’t ever uninteresting. If you are enjoying the series so far than I highly recommend reading this book as well!

Check out these other reviews of Halt’s Peril by fellow bloggers!

              Hippogriff’s Aerie                         Dancing Books


My Rating: 5/5 Stars!
My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

When Horace travels to the exotic land of Nihon- Ja, it isn’t long before he finds himself pulled into a battle that is not his – but one he knows in his heart he must wage. A kingdom teeters on the edge of chaos when the Nihon-Ja emperor, a defender of the common man, is forcibly overthrown, and only Horace, Will, and his Araluen companions can restore the emperor to the throne. Victory lies in the hands of an inexperienced group of fighters, and it’s anybody’s guess who will make the journey home to Araluen (goodreads.com). 

Plot

At first I wasn’t really getting into this book right away like I had all the others in the series because it was focusing a lot on battle tactics, which wasn’t all that interesting. However, this is a very important part of the book because it comes up later. It wasn’t long after this part that I really started to enjoy the book.

The plot moves at a reasonable pace and was by no means boring at any part, and I have to say that the battles towards the end of the book were the most interesting aspect even though I didn’t enjoy the tactics at the beginning. The author just knows how to write incredibly interesting battle scenes that are not overly detailed or too wordy. I was kind of on the edge of my seat wanting to know how the battles were going to turn out and if help was going to arrive on time.

It didn’t bother me per se and I am not exactly sure how much time passed throughout the book, but it felt like it should have taken a lot longer for certain groups to travel where they did and others it should have taken less time. I think this was just an oversight, but it didn’t seem to make sense. Maybe the world the author created is a lot smaller than I am thinking it is and so it doesn’t take that long to get from one side to the other. Otherwise, I can really tell that the author did a lot of research at least in regards to battle tactics, which was a huge part of this book.

There were some other plot issues in the story such as letting the crown princesses go gallivanting half way around the world to rescue her boyfriend, but this wasn’t anything that I couldn’t overlook.

The last few pages of the book revealed some very important information that I can’t wait to read about in the next book of the series! 🙂

Characters

Will, Halt, and Horace are, as always, my favorite characters and are awesome in this book! There was one point in which Will was trying to recall towards the end of the book something he learned about earlier in the book and he was a little slow about it. I knew right away what he was trying to remember and it was just kind of stupid that he couldn’t remember something so simple. On the other hand, we can see that Will has been improving in his leadership skills as well as in his archery, which is great because there is always more to learn.

I really enjoyed that both Evanlyn and Alyss play a major role in this story and we get to know more about them and their abilities. The only thing that bothered me was that Alyss didn’t trust Evanlyn with Will and was always jealous when they were together. This is annoying because we have known for several books that Evanlyn likes Horace and not Will, but Alyss just can’t get over it. They both have an irritating stuck up attitude the entire time until they finally come out and discuss the problem.

I already love Evanlyn as the strong female character of the book and she has developed a lot since we first met her earlier on in the series. Alyss however is a different story and has never been one of my favorite characters. She is a bit more fleshed out in this story and she shows us that she can take care of herself and is rather brave. She is on her way to becoming more of a developed character, but not quite as well as Evanlyn. I always wished that Evanlyn and Will would end up together…oh well.

Overall Thoughts

This was a fantastic addition to the series and was just as good as all the others. You will really enjoy this book if you love to learn all about battle tactics, but even if you don’t it is still rather entertaining. Having the female characters play more of a role in the story was great and I always enjoy the bickering between Will and Halt. They are my favorite! If you have enjoyed the series so far then this book won’t let you down! The ending was awesome as well! 🙂

Check out these other reviews of this book by fellow bloggers!

Birds of A Writer                           Hippogriff’s Aerie


902715I couldn’t wait to begin reading The Lost Stories after I read some information about the stories contained within. I love this collection of stories and wish there would have been more; it was fun to visit my favorite characters again and to get some more insight into ones we haven’t read much about before.

The following review contains spoilers from previous books so only read if you have read through book ten. 

There are nine short stories in this collection, all of which I greatly enjoyed, but some were even more fantastic than others and I wish they would have been longer.

Death of A Hero 

This story actually brought a few tears to my eyes. It recounts the battle in which Will’s father died saving Halt and how Halt found Will. I actually wish this would have been longer because I was so interested in knowing more about Will’s family, but there was only so much to tell and the author tells an amazing story. It had a huge impact on me reading about Will as a baby just because over the last ten books I have come to adore him as a character. I felt so bad for him that he lost his family. (5 stars)

The Inkwell and the Dagger

If you are interested in knowing what Gilan did after Halt left to rescue Will in the Icebound Land, then read this story. It was action packed, suspenseful, and rather interesting as he tries to track down Foldar. I like him even more as a character now that we have something from his perspective. It was great trying to figure out who betrayed the kingdom and was working with Foldar, although it didn’t take me long. I also loved the plan he devised to catch both Foldar and the person working with him. This story is great and a must read especially if you like Gilan. (4.5 stars)

The Roamers

I loved the beginning of this story as we follow Halt and Will in their capture of river pirates. This part was interesting and engaging! The rest of the story involved getting Ebony back from some roamers who stole her for dog fighting. Will and Alyss go together to try to get her back, but I didn’t find this story to be that interesting for me because I don’t like Alyss as much as I would like. I’m glad that they go on an adventure together and build up their relationship, but the premise of the story wasn’t very engaging either. I love ebony, but I think the story would have been more meaningful if it was Tug who had gotten stolen instead. Tug means a lot more to me since he has such a great personality and has been in the series since the first book. If you have ever wanted Alyss and Will to go on a mission together or love Will’s dog, Ebony, then I think you will enjoy this story much more than I did. (3 stars)

Purple Prose

This one was hilarious as Will attempts to create a speech for Horace’s wedding to Cassandra, but tries a little too hard to make it memorable. 🙂 Halt’s reaction was awesome! Not only is this part of the story great, but I thought Will and Halt’s adventure to capture Moondarkers was interesting as well. (4 stars)

Dinner for Five

The main character in this story is Jenny, which I thought was intriguing. Jenny is preparing a dinner for her and Gilan, while at the same time some jewel thieves are robbing a store. The thieves decide that Jenny’s house is a perfect place to lay low for a while after the robbery since it is usually empty.

It was great to get a story in Jenny’s perspective and to see how passionate she is about her cooking. Not only that, but we figure out that she is quite capable of taking care of herself in a dire situation. I would have loved to see more of her in the main series and not just as an afterthought. This was a good story, but not one of my favorites. (3.5 stars)

The Bridal Dance

One of my favorite stories of the collection! Finally, Horace’s and Cassandra’s wedding! It was very exciting and I loved that we get to see some of our favorite characters again! Also, something suspicious is going on and Will means to find out what it is. A gathering of this sort is a perfect place for an assassination. (5 stars)

The Hibernian 

This story is another one of my favorites because we get to know more about Halt!! It explains how Halt met Crowley and became a member of the Ranger Corps. It was very interesting and I wish there would have been more! I love Halt and I will read anything in which we learn more about his past. We also get a closer look at Morgarath and what kind of person he was. Right away I did not like him. I can’t wait to read The Tournament at Gorlan! (5 stars)

The Wolf

A very sad story, The Wolf, gives some insight into the breeding program for the horses provided to the Rangers. However, what happens to Tug is absolutely horrible and then how he is replaced is worse still. I can’t believe they give Rangers new horses that are identical to their old ones like they never existed. It’s terrible. 😦  (3 stars)

And About Time Too

Even though I don’t like Alyss, I still love Will and was very excited to read about his special day! It was short, sweet, and to the point; absolutely beautiful. (5 stars)

Overall Thoughts

This was a great collection of stories and anyone who loves the series will want to read these!

Check out these other reviews of The Lost Stories from fellow bloggers!

Reading For The Masses                              Sleepy Book Dragon

Laughing at Live Dragons                             Sarah’s Reivews


 

My Rating: 4/5 stars!
   My Rating: 4/5 stars!

After a senseless tragedy destroys his life, Will is obsessed with punishing those responsible –even if it means leaving the Ranger Corps. His worried friends must find a way to stop him taking such a dark path. It is Halt who suggests the solution: Will must take an apprentice. The candidate Halt has in mind surprises everyone – and it’s a request Will cannot refuse. Training a rebellious, unwilling apprentice is hard enough. But when a routine mission uncovers a shocking web of crime, Will must decide where his priorities lie – finishing his quest for revenge, or saving innocent lives? (goodreads.com)

Plot

After twelve novels the series has finally come full circle ending as it began, with the training of a new apprentice. I thought this was a great, satisfying way to end the series.

In Royal Ranger, Will is a lot older now and takes on his own apprentice, which was very interesting because this time it is the first female apprentice. I am delighted that Flanagan decided to go this route and include female rangers; however, he isn’t that great at developing female characters. I suppose he didn’t do too bad with Maddie, but she is very much like her mother, which probably made it easier for him to write Maddie’s character.

Anyway, the first part of the story is rather similar to the first book in which Will trains his new apprentice albeit a bit differently and with an additional new weapon. It was just as interesting as it was the first time especially because the apprentice was female so there were a few things that were changed. The rest of the story is about Will and Maddie’s first mission together in which they must track down missing children taken by slavers. Although their adventure isn’t as grandiose as in other novels, it is an appropriate first mission for a new apprentice so it makes sense. The plot moved at a reasonable pace and I was engaged in the story from beginning to end. I loved that we get to see what it is like for Will to finally take on an apprentice although it was kind of strange how much older he is now.

The one thing that I really missed in this book was the humor. Although it was funny that Will realized he was becoming much like Halt and how much of a pain he must have been as an apprentice, I missed the banter between Will and his mentor. The conversations they had were some of the best and it just wasn’t the same between Will and Maddie, although they do have their moments.

I will mention that this series is probably most appropriate for children 10 and older. Some of the content in a few of the books may not be appropriate for younger children. In this book there is a very detailed scene in which Will’s apprentice gets drunk and feels the effects of it for many hours. This could be something to discuss with children when they read it and from what I read it may actually deter children from wanting to drink. In another book, it was will getting addicted to a drug. I feel these are things to discuss with older children.

Characters

A lot has changed for Will since we last seen him. He is a lot older now and his demeanor has definitely changed. Flanagan did a great job developing him throughout the series. He develops into a great teacher and mentor, and we get to see him develop a bond with his apprentice as he did with Halt. Will ends up realizing how much like Halt he is becoming and how it must have been for Halt to have him as an apprentice.

Maddie is a lot like her mother, but is also more selfish, stuck-up, rude, and incapable of doing many things for herself. Mainly this is because of how she was raised in the castle as a Princess with servants doing everything for her. Once apprenticed to Will she gets a huge wake-up call and realizes that isn’t how life is. Her character completely changes over the course of the book and she actually becomes a respectable human being worthy of the title of King’s Ranger. Her character development was superb! At first I disliked her, but started warming up to her later in the book.

Unfortunately, Halt doesn’t make too much of an appearance in this book, but he is still the same old Halt albeit a bit older.

Overall Thoughts

This was a fantastic ending to the series and I thought it was great how it connected to the first book. I know I will greatly miss Will, Halt, Horace, and Cassandra. 😦 If you loved all the other books then you wont want to miss the one in which Will gets his own apprentice! I thought the book had a terrific ending that could either end the series or even start a new one with the adventures of Will and Maddie.

This is definitely in my top ten favorite series and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did! I can’t wait to read Flanagan’s prequel series so I can visit Halt again!

Check out these other reviews of the Royal Ranger by fellow bloggers!

               Zero2Fiction                                                 The Reading Hedgehog

                                 Escaping Reality–One Book At A Time 

 

*photos provided by Goodreads.com

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

  1. Thank you also for linking my reviews! I agree that linking makes for great networking opportunities. ^^ This is a series I discovered by chance and love it!

  2. Thanks so much for linking my review! 😀 It meant a lot to me ❤
    I agree with everything you said about the first book. It is indeed a very good series!
    Thanks again 😀

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