This is a review of “Ranger’s Apprentice book 2: The Burning Bridge” by John Flanagan.
This is a continuation of the previous post which can be found here.
With Morgarath stirring in his mountain hideout a secret message makes its way into the hands of Araluen’s Ranger Corps, and the king decides to face Morgarath head on instead of waiting in fear. For this he needs allies in the neighbouring land of Celtica, and Will, Horace and Gilan are sent as envoys. But when they reach Celtica it is desolate and abandoned with not one person in sight. What happened to the people? What is Morgarath up to? And who is Evanlyn?
The second book in a series is often not quite as good as the first, but there is no fear of such happening here. This book is as good as the first, and perhaps even better. Where the first book was a rather normal “boy(s) chosen for special work and has to learn how to do it” story, this one takes that one step further. Horace and Will further develop their skills, and though they are good at said skills they aren’t experts yet and that comes across very nicely. At one point Will freezes up in fear like any normal person would do, and Horace meets a swordsman that can easily best him. I really like that.
I also like that the two of them aren’t the best of friends yet. There are still some old resentments that have to be hashed out between them, old arguments and insults still in the air making things just a wee bit awkward. Yet despite this they have started to really trust each other and each other’s skills. Neither Horace nor Will try to take over the control and leadership of their little group, or force the other one to do as they wish.
The land of Celtica is fascinating in just how different it is from Araluen, and of the other characters I am really glad that we got to see more of Gilan and Halt’s unconventional methods of dealing with bureaucracy by throwing people into a moat. Alyss also has a bigger part in this story, and King Duncan is a really likable character. The only one I am a bit hesitant about is Evanlyn and her secrets, but I suppose I will make up my mind in the next book.
I still recommend this series!