This is a review of “Ranger’s Apprentice book 3: The Icebound Land” by John Flanagan.
Kidnapped and taken to a land of snow and ice, Will and Evanlyn are bound for slavery. Halt, determined to find his young apprentice, defies his king and is thrown out of the Rangers. Horace joins him in his journey to the north. On the way they are challenged by knights and warlords. Will they be in time to rescue Will and Evanlyn?
I rather like that this part of the world was based on the world of the vikings. It is all familiar enough to be recognisable, but not a complete copy of the vikings. It is also completely different from the rest of the world presented in the previous two books, and it makes it easy to differentiate.
Horace and Halt’s journey to Skandia is really interesting, presenting more of the world and the different countries. Horace finding something of a temporary teacher in Halt is a nice touch, as is the way he grows as a knight and as a person. Halt being so worried about Will and willing to go as far as he does, is also a nice touch, giving Halt a deeper character than before. And considering everything that actually happens to Will in this book, well, it isn’t exactly something that happens often to the main character in children’s books. It sets this book apart.
Erak is a character that grows on a person in this book. At the end of book two I disliked him, but he grew and changed as a character, and he became one of my favourites by the end of the story. Evanlyn also becomes a good character in this book. She is not my favourite, but she definitely proved to have a spine in this book, and I appreciate that. It is difficult to find good, likable female characters in fantasy stories.
The only thing that I kind of have something against – and that’s such a tiny something that it’s hardly worth mentioning – is just how long Will was incapacitated. But on the other side I am also glad that it took so much time and that it wasn’t rushed. See? Not really worth mentioning.
I can’t wait to read the sequel – “The Battle for Skandia“.