This a review of “Ranger’s Apprentice book 4: The Battle for Skandia” by John Flanagan.
After escaping slavery in a foreign land, Will and Evanlyn’s luck turns sour when Evanlyn is taken captive. Employing his Ranger training to locate his friend, Will soon finds himself completely outnumbered – until Halt and Horace make a daring, last-minute rescue. But their reunion is cut short when they discover that the Temujai army has breached Skandia’s borders, with their native Araluen next in line. Only an unlikely union can save the two kingdoms, but can it last long enough?
With Evanlyn captured by the Tamujai right off the bat and Will finally reunited with Horace and Halt the story picks up pace once more. Skandia is under attack by a highly mobile, mounted people from the east and Erak, Will, Holt, Horace and Evanlyn must mount a shaky and extremely quick defence of Skandia in order to survive.
Evanlyn, Will and Horace grow as characters, and I start to like Evanlyn even more in this book. Halt is his usual sarcastic self, and Erak and his Skandians perfectly embody the spirit of the vikings that they were modelled after.
There are some moments of pure genius in this story, like when the two Ranger’s realise the futility of trying to teach the Skandians how to use a bow and arrow with masterful precision in the time they have. Their solution is utterly genius and thoroughly surprising, and the battle prowess of the Skandians themselves doesn’t pale even with the heroes now gathered together once more.
All in all this is a wonderful adventure book and I eagerly await reading the next one.
In other words: definitely a series that is warmly recommended!