Tag Archives: John Flanagan

“Ranger’s Apprentice book 6: The Siege of Macindaw” – J. Flanagan


This is a review of “Ranger’s Apprentice book 6: The Siege of Macindaw” by John Flanagan.

This is a continuation of the previous reviews for book one, book two, book three, book four and book five.

The kingdom is in danger. Renegade knight Sir Keren has succeeded in overtaking Castle Macindaw and now is conspiring with the Scotti. The fate of Araluen rests in the hands of two young adventurers: the Ranger Will and his warrior friend, Horace. Yet for Will, the stakes are even higher. For inside the castle, held hostage, is someone he loves. And now the time has come for this onetime apprentice to grow up.

There are definitely more politics going around in this book – just like in the last one – but never does it take over. It’s still a story for children. It is also a good thing that not all of Will’s plans work out just the way he wanted them to. It isn’t often that main characters can make mistakes like this.

Will and Horace act like the young men they are, talking about girls and teasing and joking with each other. Their friendship has matured just like they have. And Malcolm and his skills and knowledge truly come into their own. And Orman turns out to be a good surprise all around.

The only thing I can maybe complain about, is the very convenient way that the Skandians from the previous book showed up in this one. Just a bit too perfectly placed happening. It would have been better if it had been a totally different crew that had heard about Will helping the previous one and was willing to return the favour.

Other than that, this is a wonderful book and well worth the read as usual!

Definitely recommended!

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Posted by on March 8, 2017 in Books, Fantasy


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“Ranger’s Apprentice book 5: The Sorcerer of the North” – J. Flanagan


This is a review of “Ranger’s Apprentice book 5: The Sorcerer of the North” by John Flanagan.

This is a continuation of the previous books. You can find book one and book two and book three and book four here.

Will is finally a full-fledged Ranger with his own fief to look after. The fief seems sleepy – boring even – until Lord Syron, master of a castle far in the north, is struck down by a mysterious illness. Joined by his friend Alyss, Will is suddenly thrown headfirst into an extraordinary adventure, investigating fears of sorcery and trying to determine who is loyal to Lord Syron. As Will battles growing hysteria, traitors, and, most of all, time, Alyss is taken hostage, and Will is forced to make a desperate choice between his mission and his friend.

It is always interesting to see more of Araluen and the way the various fiefs are governed. Even the various

This book is set after a timeskip of about three to four years. Will now has his silver oakleaf and he is no longer an apprentice, but Alyss still is. She has grown up and has more responsibilities than before though, so she seems to be on the cusp of becoming a proper diplomat. There are tiny hints of the romance between Will and Alyss and how it has developed so far, and the slowness is good. They aren’t jumping into things.

Becoming a Ranger in his own fief and then being sent on a special mission to another, Will shows that he has grown from boyhood to adulthood since the past book. He is more mature than before, but he is still quick to laugh. He also does occasionally wish to or does ask for help from people who know things better than him, and it’s good to know that he isn’t an all-knowing superhero now.

The book is a little bit slow and maybe not quite as full of action as the previous books. There is a lot of time spent on what seems to be nothings where Will plays at inns and other places to entertain common people. However, it is building up to something big and it is obvious that it is part of an arc with the sixth book of the series.

Other than the slight slowness, there is nothing bad to actually say about the book.

Definitely recommended as usual!

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Posted by on March 18, 2016 in Books, Fantasy


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“Ranger’s Apprentice book 4: The Battle for Skandia” – J. Flanagan


This a review of “Ranger’s Apprentice book 4: The Battle for Skandia” by John Flanagan.

This is a continuation of the previous reviews for book one, book two and book three.

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!


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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Books, Fantasy


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“Ranger’s Apprentice book 3: The Icebound Land” – J. Flanagan


This is a review of “Ranger’s Apprentice book 3: The Icebound Land” by John Flanagan.

This is a continuation of the previous two posts which can be found here (book one) and here (book two).

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“.


Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Books, Fantasy


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“Ranger’s Apprentice book 2: The Burning Bridge” – J. Flanagan


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!

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Posted by on March 29, 2014 in Books, Fantasy


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“Ranger’s Apprentice book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan” – J. Flanagan

Ranger's apprentice

This is a review of “Ranger’s Apprentice book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan” by John Flanagan.

The Rangers have always scared Will in the past, with their weird cloaks and mysterious ways. There are even whispers of magic amongst the villagers, and Will wants nothing to do with them. He wants to become a knight like his father was. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. He is about to learn that Rangers aren’t just the scary stories told around the fireplace, they are so much more. At the same time 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…

When I first picked up this book I thought that it would be a stereotypical, bad mix between “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings”, and I have never been more glad to be proven so wrong. This is an excellent start to an excellent series and there is absolutely nothing stereotypical about this.

The characters are varied and excellent. Will is a good lead character, and he is believable. Horace develops into one of my favourites as the series continue, Halt is excellent and all the other characters around them are just as good. There is real character growth and development in even this first book which doesn’t always happen in a series.

The world they inhabit is beautiful and strange and yet familiar, with recognisable details from our own history. All the archery they talk about in the book is well written and you can see that the author has real knowledge and experience and passion in and for the subject rather than just having read up on it for the sake of the story, and it doesn’t stick to just archery either.

I highly recommend this series for everyone!

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Posted by on November 11, 2013 in Books, Fantasy


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