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Ranger’s Apprentice 5: The Sorcerer in the North by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 5: The Sorcerer in the North by John FlanaganBlurb

Five years have passed since the Skandians and the Araluans made their treaty, and Will has finally become a Ranger, with his own fief to look after. He soon learns that even sleepy little islands have problems to keep him on his toes.

Then he and his old friend Alyss are thrown into a terrifying new adventure, investigating the truth behind rumours of sorcery in a remote northern fief. As he stands in Grimsdell Wood, with the horrific, ghostly Night Warrior looming above him, Will must ask himself one question: is there a rational explanation . . . or does sorcery really exist?

On his first top-secret mission, can Will save a new ally from a terrible curse?

My Perspective

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a mini break from the Ranger’s Apprentice series – however not by choice! As soon as I finished Cairo Jim, I started The Sorcerer in the North and finished it that evening.

The Sorcerer in the North is set five years after the last book Oakleaf Bearers, and Will has finished his apprenticeship and been assigned his own fief. However not long after being assigned, he is sent on a mission up in the north because mysterious happenings have been taking place.

I was a little sad to have missed out on the journey of the rest of Will’s apprenticeship however the five year gap was transitioned well.

Will is still the same old Will. He’s just a little older and a little more mature. He still has a fierce heart and the character that makes him so loveable. I was glad that Halt and Horace were briefly in the book – I would have been quite sad if neither of them had made an appearance! Alyss is obviously more of a main character in this book and I like her a lot. I’m not sure whether I like her close relationship with Will however I think that’s just because I don’t think anyone will ever be good enough for him. Alyss is a really strong female character, which I liked. She’s smart, independent and can very much take care of herself. There are moments when she weakens however it makes her more realistic.

I liked how some of the different storylines in the book intertwined. I also appreciated that there were a few different paths that the author lead you down. When I look back at some of it, I feel like it should have been so obvious however I was so caught up in the story that I didn’t even realise until they were right on top of me.

I really enjoyed this book even though some of my favourite characters only appeared briefly. Also a warning that it leaves you on a cliffhanger!

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

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Cairo Jim & Doris In Search Of Martenarten: A Tale Of Archaeology, Adventure & Astonishment by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim & Doris In Search Of Martenarten: A Tale Of Archaeology, Adventure & Astonishment by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

Far away in Upper Egypt, in a place known as the Valley of the Kings, Cairo Jim (assisted by the hieroglyph-reading macaw Doris and Brenda the Wonder Camel) is searching for the lost tomb of Pharaoh Martenarten, Worshipper of the Moon and King of Ancient Egypt.

It is not an easy search. Plagued by uncertainty, the dauntless trio persevere in a harsh climate made all the more worse by dust, sand and petty skulduggery.

But these are the least of their troubles. Somebody of great deviousness, treachery and manicured evil wants what they are after. And he will stop at nothing to claim it for his own!

My Perspective

I’ve been ripping through the Ranger’s Apprentice series and when I finished Oakleaf Bearers, I had to wait over the weekend before I saw the customer who’s lending them to me to borrow the next two books in the series. I couldn’t wait that long to read a book but I didn’t want something too engrossing that would take me away from the Ranger’s Apprentice. So Cairo Jim it was.

Cairo Jim & Doris In Search Of Martenarten: A Tale Of Archaeology, Adventure & Astonishment is obviously about Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda searching for the lost tomb of Marenaratan. The only problem is that there is also someone else searching and they will stop at nothing to find the tomb and claim it for themselves.

The story is written in a silly albeit will written style very suited to children. I still greatly enjoyed it however if you don’t like a bit of obvious silliness then you may not enjoy this book.

The characters were brilliant. Cairo Jim is such a soft soul, you can’t help but like him. Doris and Brenda are fantastic “side kicks” with their funny perks and they really add to the story. And the villains were everything children’s villains should be. Gross and slimy with grandiose ideas. I also love that the villain is a recurring villain in the Cairo Jim Chronicles. There is just something about them that makes you love and hate them at the same time.

The actual story was interesting however not as gripping as the Cairo Jim On The Trail To Cha Cha Muchos. I would still recommend it for children and adults who like a silly adventure/mystery with a bit of history thrown in.

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Ranger’s Apprentice 4: Oakleaf Bearers by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 4: Oakleaf Bearers by John FlanaganBlurb

Just as spring approaches and Will and Evanlyn can finally escape Skandia, Evanlyn is carried off by mysterious horsemen. Will sets out after them, but one boy against six fierce Temujai warriors is impossible odds – even for a Ranger’s apprentice. Halt and Horace arrive just in time. But the happiness of their reunion is cut short when Halt realises these Temujai are only the scouts for a massive invasion force. The four Araluans must work together with the Skandians to defeat the invaders – if the Oberjarl will accept their help.

My Perspective

I read this book under the name ‘Oakleaf Bearers’ however it was also published under the name, ‘The Battle for Skandia’.

The book begins as the thaw is starting. Will and Evanlyn must consider their trek back to Araluen however before they’ve had a chance, Evanlyn is captured by a strange horseman. Meanwhile Halt and Horace have made it to the Skandian border. However what greets them changes everything.

The books are just getting better and better. I am hoping this means that the author has found his groove and he will stick with it!

There was a maturity about this book that I liked. The content was a little more detailed and gave greater credit to the reader.

I just love Will. He is such a great character. You’d think he couldn’t keep getting better and better but he does. You can see his growth in each book and it’s remarkable to see how far he has come. He’s certainly not a kid anymore. Obviously Halt and Horace are as likeable as ever. I did find Evanlyn’s character interesting. I didn’t like her in the second book. By the end of the third book I did and throughout this book I wavered between both feelings, coming to an unknown conclusion. I do find it hard to reconcile her as both Evanlyn and Princess Cassandra. I really liked the Skandians in the story (except for Slagor). They are a rough, brutish bunch with good hearts.

Again the pace was steady and the book was riveting, keeping me turning the pages long after my bedtime.

One thing I will say is that I’m a little wary about the love triangle that seems to be surfacing. I guess I feel like no one is good enough for Will!

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

3

Ranger’s Apprentice 3: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 3: The Icebound Land by John FlanaganBlurb

Will and Evanlyn are bound for Skandia as the captives of the fearsome Skandian wolfship captain, Erak. Halt has sworn to rescue Will, and he will do anything to keep his promise – even defy his King. Expelled from the Rangers, Halt is joined by Horace as he travels through Gallica toward Skandia. On their way, they are constantly challenged by freelance knights – otherwise known as thieving thugs. Horace knows a thing or two about combat, though, and he soon begins to attract the attention of knights and warlords for miles around with his uncanny skill. But will they be in time to rescue Will from a life of slavery?

My Perspective

Book three in The Ranger’s Apprentice series follows Will and Evanlyn’s journey as captives to the Skandians. Meanwhile Halt, accompanied by Horace, leaves Araluen to fulfill his promise and find Will. However both parties face great challenges that may take their very lives.

This book really shows the improvement of the author’s writing skills. It was well written and not predictable like the previous two books. It was a lot darker though and suitable more for older children rather than younger. It makes me wonder if the author is writing the series taking into consideration that with each book his target audience is a little older than before, so therefore writing accordingly.

The characters were again such a strong point. Will was this little, fierce, determined fellow that you just feel so proud of. However what happens to him pretty much broke my heart. I was almost in tears. I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say anything more. Again, I found Evanlyn slightly annoying however I was pleasantly surprised by her growth, and the strength and determination she showed. I actually really liked her by the end of the book. Halt and Horace were as likeable as ever and you just hope against hope that Halt will find Will.

The pace was steady however it’s not a book that you can easily put down. Again, you’ll probably want to have the next book handy!

I’m really enjoying the series and i would definitely say that i am ‘hooked’. I was glad to see that the writing has improved in this book and i’m hoping it’s not a fluke.

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

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Ranger’s Apprentice 2: The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 2: The Burning Bridge by John FlanaganBlurb

As the Kingdom of Araluen prepares for war against Morgarath, Will and Horace accompany the Ranger Gilan on a mission to Celtica. But Celtica’s villages are silent. Only an exhausted and starving girl called Evanlyn can tell them why: Morgarath has sent his foul creatures to enslave the Celts. While Gilan rides swiftly back to report this news to the King, Will, Horace and Evanlyn discover the true purpose behind Morgarath’s actions. The Kingdom is sure to be defeated in a surprise three-sided attack – unless they can find a way to prevent it.

My Perspective

Book two in The Ranger’s Apprentice series sees Will off on an embassy convoy with Gilan and Horace. They have been chosen to visit King Swyddned of Celtica to acquire support for the upcoming war against Morgarath. However when they arrive in Celtica, there is no one to be seen.

Again I found the story to be interesting however predictable. I was a little flummoxed though because some of the plot lines were SO OBVIOUS it was almost ridiculous and then others were a complete mystery and had me guessing. I’m not sure what works better – having it predictable or ridiculously predictable at the same time as being mysterious. Maybe having it not predictable at all :) Anyway aside from that, it was still really interesting and enjoyable to read.

Again the characters really shone through. Will is extremely likeable and you just want to reach into the book and give him a big hug. The other characters were strong and well written and you just can’t help feeling like you’re one of them. I did find Evanlyn slightly annoying however I don’t know if that’s me rather than the book as I don’t tend to gravitate to a lot of female protagonists.

Also just a warning – the book does leave you on a cliffhanger so you might want to have the next book handy!

Again I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

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Ranger’s Apprentice 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John FlanaganBlurb

Will is small for his age, but fast and quick-witted. All his life, he has dreamed of becoming a great knight like the father he never knew, so he is devastated when he is rejected by Castle Redmont’s Battleschool. Instead he is apprenticed to Halt, the mysterious Ranger whose uncanny ability to move unseen is thought to be the result of black magic. Reluctantly, Will learns to use a Ranger’s secret weapons: a bow and arrow, a mottled cloak and a stubborn little pony. It may not be the sword and battlehorse he longs for, but when Will and Halt set out on a desperate mission to prevent the assassination of the King, Will finds that a Ranger’s weapons are not so useless after all…

My Perspective

A customer lent me this book and told me they have pretty much the whole series if I get into it (that’s like another eleven books!!!) I’m not making much of a dent in my to read pile at the moment because people keep lending me books! It’s a terrible complaint to have. Anyway this series is written for children so it shouldn’t take me all that long to get through it.

The story is about Will, one of Baron Arald’s wards. When a ward turns fifteen they are chosen to be an apprentice to one of the kingdom’s craftsmen. Wills life desire has been to be chosen for Battleschool to honour the father he never knew. However poor Will is the opposite of what Battleschool apprentices need to be. He is instead chosen to be a Ranger’s apprentice – and the mysterious and mythical Ranger Halt to be his mentor.

I really enjoyed the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series however I did find it very predictable and knew pretty much most of what was going to happen by the first few pages. I understand it is a children’s series however I do believe that the skill of the author is shown when they can write a children’s book and not only interest an adult but keep them guessing too. In saying that, the book was still very interesting and a pleasure to read.

The characters were a huge strong point for the book. Will was extremely likeable and you really wanted him to succeed. Halt is the mentor everyone wishes they had and you feel like Will isn’t the only one after his approval, but you yourself as well. The other characters were really well written, especially the ones that weren’t meant to be likeable. All of the characters evoked many different emotions and I was very much sucked in to their story.

I found the pace to be steady and your interest was held well.

The book deals with a few issues that children can relate to and I think it would really help them deal with any struggles that they might be facing.

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

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COVER REVEAL – Legends of Windemere: The Compass Key

Debuting August 8th on Amazon Kindle!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Swords will clash and spells will fly in the newest adventure of young warrior Luke Callindor, Nyx the magic-flinging caster, and their friends.

With Sari captured by their enemies, the champions of Windemere are determined to get her back and destroy the Lich’s castle. Little do they realize, their battles in the Caster Swamp are only the beginning of this adventure. Trinity and her Chaos Elves have invaded the city of Gaia in search of a relic called the Compass Key. Rumored to be the key to rescuing Sari from a magical island, our heroes are in a race to find the mysterious relic.

Which side will claim the Compass Key? And, what will our heroes do when they’re faced with an enemy whose evil power overshadows anything they have ever faced?

About the Author:

Charles author photo B&WCharles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Read the Previous Volumes of Legends of Windemere!!!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover by Jason Pedersen

Cover by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen (CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE)