Cairo Jim And The Secret Sepulchre Of The Sphinx by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim And The Secret Sepulchre Of The Sphinx by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

A Tale Of Incalculable Inversion

When that well-known archaeologist and little-known poet, Cairo Jim, and his friends Doris the macaw, and Brenda the Wonder Camel, and Jocelyn Osgood make the ‘find of the century’, a new enemy on the scene sets out to discredit Jim and destroy his hard-won reputation…

My Perspective

Cairo Jim And The Secret Sepulchre Of The Sphinx, follows Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda once again on the dig for an historical wonder. However they know not what they are looking for. And just when they thought their lives were forever at peace due to the demise of the evil Neptune Bone, Mr Impluvium, an evil and conniving man, turns up on the scene.

The story was again a silly yet well written children’s story. I do find that after awhile some of the silliness gets to me however I have to remember that it’s not written with my age group in mind. I loved these books as a kid and didn’t find the silliness over the top at all back then.

I really liked the storyline and the mystery throughout. Although some of it was obvious, not all of it was and there were some parts that really kept me guessing.

Again, the main characters are extremely likeable – Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda – and Mr Impluvium the slimy villain everyone loves to hate. What he did in the book was pretty mean and nasty and you really feel for Cairo Jim and his friends.

Overall it was an enjoyable and light read that I would recommend for children and adults who like a silly adventure/mystery with a bit of history thrown in.

Ranger’s Apprentice 12: The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 12: The Royal Ranger by John FlanaganBlurb

Will took an oath when he joined the Ranger Corps. Does it mean nothing to him now?

After a senseless tragedy destroys his life, Will is obsessed with punishing those responsible – even if it means leaving the Ranger Corps. His worried friends must find a way to stop him taking such a dark path.

It is Halt who suggests the solution: Will must take an apprentice. The candidate Halt has in mind surprises everyone – and it’s a request Will cannot refuse.

Training a rebellious, unwilling apprentice is hard enough. But when a routine mission uncovers a shocking web of crime, Will must decide where his priorities lie – finishing his quest for revenge, or saving innocent lives?

The final book of the Ranger’s Apprentice series raises the stakes higher than ever. Is Will on his last mission for the Ranger Corps?

My Perspective

The Royal Ranger is the very last book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

Grief stricken from a terrible tragedy, Will is bent on revenge, even if it means breaking his oath to the Ranger Corps. His concerned friends decide that something must be done and Halt comes up with the idea that he is to take on an apprentice…but not just any apprentice.

I think the last book in a series is a hard one to review because it’s essentially ending the fantasy and that can be a disappointment in itself. Especially after twelve books.

Over fifteen years have passed and a lot has happened in that time. Will has practically turned into Halt, which I found amusing however a little disappointing because there wasn’t much “Will” in him. I know he wasn’t himself due to his grief but even then he just read like Halt. The other characters were practically the same however Princess Cassandra or Evanlyn seemed a bit more bossy and bratty than usual. At first I really liked Maddy and I thought she was severely misunderstood however how wrong was I!!! What a brat!!! It was good to see how she grew and matured though.

The story is steady paced with a fair bit happening throughout. There is a lot of attention to detail, except for the ending. I found the story ended quite abruptly and it didn’t match the rest of the book. I think that was my only disappointment with it.

Overall it was a really enjoyable read and I’m sad to see the series end. I would definitely recommend this book, and this series, for children, young adults and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

Ranger’s Apprentice 11: The Lost Stories by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 11: The Lost Stories by John FlanaganBlurb

Everyone knows the legends of the Rangers of Araluen. But no one has heard the whole story – until now. Has Halt told Will the truth about how Will became an orphan? Did Gilan track down Morgarath’s lieutenant after the battle of Three Step Pass? Is there to be a royal wedding – or will tragedy strike first? Inspired by questions and letters sent by his loyal readers, John Flanagan answers all your burning questions about the world of the Rangers.

If you want to know what’s gone before and what comes next for Will, Halt, Horace, Alyss, Evanlyn and Gilan – not to mention a certain stubborn little pony – The Lost Stories is an unmissable read.

My Perspective

The customer who originally lent me the Ranger’s Apprentice series bought the last two books and is also lending them to me. I am very excited to complete the series although a little sad that it is coming to an end.

This book is simply a compilation of various stories that are set throughout the entire timeline of the whole series that help answer some questions about certain events.

All the stories apart from one, are in chronological order, which was helpful and the right way to do it rather than higgledy piggledy. The one story that isn’t in order, doesn’t really need to be.

Each story is well written and interesting and keeps in theme with the rest of the series. They are mainly written from Will’s point of view however a few are not and it was nice to revisit some of the other characters.

This book was a nice touch for the second last book of the series and definitely answered some of my questions. I must admit that i do have a few more questions now however really John Flanagan could go on writing forever about the world he has created and i was excited to learn that he has written a spin off series – Brotherband, which i am definitely looking forward to reading.

Overall this book was a pleasant and exciting read that had you captivated as well as at the same time being able to put it down because it was a book of short stories. I would definitely recommend this book for children, young adults and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

Ranger’s Apprentice 10: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 10: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John FlanaganBlurb

Horace isn’t meant to take sides, but he can’t stand back and let an oath-breaker claim the throne.

Horace is missing. Months have passed since he was sent on a military mission to the court of the Emperor of Nihon-Ja but he has failed to return. Evanlyn is worried, and in company with Will and Alyss, she sets out to discover what has become of their old friend. They find that Horace has become embroiled in Nihon-Jan politics. The arrogant Senshi sect has rebelled against the rightful Emperor and Horace has chosen to stay and lend support to the deposed ruler. Now he and Will must find men willing to face the highly trained Senshi warriors, while Alyss and Evanlyn must overcome their longstanding rivalry to seek aid from a mysterious group of mountain dwellers.

My Perspective

Will, Halt and Alyss are in Toscano overseeing the new treaty between Arrida and Toscano when Evanlyn turns up summoning them on a mission to find Horace, who has disappeared somewhere in Nihon-Ja while on a diplomatic mission.

I really loved this book. I think it’s the best one written yet. It was really good.

Will isn’t the star character in this story, Horace takes that role and it was really enjoyable to read about his journey. Also the two girls and their relationship was quite a large part of the book. This lead to some quite frustrating parts and there were some points where I wanted to hit Alyss in the head with an oar. It was also nice to revisit some old characters and also meet some new ones. You couldn’t help but love the Nihon-Jan emperor.

The pacing was great as the story switched between each group so you were pretty much constantly waiting to see what was going to happen next for at least one of the story-lines.

The book was definitely the most mature of them all and I probably wouldn’t feel as comfortable with my child reading it however definitely a young teenager.

Overall the story flowed so well, was extremely interesting and really captured your attention. This is one of my favourites I think in terms of how well it was written and also how interesting the content was.

I would definitely recommend this book for children, young adults 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.

Ranger’s Apprentice 9: Halt’s Peril by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 9: Halt's Peril by John FlanaganBlurb

Halt, Horace and Will are on the trail of Tennyson and his followers. The false prophet of the Outsider cult escaped justice for his crimes in Clonmel, and Halt is determined to stop him before he crosses the border into Araluen. Will has defeated one of Tennyson’s Genovesan assassins in Clonmel – but there are two left alive. Are the extraordinary archery skills of Will and Halt enough to save them during a duel with the Genovesans . . . or is Will’s mentor facing his last battle?

My Perspective

Halt’s Peril is the second part to The Kings of Clonmel. Having defamed the Outsiders, Tennyson, their leader, has fled and Will, Halt and Horace must find him to prevent him from wreaking any more havoc and to bring him to trial in Araluen. However with the conniving Genovesans under the employ of Tennyson, what they have planned does more damage to the group then they could ever realise – causing Will and Horace to face the possible death of their beloved Ranger, Halt.

Obviously this book follows straight on from the last one and you would have thought I would have read it straight after. However the customer who was lending me the series doesn’t have the last four books. This one and the next one are available at my local library however the last two are not – I think I want to buy the box set though, not just the last two!

I enjoyed this book a lot more than the previous one. It was better written and I felt that the author had found his groove again.

Will, Halt and Horace are again all so likeable and it was also nice to meet some old friends again.

The story had me guessing quite a bit throughout and you’re unsure whether the ending will be happy or sad. I won’t spoil it by saying which one it ends up being.

Overall i really enjoyed it even though it did make me slightly emotional and again I’m looking forward to reading the next book!

I would definitely recommend this book for children, young adults 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.

Ranger’s Apprentice 8: The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 8: The Kings of Clonmel by John FlanaganBlurb

Will is at the annual Ranger Gathering but Halt is investigating mysterious happenings in the west. When he does finally return, it’s with bad news. Hibernia is in turmoil. A false religious cult calling themselves the Outsiders are sowing confusion and sedition, and five of the six Hibernian kingdoms have been undermined. Now the sixth, Clonmel, is in danger. Halt, Will and Horace set out to restore order. Can the secrets of Halt’s past help them in their mission?

One Ranger can stop a riot, but this time two Rangers may not be enough . . .

My Perspective

The Kings of Clonmel jumps ahead again and is set after the sixth book, The Siege of Macindaw. Will, Halt and Horace are sent to Hibernia to help prevent a cult, the Outsiders, from taking over the country and turning their attention to invading Araluen.

Having just read Erak’s Ransom, I had to get my head around the timelines and remember what had happened in The Siege of Macindaw. The author did a great job helping with this by easing you into the story.

Again the characters were extremely likeable and having been on the journey with them now for eight books, you really feel part of the team.

You learn a bit about Halt’s past in this book, which I found interesting and clever. In a way I saw it coming however from the past books you wouldn’t have had a clue.

The story was interesting and well written however I did find it probably could have even reduced down slightly. Although the book is resolved, it is also a to be continued.

Again I would definitely recommend this book for children, young adults 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.

Ranger’s Apprentice 7: Erak’s Ransom by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 7: Erak's Ransom by John FlanaganBlurb

When the Skandian Oberjarl is taken hostage during a raid on the desert land of Arrida, his second-in-command, Svengal, asks the Araluans for help. Halt and Will must go with him to deliver the ransom and secure Erak’s freedom, but a royal presence is needed. The Princess Cassandra – or Evanlyn, as Will knows her – persuades her father to let her go with them. Horace and the Ranger Gilan round out the group to make sure that Evanlyn is well protected. But will violent sandstorms, warring tribes and danger at every turn keep them from reaching Erak in time?

The seventh book takes us back to the final year of Will’s apprenticeship, before the events related in Books 5 and 6.

My Perspective

I was excited to get back into The Ranger’s Apprentice series once we’d come home. If you remember from my first post Ranger’s Apprentice 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan, a customer was lending the books to me. I obviously didn’t want to take them overseas with me, for both baggage allowance and that I didn’t want to ruin/lose them.

Erak’s Ransom doesn’t lead on from the last book, The Siege of Macindaw, it takes you back to before Will finishes his apprenticeship. Erak, the Oberjarl of Skandia, is captured and held to ransom by the Arridi, while he is on a raid. Svengal, his first mate, seeks the help of the kingdom of Araluen and Will, Halt, Horace, Evanlyn (Princess Cassandra), and Gilan with the rest of the wolf ship crew journey back to Arrida to negotiate the ransom and free Erak. However not everything goes according to plan.

I was really happy that the book went back to before Will graduated. As I mentioned in The Sorcerer in The North, I was a little disappointed that they’d missed the rest of his apprenticeship and graduation.

I was really impressed with the book as the author had to reduce Will’s maturity to before The Sorcerer in The North however after Oakleaf Bearers, and he did a great job at doing so.

Will was again a great character. He obviously wasn’t perfect and he did make some mistakes however he was as loveable and faithful as ever. I was a little surprised at Halt’s character to be honest. I wouldn’t say in a bad way, or that he was unbelievable, it was just a surprise that came out of nowhere. Horace, Gilan, Erak and Svengal were all their usual steadfast and likeable selves. I was a lot more impressed with Evanlyn and she really held her own in this book.

I found that the book as a whole reduced in the maturity that I mentioned in Oakleaf Bearers, which I found surprising as this story was meant to be after that. I’m not sure if this was because the author was trying to make it clear that this book is meant to take place before The Sorcerer in The North. I didn’t mind so much that it was like this, it was a bit more lighthearted.

The book was really enjoyable and interesting. There were many times that my heart was in my mouth and I was holding my breath for quite a few pages. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

I would definitely recommend this book for children, young adults 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.