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.

Ranger’s Apprentice 6: The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice 6: The Siege of Macindaw by John FlanaganBlurb

In this desolate northern fief, where can Will find the fighting men he needs to overcome the traitorous Sir Keren and his band of criminals? Across the border, the fierce Scotti tribesmen are waiting for the signal that Castle Macindaw is in friendly hands, and the way is clear to mount a full-scale attack.

Time is running out. Will’s courage and ingenuity – and the arrival of an old friend – may be the only things that stand in their way.

Will is determined to rescue Alyss – even if it means laying siege to an enemy castle!

My Perspective

Having been unable to rescue Alyss, Will has retreated back to the forest. Knowing that Sir Keren is a traitor and is summoning Araluen’s enemies to the north, the Scotti, to take Castle Macindaw, Will must come up with a plan to take the castle himself. However contacting the King to summon an army could take months in the snowy winter, by which time it will be too late. Will soon discovers that he has a few different friends, old and new, to help him. However will it be enough?

Book six carries on straight after book five and you are pretty much immediately thrown into the action. I really appreciated this as i was raring to get into the story.

I found Will’s character was tested quite a bit in this book. There were some points that i was a little upset in his reactions, which made his character slightly flawed – this actually being more realistic. I think i was coming to a point where i held him in too high esteem, that he could do no wrong. It took me back to reality and although i am a little sad i think it was for the best. He is still a great character and i still really like him, he’s just not perfect! Horace was his usual, steadfast self. Alyss proved again to be extremely intelligent, strong willed and independent. I really like her. The new characters were both extremely likeable and detestable and i am starting to think that the Skandians are becoming my favourite group of people!

The story was interesting and kept me turning the pages however i did feel that it fell a little flat in the middle. I’m not sure whether there was a little unnecessary text or what however the pacing was a little off.

The books are getting more and more mature and the deaths in this one were definitely so. Also as Will is now an adult, there are themes that a little mature say for a child.

I would definitely recommend this book, however not so much for children anymore, more young teenagers or preteens, and adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan (which i feel is suited for children).

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.

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.

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.