the crew grows

Brotherband Chronicles, Book 2-The Invaders by John Flanagan; 2012;$18.99; 429 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-25620-2; purchased from Multnomah County Library, Title Wave Used Bookstore; 10/4/15-10/6/15

Hal and his brotherband along with Thorn an older Skandian warrior set out in search of the pirates who stole the Skandians most important treasure while they were guarding it.  Due to a storm at sea they are forced to lay up, at first they just loaf but Hal with some help from Thorn gets them back into shape and make a true brotherhood among them.  They are caught by some Skandians, who Hal thinks are to take him back to the Oberjal, but they are actually there to help recover the artifact.  They spot the pirate who has taken up residence in a town he wants to loot.  Using subterfuge and cunning they liberate the town, but the pirates get away.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, John Flanagan writes books where the most powerful people are the ones who use there mind the most.

What is with the title of the review?  The brotherband gains a sister while they are liberating the town.  She is skilled with some wicked throwing darts.

Companions to Will and Halt

Brotherband Chronicles, Book 1, The Outcasts by John Flanagan; 2011;$18.99; 434 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-25619-6; purchased from Multnomah County Library, Title Wave Used Bookstore; 10/1/15-10/4/15

Hal is an outcast in his town, because of his mixed blood.  However he is a quick thinker, a tinkerer and a natural born leader.  In his country every year teen age boys are gathered together and trained to be seagoing warriors together.  The boys are mixed in brotherbands, who will live together, train together and ultimately sail and fight together.  There are twenty eight boys and Hal and seven other boys don’t get picked by the leaders of the two main brotherband teams so the heads of the training decide that they will be their own brotherband.  They have two fewer men in their brotherband and they are the outcasts, two bickering brothers, a strongman who can barely see beyond the end of his arm, a thief, a cook, an explosive temper and a nobody with Hal.  They end up winning the brotherband competition, but then are disgraced on their first night of duty and flee their hometown seeking redemption.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  I enjoy Flanagan’s ability to take a non conventional character and make him the heart and soul of the story.  These are as good as the Rangers Apprentice books by the same author.

What is with the title of the review?  If you have read the entire series of The Rangers Apprentice you will understand.

Sequel and Prequel

Ranger’s Apprentice, The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan, 2013; $18.99; 455 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; Teen Fiction; 978-0-399-16360-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 12/17-12/18

Why did I pick this up?  Because I have read and enjoyed the previous 11 books in the Ranger’s Apprentice series and wanted to see how the author finalized the series.

What is the story?  Will Treaty, the Apprentice of the series title, has sustained a great loss in his life and has lost his focus.  Horace, the knight and Cassandra, a princess of the kingdom have married and have a young teenage daughter as the story begins.  Madelyn, their daughter, is rebelling against the restrictions her parents have put on her, and sneaks out at night to hunt.  Halt, Horace and Cassandra devise a plan to pull Will out of his funk and give Maddie something to focus on.  Maddie is to become Will’s apprentice and the first female to try and become a ranger, Will is also Maddies’ Godfather and she has been somewhat coddled as a princess.  It works well for both of them pulling Will out of his grief and teaching Maddie something about responsibility to the people of the kingdom.

Did I like it?  Yes, it was an exciting story, that I had a hard time putting down, highlighting almost all the characters from the series and introducing an exciting new character in Maddie..

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  While it wraps up the threads from the previous 11 books it also sets the stage for more adventures with Will and Maddie.

 

Tying up loose ends and Thanks to Zach and Amanda

Ranger’s Apprentice, The Lost Stories by John Flanagan; 2011; $17.99; 422 pages; Philomel Press, New York; NY; 978-0-399-25618-9; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 11/20-11/22

Why did I pick this up?  Because this was the only book in the series I hadn’t read.  All of them from the first one through the tenth were great.

What is the story?  Love, actually.  One of the things highlighted throughout the stories here is the love between characters, Will and Halt, Horace, Evalynn, Tug and especially Alyss. Also Jenny and Gilian among others.  And there are some adventures that took place between the books and to peripheral characters.

Did I like it?  Yes, this is something I wish more authors would do, respond with stories to questions their readers have and tie up loose ends from their stories.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  John Flanagan has done something that more authors should do (IMHO)  tie up loose ends from their books and respond to readers questions with stories.  Also I wanted to thank Amanda and Zach Banker for introducing me to these books, and the new series from the author.