Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan

The Siege of Macindaw (Ranger's Apprentice, #6)The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can give this one four stars for several reasons:
1. I am aggregating all of the .2 and point .1 from the other Ranger's Apprentice books :) It is a great series and deserves that credit somewhere.
2. I liked Will handling the adventure beginning to end. No "Gandalf" showing up to save the day...
3. This is both a benefit and a quesion-mark in my mind: Somehow Flanagan is able to pull in other coutnries/cultures as needed. We saw this as Horace trooped through Galicia. Understandably, to adult readers we recognize the European continent and its stereotypical inhabitants, but why were the first stories void of these countries/cultures? Weird. But Flanagan gets points in my book for bringing in the Scotti in this book. Interesting...

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Sorcerer in the North by John Flanagan

The Sorcerer in the North (Ranger's Apprentice, #5)The Sorcerer in the North by John Flanagan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked Will doing the Ranger thing out on his own, and dealing with his own insecurities and life lessons. I took his apparent promotion at the beginning of the book in stride (only to be betrayed later, see future posts for those details.) I was not a fan of his separation from the princess(? am I downplaying their relationship by saying it that way?) considering their time in Skandia. It seemed like we were destined for more clashes between Horace and Will over that. Things resolve themselves a little too quickly in these books sometimes, thus just another solid 3 stars...

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan

The Battle for Skandia (Ranger's Apprentice, #4)The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This installment continues the development of the characters, while providing another tale of the Ranger Corps. I am behind in my log here, so my comments will be brief: I like the war/fighting scenes. Flanagan deserves credit for keeping the battle scenes simple, yet engaging. He has also continued to maintain the simple language/themes as he did in the previous books. Very well done.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

The Icebound Land by John Flanagan

The Icebound Land (Ranger's Apprentice, #3)The Icebound Land by John Flanagan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So this series is great for a couple of reasons. First, the books are short and easily digestible, which is perfect for my situation (I don't have much free time.) Second, the characters are all maturing, and we get to follow along as the author confronts the inherent conflicts of adolescents and grows his characters to overcome them. Finally, the plot is just a classic fun-to-read fantasy story.

The room for improvement remains in the same areas. This is a fantasy story that lacks magic. A painful omission in my book. While the characters are growing, and the plot is enjoyable, some of the developments in the story line seem overly obvious. I suppose that that is what I get for reading juvenile fiction, but still. My hope is that the tone of these books "grows up" over time, like the Harry Potter books did. (Although, ironically, I was not a fan of that maturing in the HP series, but that is a discussion for a different time...)

I'm looking forward to carving out some more time to keep reading this series...