Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Emporer of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 10: The Emperor of Nihon-JaThe Ranger's Apprentice, Book 10: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So another new country, but this time it is on the other side of the world. We see the Skandians innovating with ship building, we watch Evanlyn and Alyss resolve the last of the love triangle that was never capitalized on, and (my favorite) we get a brief suggestion that perhaps this is not a look at Medieval Europe, but maybe a futuristic European result. I know, I am stretching it a bit there, but it is possibilities like that that add dimension to a story, IMHO. (I base that off of the comments the characters made about the Suez canal stand-in...)

I like the good old-fashioned war that Horace finds himself in the middle of, and the outcome works with our expectations of the Rangers from previous books. I liked seeing Horace at the core of the story. The resolution of the romantic side-stories (they never take center stage, if you noticed?) is a good wrap-up, although it feels very permanent, and I'd like to hear more of these tales. I would like to see Horace's weaknesses a little more. So far he is always humble, never makes mistakes, has become witty, and is even catching on to the basics of Ranger training. What can't he do?

Four stars. I can't help it...

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Halt's Peril by John Flanagan

Halt's Peril (Ranger's Apprentice, #9)Halt's Peril by John Flanagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 Stars for the following:
1. Pulling in past characters and developing them further.
2. Letting Halt get hurt (no one is infallible.)
3. Another all-around great story.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan

The Kings of Clonmel (Ranger's Apprentice, #8)The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So I am not such a big fan of the cult-as-an-antagonist storyline. I suppose that it is plausible, but it is just missing something. There aren't really any political struggles, or true military oppositions, just a bunch of easily-duped villagers. I have never supported that view of humanity. Anyway, it is good for what it is, and for this series that means above average, but no 4th star this time.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Erak's Ransom by John Flanagan

Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7)Erak's Ransom by John Flanagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok, so this is where I rant for a little bit. What kind of stupid mistake did somebody make to put this book as the 7th in the series? It comes before the previous two books in the overall series storyline! It was written well for that position, so I don't think this is an author issue. I think it is an editor/publisher issuer, maybe when the series was published in the US, but why oh why didn't they fix it! That is totally unacceptable, and if I were going include that fact in my appraisal of this book, there is no way I could have given it over 1 star. I have decided to ignore that whole issue, because it is an otherwise enjoyable book. But really people. That was a ridiculous mistake. I hope someone was fired.

The story fits well in the series, because it cements the relationship with Skandia and Araluen. The story itself introduces new characters as well, although I am still a little confused at how Selethen went from foe to friend so quickly, but I am willing to go along with it and see if he shows up again in future books. I am willing to go to 4 stars again because of the world view Flanagan presents. It adds variety and interest to the book where other factors need to remain simple. As always, he is excellent at remembering who his target audience is.

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