I recently finished The Battle for Skandia, the fourth book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. My only disappointment is the fact that someone else has the next book! So, while I wait my turn for The Sorcerer of the North, I will finish Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter (have I mentioned lately how much I love Ally Carter? Well, I do.).
The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan 2006
Will and Evanlyn have escaped enslavement and survived the winter, but their troubles are far from over. Evanlyn is kidnapped by a group of Temujai warriors and Will must recall his Ranger training to save her. Weakened by warmweed and out of practice, Will quickly discovers he is no match for these skilled and brutal warriors. Luckily for both Will and Evanlyn, Halt and Horace arrive just in time. The joy of their reunion is short-lived when the Araluens discover that the Temujai army have breached the Skandian borders. If Skandia falls, their own homeland will be in danger. Faced with this threat, Halt and his young companions forge an unlikely alliance against a common enemy.
Once again, I found myself completely absorbed by Will’s story. After reading and enjoying the first three books, I do not know why I continue to be surprised by how much I enjoy this series. It turns out, I really do judge a book by its cover and I never thought I would be excited to get my hands on a book that looks like this (a big, hairy viking with a battle-axe? Love it!). It just goes to show how much I know! There is so much to love about this series. First and foremost, it’s good storytelling. It’s a timeless tale, with nothing to date it. Second, the series has strong, likeable characters. Halt continues to be my favorite, with his wry sense of humor and deep affection for the young people in his care. Will and Horace have grown into honorable young men, and Evanlyn continues to prove she is as clever and brave as the boys. Then there the fact that the really the characters learn valuable life lessons with each new adventure. I love how the author expertly provides positive messages without being preachy. Finally, I love the action and adventure. There are epic battles against seasoned warriors using really cool weapons. What’s not to love?
Fans of the series will not be disappointed with this installment. For those of you who have not checked these out, I ask you, why? What more do I have to say to convince you that these books will provide you with hours of reading enjoyment? This series has it all-action, adventure, humor, epic battles, friendship, survival, really cool weapons (but not a lot of blood and guts), the smartest horses in the world, and a princess.
If you like this series you may enjoy books by Cinda Williams Chima, Garth Nix, and D.J. McHale.