A frequent question I get asked is ‘what is my favorite book?’. And to me, this is fairly impossible to answer. I do not feel comfortable to name one book as my favorite; it would be unfair and inaccurate. There are far too many great books out there covering all genres and target populations. To make such a comparison would be like asking whether The Lion King or The Avengers was the better movie. There is nothing to compare. With all that being said, this series is one of my favorites as I believe I described in a previous post, so I won’t bore you with the same details.
I’m not sure how to approach giving a synopsis of the book as it is very much connect to the previous three. But I will do my best.
Nothing is going well in Skandia. When Halt arrives to rescue Will and Evanlyn he discovers that they aren’t the only ones making an unwelcome entrance. The Temujai, a warlike nomadic people, have begun an invasion of Skandia with the intent to conquer and take possession of their most valuable asset: sailing ships. With them, they would have the power to expand their territorial expansion to new lands, including Araluen. The only way to protect their home and survive their flight from this frozen land will be to form an unlikely union. With the odds against them, they will have to rely on the Notherners’ strength and the rangers’ cunning in order to make it home.
This is a emotional book for me and I’m not afraid to admit it. The first three books are leading up to this installment. I won’t say that plot isn’t important, but this series is very character driven. Some books are driven by events; the characters are moved from one moment to the next mostly due to outside forces. In these stories, however, luck and fate usually play large rolls. For example, most mythology is event driven. The Greeks especially loved the concept of fate and prophecy; the idea that the gods would use mankind as pawns for their own purposes commonly lead them to be moved around like pieces on a chess board. Mysteries are usually the opposite in that very few are event driven; an event takes place which creates plot. The characters are then developed and must use their intellect and common sense to put events and clues together in order to solve the case and conclude the story.
The Ranger’s Apprentice novels are within the latter of the two because the characters dictate the course of the story. Depending on what decisions they make the story could take a variety of turns that are unpredictable and engaging. I’ve found this to be a sign of skill on behalf of the author. It’s very easy to write a story where you already know what the outcome will be because you will have planned everything out in advance.
As previous mentioned, every time I read this book I get emotional. Out of all the books this is the one that gets me the most. As I’m reading I come upon the beginning of the end and I know I’m going to find myself in tears. That’s right, I shed tears. Manly tears that is. Everyone has something that can bring them to tears whether it’s heart breaks, trials, tragedies, or other. For me it’s acts of courage; whether it’s a movie or a book, large acts of courage bring on the feels for me.
I can’t think of any reason not to read this book, as well as the previous three. I’m biased in this view, but it’s such a good story with great characters, a compelling plot, and an expertly created setting. Even if you don’t read all ten of the books, they are worth the adventure that awaits.
P.S. Just to let everyone know I didn’t skip book two and three; I read the first book out loud to my wife and this one to myself.