For those Rangers Apprentice fans out there I’m back with a couple more books. I finished these a long while back but forgot to post about them, for which I’m sorry, and I felt it would be better for me to get them both out there before I forgot about them again, so I decided to make them share a post. Since these two fit so well together in the series I don’t think they’ll mind.
The Sorcerer of the North
Several years have passed since the peace treaty has been signed with the Scandians and Will is now a full-fledged Ranger. With his assignment taking him far from his home at Castle Redmont, he is glad to find his new accommodations quite comfortable. But an assignment will soon take him away from his new stewardship and send him to the northern tip of Araluen. The Ranger Corps believe trouble is brewing; the Lord of Macindaw has died of mysterious causes and rumors are spreading that an ancient malicious sorcerer has taken residence in the area again. Will’s task is to make his way north to discover what’s happening while under the guise of a jongleur. But even Will may not be prepared for what is really happening.
The Siege of Macindaw
After the unfolding of events in The Sorcerer of the North, Will’s identity has been revealed and he must also go into hiding. With resources few and far between he will have to rely on his brains to stop a madman’s plot from coming to fruition. But with the arrival of Horace and a shipwrecked team of Skandians, things start to look up for Will. However, the biggest obstacle is still before him: how will he take Castle Macindaw without losing all those who now follow him?
As you might know if you’ve been following me for a while, these books are some of my favorites. I’ve already discussed the wonderful character development, fantastic plots, and superb rite of passage story so I’ll skip all that and move on to other things.
With the characters now being several years older, there are more dynamics in play. In the previous books there were hints of several romantic routes the characters might take, but The Sorcerer of the North this is the first book where John Flanagan begins to bring these relationships to the surface. And as those who have been following my blog for longer may know, I don’t much care for love triangles. It is a cliché tool for plot tension that has an appeal mostly for teenage girls. That isn’t to say that such romances don’t have their place, but such places should be limited and significant to the plot for more than forming groups of girls rooting for one boy or the other. But I digress…
The romance in this book is natural and realistic in its presentation. It has become the norm that love needs to be flowery, passionate, and ending in a happily ever after. However, in reality love is quite the opposite and Flanagan has done a better job of capturing the awkward and confusing mass of emotions that exist between a young man and woman who have feelings for each other.
Something that impressed me about the books is the amount of research that I felt the author put into the books. I don’t know much about Middle Ages siege tactics, but I know some and the descriptions Flanagan used seemed to give the descriptions of the battles a realistic quality. Some things were embellished, such as the tactics of one wizard. I don’t know how extensive middle age technology was, but using lenses to project images onto fog or mist seems a little to advanced. But I’m willing to overlook these instances since these are fantasy novels and not historical fiction.
As a series of ten books they only get better as they go. With new and original conflicts created for each book, it is little wonder that the books are as successful as they are. I know I said I would be moving away from fantasy for a while, but I needed to post about these before I forgot. I hope you enjoy them.