Probably the only review I am going to post here today.
Will is an orphan ward of Castle Redmont. Having failed to get assigned to a craftmaster initially, he is soon matched to Halt, a King’s Ranger and becomes his apprentice, learning the arts of archery, knife throwing and silent movement. His training is soon interrupted when rumours of an old enemy of the Kingdom is readying itself for war and has sent out assassin’s to kill those who caused him trouble in the past…
I re-read this in a day and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also found myself smiling as I managed to read into and see the things I had struggled or failed to do so when I first read it aged 14. I did not discuss this when I reviewed Ranger’s Apprentice 11 but I found myself admiring the level of research Flanagan must have had to do into Britain and Europe to get the medieval details correct and to be able to changed the information to a certain degree for his AU version of Britain called Araluen.
I also loved that he included a bullying storyline and showed the effects bullying to can have on any person. There was also the friendships that made me smile, whether it was the one between Will and Gilan, Halt’s former pupil, Will meeting Tug and becoming very attached to him very quickly or the rivalry turning to respect between Will and Horace.
The fighting sequences are well paced out and choreographed and the story in general kept me entertained and drew me in. I found myself struggling to put the book down, I enjoyed it that much. The writing is also witty and found myself giggling happily at it.
The only thing I think I can criticise is the fact the story did get a little slow in places and then pick up and have the majority of it towards the ending, making it a little unbalanced but not to the point that it was hard to read.
This book is fun and would definitely be the ideal book to give to boys to get them into reading (indeed, the book originated from short stories Flanagan wrote to get his own son into reading). That is not to say that girls would not read it and is definitely the sort of book that I think would be at home on 10+ year old child’s bookshelf.