Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review - Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, Book 7) by John Flanagan (4/5 stars)

Reading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 384 pages 
Publisher:   Puffin 
Release Date: September 6, 2011
ISBN:  978-0142415252  
Stand Alone or Series: 7th book in the Ranger's Apprentice series
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the seventh book in the ten book Ranger's Apprentice series.  Like all of the previous books, this book was a solid middle grade fantasy book.  Nothing epic happens but the story is well-put together, features great characters that are very heroic, and has just enough humor to keep things light.

This book goes back in time from the Seige of Macindaw.  This is the right before Will was given his Silver Oak Leaf and made a full Ranger.  Will is concerned about his upcoming test for full Ranger status.  Halt is getting married and is concerned about loosing his apprentice Will.  All of the characters' concerns must be set aside when they are given the task of accompanying the Princess to neighboring lands to ransom Erak, the Skandian Oberjarl whom Will and crew befriended.

It was interesting to read some filler about the time in between The Battle for Skandia and The Sorcerer from the North.  I was a little irritated that Flanagan couldn't have provided this story in the correct order, but I like things don't let that prevent you from reading this book.

Like all of these books the story is pretty straight-forward and an easy read.  There is enough humor throughout to keep things light and make you laugh a bit.  If you are up to book seven you already know that all of these characters are likable, admirable, yet very human.  They all make some mistakes but through a combination of heroic action, luck, and smart-thinking they are able to pull through.

It was interesting to watch these characters in a completely different climate.  Watching the Rangers navigate through desert sands and suffer through sandstorms was interesting.  In fact Will's almost fatal mistake is caused because of his unfamiliarity with his surroundings.

The plot doesn't go much outside the main goal of rescuing Erak.  Will and Halt both learn things about themselves along the way and become better people for it.  I did like having Princess Cassandra (Evelyn) along; she has a lot of fire to her character and was a lot of fun to read about.

Overall another great addition to this well-written and very solid fantasy series.  These books aren't all that creative and the storyline isn't epic; but they are great adventurous fantasy reads about characters going about their duties in a heroic and admirable way.  Definitely great for younger readers, I think even adults who are fantasy fans will be enchanted by the solid writing, the human-like characters, the humor, and the well thought-out world.  Recommended for fans of fantasy adventure reads.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges: 
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge 
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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