Friday, July 27, 2012

Review - The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 10) by John Flanagan (4/5 stars)

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 438 pages
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: April 19, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0399255007
Stand Alone or Series: 10th book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the tenth (and final) book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. As with previous books in the series it is a solid fantasy for middle grade/YA reading level; although the characters are getting a bit old for this to be a middle grade series still. As with previous books there is nothing super creative here, but it is still well written.

Horace is in Nihon-Ja (a very Japan-like nation) to learn fighting techniques. When the Emperor there is overthrown Horace ends up embroiled in the fight to save the Empire. When the Princess brings word to Alyss, Will, and Halt that Horace has disappeared they enroll Skandian help to journey across the sea to find Horace and bring him home. Little do they know that size of the conflict Horace is involved in is much bigger than they had thought.

We get to spend time with all of our favorite characters. They are pretty much all here and they all play a big role in the story. Halt takes a backseat to Will and Horace in this story. Like normal Will comes up with a crazy idea to solve everyone’s problems. The Emperor of Nihon-Ja was a delightful character; he was wise and funny and very admirable in the way he handled things throughout the novel.

This book featured the female characters more than previous books. Alyss and the Princess (going by Evelyn) end up having a separate quest from the boys and it was fun to read more about them and watch them work together. I enjoyed that they played a larger role in the story.

The plot is incredibly predictable. Pretty much Will and crew see a fighting style in the beginning of the book, then they run into all of the peasants in Nihon-Ja...and from there you know what is going to happen. There are no twists and turns, you can predict the story from beginning to end. As with previous books this isn’t a very creative story.

It also bothered me a bit how old the characters are now. There is a lot of talk about getting engaged and married etc. It was kind of weird and made this book a bit more young adult than previous books.

The story is very well written and easy to read. I continued to enjoy the banter between the characters and the humor.

Overall a good installment in this series. I loved that Alyss and Evelyn play a larger role in this book. I also enjoyed the Emperor of Nihon-Ja; he was a wonderful character and added a lot to the story. The book is very well written, has great humor throughout, and is a solid fantasy. The plot in this book is incredibly predictable, even more so than previous book. As with previous books this wasn’t a very creative book. I’d recommend to those who are interested in a well-written straight historical fantasy read, the book is most appropriate for middle grade and older

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

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