Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Last year the cover of The Ranger's Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan pulled me right in and it surprised me by being one of my favorites of 2005. Now, this was the question: did I like it that much because it was genuinely good, or was it because I went into it with no expectations? Here's Book Two: The Burning Bridge, with the answer.
Wait, let me backtrack. I read the first one before I had a blog. Quickly: Will has dreamed of going to battleschool and becoming a knight as he always imagined his father was. When the day finally comes and Will is not chosen, he is devastated. What he doesn't know is that the mysterious Ranger has been watching him for years, thinking he'd make a great spy for the kingdom...
Book Two started off slow. I was rather worried for a while. We reconnected with three of the orphans*, but ignored two of them, which makes me wonder about them a bit as there was opportunity for cameos for each. Oh well, maybe next time. Horace carried a great deal more of this story, and he's really grown since his role as a bully in the last book. Anyway, once Flanagan hits his stride he's off at full speed. We're still battling the Truly Evil & Scary Lord Morgarath, and, as you might guess, this one involves a burning bridge.
I have to say that I read this in one sitting - I couldn't put it down. I stayed up WAY too late. Like 3:30am or something. At one point I had to put the book down for five minutes because I was actually cheering too much to continue reading. Really. Like out loud. "You Rock [Character]!!! You Freakin' Rock!!! That was freakin' awesome!!!" I'm sure it was a sight to behold. I hope I woke my annoying neighbors. Is it wrong that that's the most excited I've been in months? Literally months?
It's so not fair that Australia already has Book 4. If you've missed this series - it's not too late. Start now. You'll thank me for it. For those who care, it's got broad appeal, easily 10+, but in no way unappealing to older teens. Know that there were two "Damns" that I noticed. One felt awkward, the other didn't.
An interview with authorJohn Flanagan. Oh, and Mr. Flanagan? If for some reason you read this? Get yourself a website, eh?
(*note to the reader, I can't actually remember if they were all orphans or just some of them, I'm like 85% sure that it was all of them - but just in case...)