The Ranger’s Apprentice: Sorcerer of the North, by John Flanagan

April 14, 2017

Review by Reid Dye

It has been several years since Will and his friends led the Skandians into war against the invading Temujai army, and now he is a fully trained Ranger with his own fief to look after.  The fief has him bored, as it seems sleepy and not much happens there. That is, until Lord Syron, master of a castle in the north, falls victim to a mysterious illness.  Halt and Crowley send him and his friend Alyss on an extraordinary, mind-bending adventure where magic and reality compete to be real.  Will must find who is loyal to Lord Syron, and who might be planning to betray him.  And as if the mysterious illness was not enough, there have been strange sightings in a nearby forest. Will and Alyss must battle confusion, traitors, and time as they work to save the fief and country from what the locals think to be a mysterious sorcerer – or something else.  But when Alyss is taken captive, Will must choose between his loyalty to his friend, and his loyalty to his mission, when he knows both must be done.

Throughout this battle between magic and reality, and between loyalty and traitors, we can clearly see that the two most outstanding parts of this book are making the characters change throughout the book, and the use of dialogue.  First of all, like most of the other books in this series, the characters are very dynamic and change a lot, making the story much more interesting.  For example, in the beginning of the book, Will is sort of bored and has lots of control over what happens in his fief.  But by the middle end, the events in the story drive him this way and that, and he is not a person of great importance (to most of the other characters).  Another thing that this book is really good at is using the perfect amount of dialogue.  So if there is a long section where will is by himself, with nobody to talk to, the author will make him talk to himself, or to an animal nearby.  Also, if there is a long conversation, the author will try to take a break from the dialogue, and have will describe the scene with his thoughts, or something like that.  Overall, I think that this book definitely earned its full five stars, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes any type of fantasy, or books set in medieval times.


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