The Royal Ranger Review

May 10, 2014 Reviews 0

The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan
Series: Ranger's Apprentice #12
Published by Philomel on 11-5-2013
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: Audiobook
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After a senseless tragedy destroys his life, Will is obsessed with punishing those responsible - even if it means leaving the Ranger Corps. His worried friends must find a way to stop him taking such a dark path.

It is Halt who suggests the solution: Will must take an apprentice. The candidate Halt has in mind surprises everyone - and it's a request Will cannot refuse.

Training a rebellious, unwilling apprentice is hard enough. But when a routine mission uncovers a shocking web of crime, Will must decide where his priorities lie - finishing his quest for revenge, or saving innocent lives?

John Flanagan makes a spectacular return to the world of Ranger's Apprentice - but what has happened since you last saw Will and his friends might shock you!

I listened to the Audible version of the Royal Ranger, the 12th book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. First off, a quick note about the narrator. He is a very skilled narrator, and one with a British accent which went perfectly with this novel. The only downside was he occasionally misspoke a voice (reading a male with a female voice, etc.) but this was extremely rare.

Having read the entire series, I looked forwarded to hearing this one. I was not disappointed as this book has all the charm, polish, and adventure of the previous novels. In this one, Will Treaty is in a bad state after his wife was killed. Seeking revenge, Will shuns his Ranger duties in lieu of tracking down the criminals responsible. Meanwhile, all of Will’s friends look for a way to help save him. They decide to make princess Madeline an apprentice to Will. And from there, the story takes off.

There isn’t a slow point in the novel and as we follow Maddy’s apprenticeship, I was reminded of the first few books where Will shadowed Halt. I loved seeing the progression of this relationship, the growth of Maddy (and Will), and the adventure they both set out together on.

While I really loved this book, there were a few minor issues that took me out of the immersion. First, the horses never seem to sleep…they keep watch at night and yet plod along during the day. Secondly, at one point Maddy leaves a group of children in a cave for a few days without any mention of where they would get food or water (it was mentioned specifically that they had run out during the journey). And lastly, all of these children had been abused yet in the end it seemed to imply they were returned to their homes. I would have preferred to see something mentioned about perhaps they being taken in as wards in Araluen. One was a born leader but no mention of him being offered an apprenticeship as a knight or ranger.

I’m not sure what the author’s future plans for this series are. I would love to see more of Maddy and her adventures, but who knows if there will be another book. In the meantime, I am looking forward to reading the next Brotherband book and I will be remembering how much I enjoyed this one, and how much I miss this series. Another new favorite for me.

About John Flanagan

John Flanagan grew up in Sydney, Australia hoping to be a writer. It wasn’t until he wrote a highly uncomplimentary poem about a senior executive at the agency where he worked, however, that his talent was revealed. It turned out one of the company directors agreed with John’s assessment of the executive, and happily agreed to train John in copywriting.

After writing advertising copy for the next two decades, John teamed with an old friend to develop a television sitcom, Hey Dad!, which went on to air for eight years.

John Flanagan’s bestselling Ranger’s Apprentice adventure series originally comprised twenty short stories, which John wrote to encourage his twelve-year-old son, Michael, to enjoy reading. Michael was a small boy, and all his friends were bigger and stronger than he was. John wanted to show him that reading was fun, and heroes weren’t necessarily big and muscular. Now in his mid-twenties, Michael is six feet tall, broad-shouldered and powerful – but he still loves The Ranger’s Apprentice.

The series has come a long way since then. Now sold to eighteen countries, the series has appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers List and is regularly shortlisted in children’s book awards in Australia and overseas.

John lives with his wife, Leonie, in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly. He is currently writing further titles in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. In addition to their son, they have two grown daughters and four grandsons.

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