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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Sorcerer of the North (Ranger's Apprentice #5) by John Flanagan

Several years have passed since the apprentice and his master, Will and Halt, first met, and Will is finally a full-fledged Ranger with his own fief to look after. The fief seems sleepy--boring, even--until Lord Syron, master of a castle far in the north, is struck down by a mysterious illness. Joined by his friend Alyss, Will is suddenly thrown headfirst into an extraordinary adventure, investigating fears of sorcery and trying to determine who is loyal to Lord Syron. As Will battles growing hysteria, traitors, and most of all, time, Alyss is taken hostage, and Will is forced to make a desperate choice between his mission and his friend.

Perfect for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series, and George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Released: November 4th 2008          Pages: 295
Publisher: Puffin Books                   Source: Library

First of all, we need to talk about that last paragraph in the blurb.  The part about the recommendations.  Let's not compare Ranger's Apprentice to aSoIaF.  Yes, they have many similarities, but there's one major issue with this recommendation.  I would give a Ranger's Apprentice book to a twelve-year-old (maybe younger, even), providing they could read at that level.  I wouldn't give aSoIaF to twelve-year old.  Nope, nope, nope.  I could never have that on my conscience.  Seriously...there are a few things in aSoIaF that even I wish I'd never read about.*  And I'm seventeen. 
Moving on.  For me, this series has been and continues to be something I'm staying with for the long haul.  Each book has its own faults, and the series seemed to be going downhill with books two and three, but it seems to be going back up.  The Sorcerer of the North is probably my favorite thus far. 

I love the developing relationships between various characters.  I haven't decided yet whether I like the Will/Alyss romance.  (Fine.  I was shipping him with Cassandra.  Oh, come on, I can't be the only one.)  I love the dynamic between Will and Halt--their camaraderie, their constant testing of one another. 

Will continues to be the lovable sort of idiot Eragon is.  Both characters are sharp, intelligent people, but are sometimes so thickheaded they can't see the obvious truths right in front of them.  And yet, both are still likable.  Will makes an adorable traveling musician, for some reason.

My one question: where is Gilan?  Gilan established himself as one of my favorite characters from this series right from the start, and I haven't seen him in a few books. 

By the way, I feel like this book should come with a warning.  HALF A BOOK ALERT.  The end of this book is a cliffhanger, so the next book is just a continuation of this same storyline.  And I want to know what happens! 

Overall, I enjoyed this more than any other book in the series so far.  The characters and their relationships are constantly developing and growing.  The cliffhanger at the end makes me need the next book right now.

Similar Books: It's for an older audience than Rowan of Rin, but a younger audience than Eragon or A Game of Thrones, though they all share many common elements.  It's much less complex and intense than the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  It also reminds me a little of the Darkest Age trilogy.
*(spoilers) That one scene in A Storm of Swords, where Jaime and Cersei are...on a religious full view of the corpse of their son...I kind of want to forget that.  I kind of just want to forget every scene that involves Jaime and Cersei.
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