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Ranger's Apprentice, Book 5: The Sorcerer of The North

Review

Ranger's Apprentice, Book 5: The Sorcerer of The North

After years of hard work, dedication and immense danger, Will Treaty has finished his apprenticeship. He is now a full-fledged Ranger, protector of the kingdom. His first assignment lands him in the Fife of Seacliff, supposedly a relatively uneventful place, suitable for a first post. Nevertheless, Will seems to find excitement almost immediately. On his journey to his new post, he discovers a dying dog who was intentionally struck down with a sword. He patches her up and takes her with him.

Arriving at his new post, Will finds that the defenses of the fife have deteriorated immensely. Even though life in the Fife of Seacliff is relaxed almost to the point of being boring, Will knows that is no excuse to have allowed the defenses to weaken and fall out of shape. What would happen in the unlikely event of being attacked? And then that very unlikely event suddenly becomes likely when Skandian raiders land on their shores looking for a fight. Will's hard-earned skills from the past years are put to the test in his first major task as a Ranger.

Soon after, an old friend comes to visit. Will welcomes Alyss to his new home, eager to catch up and spend time with her. However, her arrival isn't just for a friendly chat; she is a Courier now and has come to deliver a special assignment for Will. There is trouble in one of the northern fifes, and the current Ranger there is having trouble uncovering information. The commander of Castle Macindaw has been struck down with a mysterious illness. No one has been able to help, and he is fading fast. And rumor has it that a sorcerer is the culprit. Villagers speak of strange lights and sounds in the forest, and fear is spreading fast. So Will's assignment is to go undercover as a traveling musician in order to talk with the local people and investigate the rumors. But he has no idea what he is in for, what to expect, or who to trust. He'll have to rely on his training and his wits to keep him alive.

John Flanagan is the amazing, bestselling author of the Ranger's Apprentice series. The excitement in this book never dies; Flanagan has something happening on every page, all adding to the clever plot. He writes with a classy and genteel style that mirrors the very spirit of the Rangers themselves. Yet the words and sentences flow with ease, never tripping the reader up with unnecessary obstacles. Flanagan also writes his action scenes with such intricate details that really bring them to life, such as Will aiming and shooting his bow or scaling the castle wall for a rescue. His colorful characters all complement each other, and he even plants words of wisdom throughout the pages, such as "It's a lot easier to heal an injured body than a damaged soul."

Overall, THE SORCERER OF THE NORTH is an exciting, action-packed story that doesn't end with the last page, as Flanagan leaves readers with a cliffhanger. If you haven't read the first four Ranger's Apprentice books, no problem; this installment can stand alone. A warning though: you will probably get hooked and want to read the rest of the series right away.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on June 25, 2009

Ranger's Apprentice, Book 5: The Sorcerer of The North
by John Flanagan

  • Publication Date: June 25, 2009
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin
  • ISBN-10: 0142414298
  • ISBN-13: 9780142414293