January 20, 2010

Erak's Ransom

By John Flanagan
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

This is book 7 in the Ranger's Apprentice series, which happily shows no signs of flagging. Flanagan actually takes us a bit back in time before the events that occur in books 5 and 6. In this story, Will is ready to graduate into the Ranger Corps, but has not quite yet. In preparation for losing his longtime apprentice, Halt is finally getting married to Lady Pauline but the celebration is interrupted by the arrival of the Skandian Svengal with the news that the Oberjarl Erak has been captured by the Arridi and they are asking a ransom. Erak suspects foul play from some Skandians looking to overthrow him, so Svengal is asking for help from the Araluens instead of heading back to Skandia so as to not show weakness. Soon enough, Will, Halt, Gilan, Horace and Princess Cassandra are on their way to the desert continent to ransom Erak. But as ever, the plans do not run smoothly and soon the gang find they must band together with both the Arridi and the Bedullin to rescue Erak when he falls into even more devious hands. As usual, fans of the series will enjoy our well known characters and welcome meeting more. The plotting is solid and we all look forward to further adventures with Will Treaty and his friends.

January 05, 2010


By Angie Sage
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

This is book 5 in the Septimus Heap series. Readers will be much better off having read the previous volumes to follow this story. We pick up where book 4 left off, where Nicko and Snorri have been saved from living out of time. Nicko, Snorri, Jenna and Beetle all run into Jenna's dad Milo in Port, where he offers them hospitality upon his gorgeous ship, the Cerys. He is also excited because he has procured a chest full of what looks like little lead tubes to Jenna, but he says is something of immense wealth and importance. Meanwhile, Septimus rides his dragon Spit Fyre to get his friends and bring them back to the Castle, but Nicko and Snorri decide to sail back on the Cerys. When a huge storm hits the dragon and his riders, they crash onto an island and must remain there while Spit Fyre heals. And on this island, Septimus meets Syrah, a former ExtraOrdinary Wizard Apprentice herself who is possessed by a Syren. Syrah warns that some horrible danger to the Castle is afoot, with the Syren being part of the trouble. Soon we discover the treasure on the Cerys, a giant catlike lighthouse, some pirates, the ghost of Tertius Fume and the Syren are all part of a giant plot to take over the Wizard Tower and Castle. Can Septimus and the gang stop the terrible plan? There are more side plots and characters than could ever be counted in a review, and fans will be pleased to encounter the other storylines and people that they love. A solid entry in a solidly entertaining fantasy series.