“Ranger’s Apprentice: The Burning Bridge” (book two) by John Flanagan (2005)
In July last year I read (and blogged about – see Book 22, 2012) the first book in this series. It has, as it so often does, taken me much longer than I expected to return to the series and read book two. Not long after I read book one, my colleague, Alice, lent me books two – eight, which was awesome, but it has taken me another twelve months to actually get around to reading this one.
Like the first book, this is a formulaic and simple narrative. However, the characters are appealing and it was hard to put the book down. I was explaining it to Damian last weekend and he coined the term ‘fantasy lite’ for the series. I’m comfortable with that for sure, since I’m really and truly certain I’m never going to love ‘fantasy full-fat’.
In this book, the Ranger’s apprentice, Will, has to step up and make some tough decisions on his own, and he has the safety of an escaped lady’s maid (or is she) and a knight’s apprentice in his hands as well. This book has all of the elements I require in a book. Well developed characters, well described landscape, action and adventure and … oh … usually I require a satisfying ending … but this book leaves me anxious to move on to book 3, as, although there is a very pleasing victory, Will is far from home safe at the end of the book.
As I suggested a year ago, this series would make an excellent gift for pre-teen readers, and I know of one year 7 student at my school in particular who is waiting patiently for me to ‘catch up’ and talk all things Ranger’s Apprentice with him.