Saturday, July 8, 2017

Halt's Peril (Ranger's Apprentice #9) by John Flanagan


*** Warning: This review contains spoilers! ***

This book is like the "Part 2" conclusion to The Kings of Clonmel.

First, there were a number of things I liked in this book. I liked the camaraderie shared by Will, Halt, and Horace, and I even liked the continued references to Halt's aging, which made clear the idea of him passing on the Ranger torch to Will. I also really enjoyed the appearance of Malcolm.

Unfortunately, there were also things that irked me in this book. Some of the descriptions seemed to go on too long, almost like the author was just purposefully trying to stretch out the book. I noticed this most during the scene in which Will and Halt were walking into the Genovesans' ambush. I got impatient thinking, "Yes, okay, I get it! They are slow and careful as they make their way through the forest, they have to stay quiet and out of sight. I get it, already, I get it! Just get on with the story!"

On the opposite end of the spectrum, at one point I was anxiously awaiting an upcoming scene, which ended up being excluded entirely! As Will raced towards Malcolm, I was looking forward to reading about Will's unexpected arrival, and how Malcolm and his band of people would react to seeing Will again. I was disappointed when the book just leap-frogged over that event.

Mostly, I was bothered that people seemed to act out of character. After being told repeatedly that Will had an exceptionally uncanny ability to always shoot his target, it was hard to accept that Will missed the second Genovesan, when it sounded like he should have had a pretty clear shot. Later, when Will and Horace were tracking Tennyson, somehow Horace - always bumbling loudly - was suddenly able to make a decent show of moving quietly, a skill that literally took Will years to develop. Also, Horace is supposed to be the "brawn", happy to leave all the heavy thinking to the Rangers, yet Horace is the one who thought of the clever way of getting the Genovesan to tell the truth about which type of poison he used, Horace was the one who spotted the smoke confirming Tennyson's presence in the caves, and Horace was the one who came up with the idea of Halt impersonating Ferris to discredit Tennyson!

And even Tennyson himself seemed to act out of character. Once they tracked Tennyson to the caves, I just can't believe that Tennyson would not post guards outside the caves, especially since he didn't know for sure where the Genovesan, Will, and Horace were. Sure, he's arrogant, but he didn't manage to take over 5 entire kingdoms, and almost a 6th, by being sloppy.

Overall, I did enjoy the read, I think mostly because I am already a fan of the series and happy to be caught up in the characters and the world in which they live.