The Ghostfaces (The Brotherband Chronicles) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-04-24 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 137 user ratings

" I enjoyed reading Brotherband The Ghostfaces. John Flanagan has always written his books in a manor that suggested he was there to see and write down these events first hand. He creates worlds where people are so realistic they could be people in the real world. For example "We know that to the east, there's Hibernia, Araluen and then the huge landmass of the continent leading to Aslava and the Steppes. It makes sense to believe that there must be a similar landmass to the west to counter balance it. Otherwise, the world would overbalance and tip off the tortoise's back." (Pg 42, John Flanagan ) Seems to suggest that the people of this world have superstitions just like we do. I also like his descriptions of events and scenes, his fight scenes in particular are something that draws me back time after time. One great quote from this book that shows this is "Lit my the leaping flames of the massive bonfire, augmented by several fires burning among the villagers' huts, the Ghostface Warriors formed a huge dancing circle, leaping and gyrating to the rhythm of the pounding drums. A large cauldron stood in the middle of their dancing circle, just clear of the fire. From time to time, a dancer would stagger to it, dip a drinking gourd into it, throw back his head and pour the contents down his throat. " (pg 284, John Flanagan) Overall I would say it was definitely worth picking up from my local library.
Brother band's The Ghostfaces follows Hal and his crew, consisting of six boys, one girl, and an old, one handed sea raider, with Hal being the skril ( captain ) of the ship, The Heron. On the way back home from a diplomatic mission they get blown off course by a strong storm and end up many miles south. Water running low and no way to get home before it runs out, they head west into the endless ocean. The world of Brotherband takes place in the same world as that of the Ranger's Apprentice, which both take place in an alternate reality of the medieval world. Though this book they find themselves drifting further and further out to sea with no water, a death sentence to any ship. Largely what I've learned from reading this book is that being organized and careful always pays off, as well as how to coop with the grief of losing someone you love.
First off, I would recommend this book to anyone who has read and enjoyed the last books that John Flanagan has written since it holds a lot of the same humor and action I've enjoyed reading it for. Second, anyone who likes action and fighting, literally one of the reasons that I read these books for is the amazing fight scenes that the author describe so well. Mostly I would say that if your in any way interested by this book or any of its predecessors in the series give it a chance.
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" I liked stig's story, but hal's story with the ghostfaces was expected. of course metal is stronger than stone. still it was an enjoyable read. " said.

" Really good story told with the familiar group of characters. Like how this one introduced the "new" growing up feelings of love and loss. Very well done " said.

"Sixth in The Brotherband Chronicles historical action series for middle-grade readers and revolving around a band of young Skandians, brothers-in-arms who sail the seas.

My Take
There's a sense of Leif Eriksson and his Vikings discovering America in this as well as the attitude of the Europeans about that Endless Ocean. Thorn's explanation of how the world is shaped makes as much sense as any of the others, and it does at least make sense for their decision on which direction they should sail.

It's a sweet and sad story with those elements I adore about Johann David Wyss' The Swiss Family Robinson and David Conover's Once Upon an Island with their can-do, make-do attitude. The interaction between the Herons and the Mawags is warm and so very honorable. I did enjoy how surprised the Mawags were by the Herons' battle skills! And they certainly enjoyed Hal's inventive mind!

As usual, Flanagan's characters are distinct and caring. Parents will appreciate the sense of teamwork as well as each acknowledging each others' strengths and weaknesses.

There really isn't much show in The Ghostfaces. Maybe because the trials the Herons undergo would be too much for kids?? Which doesn't really make sense.

That fight between Stig and Simsinnet was pretty funny. Pretty brief as well, lol.

Stig finally experiences total acceptance and love. And family. Love that turns into tragedy that will make you cry. I know I did, even though — and I really, really hate to say this — I wanted it to happen this way. Hal's decision, too, at the end of the story was sad, but the best choice, really.

The Story
It's a cocky impatience that finds the Herons battling a tremendous storm, struggling for home, and being blown off course deep into the Endless Ocean where they encounter unexpected people and unlooked-for battles of all kinds.

The Characters
Hal Mikkelson is the genius inventor and navigator and the skirl of the Heron and her Brotherband. Karina Mikkelswife is Hal's mother.

The Heron is…
…the ship Hal designed and the boys built. Thorn is an old, one-handed Skandian and their battle leader. Stig Olafson is first mate and Hal's best friend; Edvin is their combat medic, cook, er, chef, and relief helmsman; Wolf and Ulf are the bickering twins who trim the sails; Stefan; Jesper has the skills of a thief; and, the very strong but half-blind Ingvar is doing much better with the glasses Hal invented in Scorpion Mountain , 5. Lydia Demarek is the "brother" who joined them in The Invaders , 2. She's got some amazing skills! Kloof is the dog they adopt in Slaves of Socorro , 4.

The Mawagansett are…
…a Native American* tribe led by Mohegas. Pacahan is his wife. His nephews are Tamorat and Hokas. Romanut is the battle leader. Simsinnet is a champion, hotheaded, warrior who is in love with Tecumsa. Minneka and Lahontas are the children whom the Herons save. Millika and Pillika are twins who love teasing Ulf and Wolf; Sagana; Tecumsa is a beautiful woman; and, Bird of the Forest is laid out on a bier.

Orvik Eelcatcher, a.k.a., Man Who Swims, was shipwrecked twelve years ago when a storm caught Arnulf Sharkfighter's Wolf Foot . He ticks off the Herons!

The Imsinnis skassak the Ghostfaces, are…
…a brutal warrior tribe of Native Americans from the north. Holds a Black Lance is their leader with Crusher of Heads his second-in-command.

Hallasholm, Skandia, is…
…home to Hal and the Brotherband. Erak is their Oberjarl. Svengal is his best friend.

* Flanagan is careful to note that he avoided using terms such as Native American so as to not give offense. My using these terms are my own choice.

The Cover and Title
The cover is a mix of deep browns on the sides and bottom and the yellowish-greens of the forest illuminated by the light which two men bearing weapons, an iron sword and a flint ax, approach. The title and series information are excellent examples of terrible choices for contrast. The companion series information is in white at the top with this series information below it in an embossed dark gold under which is a much smaller title in a deep red. The author's name is at the bottom in a black-outlined brighter gold.

The title is the enemy, The Ghostfaces, who destroy.
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" OMG! I thought it ended with the last one and I was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! BUT THE BROTHERBAND CONTINUES!!!!!! Hopefully there will be some Rangers in this one too... " said.

" Wow, what a story. I found less humour in this story than some of the previous Brotherband books, but it was replaced with something else... A must read book... " said.

" Great plot. Pretty similar to the rest of the series, but great plot. " said.

" All the books in this series deserve five stars. Love them! " said.

June 2017 New Book:

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