BOOK REVIEWS

Duel at Araluen (Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-09-12 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:1524741418
LANGUAGE:English

" This book strikes all the right chords and mingles all the right elements. The tension was worked expertly, a fine testament to Flanagan’s skill and experience. The siege is full of give and take. I revelled in the villain’s failures and shuddered at his successes, fearing that at any time he’d satisfy his thirst for blood.

I loved trying to guess what was going to happen and then having that guess completely thwarted. It’s not always a matter of what happens, but rather when and how it’ll happen.

This book also wins my personal award for strong leading ladies. These women are fighters and heroes whose grit and steely resolve will astound and delight you. It encourages feminine strength without pandering ridiculously hard to the female demographic. They’re strong, yes, but natural and succeed by the merits rather than their gender.

Another feature I liked was the crossover that so many fellow fans were excited about. Characters in Brotherband were going to be in the book and they were included in a well balanced-way. There was never a feeling of the two worlds clashing or one taking over the other. They played crucial roles in the ensuing battles and bashing and altogether they made a terrific team!
" said.

"As I suspected, book 2 of this series (The Red Fox Clan) was just a "lead up" to the events of this book. I managed to read the whole book in one day, it was that jam-packed with action and I had to know what happened next.

Duncan and Cassandra are trapped in the south tower of the castle, trying to hold off attacks from Dimon, who plans to kill both of them (and anyone else that stands in his way) in order to take the throne for himself.

Horace and Gilan are still holed up in the hill fort in the north, surrounded by Red Foxes. With no way out all they can do is wait for the Foxes next attack and hope that their archers can make a dent in the attackers numbers.

Maddie is the only one that knows of Dimon's treasonous plans and can actually do something about it. But she cant do it alone. She sets out to find the Skandians, to convince them to join her. All they need to do is find the hill fort, break her father and his men out, defeat the Red Foxes, make it back to Castle Araluen, break into the premises, fight Dimon's men, defeated Dimon himself and free the king. How hard can it be?

This book is no less than what I would expect from Flanagan. Plots against the crown, well thought out attacks, full on battle scenes and some well timed comedy.
" said.

"As with all the volumes in the Ranger's Apprentice Series, "Duel at Araluen" is a "coming of age" story. Interestingly, Apprentice-ranger Maddie is the next generation -- all the adults who are closest to her were the youthful apprentices and rebellious royal teens in the first 9 books.

"Duel at Araluen" is actually the continuation of the previous novel, "The Red Fox Clan", which is book 2 in the "Royal Ranger" sub-series. Book 3 makes no sense except as a follow-up to book 2. Author John Flanagan did something similar in the "Ranger's Apprentice Series," as well as in the "Brotherband" series. Judging by the popularity of these books, Flanagan's readers are not put off by the long wait between publications.

Delightful is the mixing of characters from all three series: Gilan, Horace and Cassandra from the Ranger series; Hal, Thorn, Stig and their crew of Herons from Brotherhood, with Maddie from Royal. Whereas in the former two series, the youthful characters with principal parts have other young people as peers, the Royal Ranger series seems to have only Maddie as a youthful protagonist. As a result, we see her develop her skills as a tracker and fighter, and her obedience to the direction of her expert elders and mentors, but we don't see her develop many social skills. This makes Maddie more of an individualist as she is socialized only by strong adults and not by peers. Hopefully in future she will develop some peer relationships and friendships with members of her own generation.

That being said, Maddie does develop a taste for coffee, preferably with honey as a sweetener.
" said.

"Flanagan strikes back.

I absolutely loved this book!!! Flanagan has truly created another master piece with The Royal Ranger series. One of the things that I like most about his 3rd series is that he has created a believable female character, which appears to be hard for many other authors. Yes yes, he has created Cassandra and Alyss and I love them both very much, but they were not main characters, therefore Flanagan never really got the chance to develop them as much as I would have liked. With Maddie though, he has developed her into a very believable, strong heroine and I have loved every second of the journey thus far!

Instead of giving her abilities that would be impossible for a girl of her weight and size, Flanagan carefully goes over how she gains her abilities to do what she can do in the first book and continues to develop both her skills and character in the books that came after. In this book, Maddie teams up with the Heron Brotherband (Which I have been waiting for for a LONG time) to help rescue both her father and her mother, both of which are trapped in seperate places, unaware of each others predicaments. Unlike the two preceding books, the POV does not stay with Maddie as much (which would be regrettable if he had downplayed her importance, but he didn't) instead, it switches between Maddie, Cassandra, the traitor Dimon (like, twice), Horace, the man who commanded the red fox clan that ambushed Horace (also like twice), and Hal. Overall, it was VERY fascinating, and the ending had me smiling so much that my jaw started hurting. I love the Rangers Apprentice, and Flanagan continues to prove that his books are worth all the love.
" said.

"An adventurous story with great characters! I liked that Horace and Gilan had more dialogue and interactions in this one—The previous book hardly included any of their friendly sarcasm, so I was happy to have them back to their usual selves in this book. I also loved the thorough inclusion of the Heron Brotherband—complete with their usual bantering, jesting, and Thorn’s teaching them valuable lessons. And of course, “Let’s get ‘em!” ... I’m curious to read the next Brotherband book to see what’s going on with Lydia... More about this book: I’m glad Maikuru was avenged. I am also glad that Duncan is on the mend... I am glad Will at least made an appearance at the end of this book, and that he was happy again. I smiled when I read about Halt throwing people into a duck pond. I miss Will and Halt. I know the torch is being passed to Maddie, and I like her, but it’s still a hard adjustment to not have Halt and Will center stage with the rest of the crew. I would at least like to see them in the stories a little more. For example: Will had Halt with him a lot of the time even after he was a Silver Leaf, so Will should be able to be in the stories more with Maddie. And even though Halt is now a Gold Leaf, Redmont is near the cabin, so he should still be able to make appearances, even if it is just Maddie and Will briefly visiting him to ask his advice on something Ranger-related... I would also like to see Maddie make a close friend or two that are her age the way Will had Horace et al. to count on... Overall I enjoyed the book: Adventure and likable characters, fun dialogue and humor, suspense, justice, mercy, honor, and the triumph of good." said.

" The best part was the end. Maybe I'm getting too old for this series, but it seems like the writing style is beginning to get more and more jarring with every paragraph. It doesn't flow like I feel like it used to. " said.

"This is a series I grew up with and, as such, holds a special place in my reading journey. Flanagan's newest foray into his medieval world - 'Duel at Araluen' - is a continuation of the previous installment of the Royal Ranger series. This book is brimming with characters developed over 15 years and Flanagan's intimate knowledge of each one balances this book in a way which seems impossible, considering its use not only of Ranger's Apprentice characters but also the entire crew of the Heron (from his spin-off Brotherband series), all while giving Maddie - the titular Royal Ranger - room to breathe and grow in her apprenticeship to Will. This new series is shaping up to be as great as the original.
" said.

" This book is ridiculous, like most his books, but I don't really care that much. " said.

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