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Exciting adventure, but nothing special
on 11 February 2012
As this is a YA book, I gave it to my 15 year old daughter to read. This is what she says ...
In Skandia boys are trained in brotherbands. These are made in the time tested tradition of picking the team leaders (skirls) who then take it in turns to pick who they want from the group, each trying to make sure he doesn't get the fat one. But in the year of Hal's brotherband training only two skirls are nominated when they have enough boys for three teams. The stereotypical, mildly sadistic PE teacher (or trainer in this case) decides that he will let the two skirls take their pick of the boys and those remaining can form another team. So this means that Hal, an outcast half Araluen, different from Skandias and his best and only friend Stig are stuck in a team of the boys that no-one wanted. It gets worse for Hal when they decide he should be their skirl, but as the weeks of training and tests progress he finds that he is a born leader, and the team that nobody believed had a chance is in the running to win, even if it's not a sure thing.
I just thought I better mention that I haven't read The Rangers Apprentice, so this review has nothing to do with that series. This is a good book if you want action, and adventure, but not exactly great literature, and in my opinion books like the 'Thieftakers Apprentice' by Stephan Deas or 'The Spooks Apprentice' by Joseph Delaney (I know, so many apprentices!) by Joseph Dealany are much better written and have far more complexity of plot. However this book is still good in terms of giving the reader an exciting read, definitely a teenage boy book.
What spoiled it for me was the ending, which set it up for the rest of the trilogy. It almost felt as if it was just stuck on so that more books could be written when it would have been a perfectly good book without it. I doubt that I will bother reading the rest of the trilogy.