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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 1 April 2017
I've really enjoyed reading the series of books, would happily read other books by this author.
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John Flanagan spent ten books crafting the stories of the Rangers Will and Halt, young knight Horace, and their many friends and allies. And in "Ranger's Apprentice: The Lost Stories," he explores some of the stories hinted at but never really explored before -- stories that illuminate the characters' pasts, small-scale adventures, and a few romantic climaxes as well.

The story is framed by a little story that takes place in the present day. Archaeologist Giles McFarlane and his assistants are excavating the remains of Castle Redmont, when one of them finds the ruins of a Ranger's cabin -- and a parchment manuscript filled with long-lost tales.

Among the stories are tales of Will Treaty and Halt. Will must write a flowery speech while battling shipwreckers, track down his abducted dog Ebony, and struggles with the inevitable when Tug is badly wounded during a mission. Additionally, he must unravel a conspiracy of murder and treachery in the days leading up to Horace and Evanlyn's wedding -- with dire consequences if he fails.

Additionally, Gilan gets a couple of stories. First, a bunch of thieves take Jenny hostage on the very day that she's expecting Gilan for a romantic dinner (awww!). And during Will's captivity in Skandia, he investigates an equally malevolent ally of Morgarath's named Foldar (brother of File?) who is busy establishing a foothold in a corrupt barony.

And there are stories that illuminate the characters' pasts. "Death of a Hero" explores how Halt met Will's father twenty-ish years ago, and how both his parents died. And "The Hibernian" studies Halt's entry into the Ranger Corps and his first meeting with Crowley, during a dark period for the Rangers.

If the Ranger's Apprentice series was an elaborate mural, "The Lost Stories" is John Flanagan painting in the little details and missed spots. And these aren't just the stories Flanagan wanted to tell -- a number of them seem to be in response to requests from or points made by various fans, such as people wanting to know what Gilan was doing during Halt's exile.

And you can tell how much he loves these characters, from the primary characters to the minor ones like Jenny or Crowley -- even the animals are given stories that flesh them out further, and allow them moments to shine. The only flaw is a notable lack of Horace -- even Alyss gets more time than he does.

Flanagan's prose is lean, action-packed and full of fun cameos by beloved characters (Erak, Gilan, Shigeru, Crowley). He can flip effortlessly between gritty knife-swinging action, bittersweetness (the story about Tug), and comedy that seems to flow effortlessly ("For years, people will say, Remember that speech Will gave that nobody could understand?").

"Ranger's Apprentice: The Lost Stories" fills in some intriguing gaps in the Ranger's Apprentice universe, and caps off many of the characters' arcs. Bad place to start for newbies, but an excellent addition to the series.
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As a huge fan of the series I was sad to see the end of it although this final gem from author John Flanagan takes the reader on a few additional short story adventures to help fill in some gaps within the series history. It's cleverly done and if you'll forgive the pun, ranges across the many years of the series.

Add to this some wonderful additions that not only flesh out the world but the characters and the reader is in for a real treat on their final excursion for the moment. If you've got into John's writing, look out for November and his new series Brotherband, which centres around the Skandians. Cracking.
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on 30 September 2012
The Rangers series is a great collection of books. Aimed for the YA section, I am a thirty year old who has really enjoyed this fantasy series when I am wanting a break from all the violence and sex from the authors of adult series in this genre. The characters are defined and explored and grow throughout the ten novels. Book 11: the lost stories, is a collection of smaller stories that didn't have enough potential to make it as a stand-alone book. Some of the stories go back to previous books to explore a character's sub plot when the main story focus was on other characters. As a whole, this book is good. Not as good as a stand-alone novel of this series, but it does fill in some blanks and any fan of this series should get it. For those of you who are not fans, you will not miss anything by not reading this book.
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on 18 January 2014
I know this whole series of books is really written for children, but they are so well written and with great characters that even at my age over forty I find it hard to put them down and return to them often to read them all again. This book is great because it gives answers to some of the things I wondered about while reading the previous books and has made me look forward reading the whole series again this year. The only downside to this series of books is that their aren't more of them, they would also I think make great films.
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on 21 March 2014
I've read all books from the "Ranger Apprentice" series and I've always love them. This book is great in terms of fill in's for several characters. Despite being rated and as juvenile book, as an adult, I really enjoy both the stories and the writing style.
If you like this series, than this is a must have, if you never read it, start from the beginning, if you don't like... well, it's impossible to be liked by everyone.
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on 3 July 2013
I have read all the books in the series, and I think that this book is one of the best! I would recommend it to everyone, who has read the series. It is an amazing book in which John Flanagan displays his writing skills at their very best. Can't wait for the new book to be published!!
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on 26 December 2014
The time spent on these short stories would have been better spent writing a full novel. They are pleasant well written excerpts from our heroes lives but not what we want!
Overall dis jointed with feel of trying to shoehorn in scraps of edited storie lines
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on 25 May 2016
My only problem reading this was ... I couldn't help keep thinking it must be the last of the series and what on earth could I read then ... Hooray for the Royal Ranger book coming next ... Cheered me up no end. Job well done, Mr Flanagan.
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on 27 December 2013
This book was great and did exactly as it said, short stories answering lots of questions you often wondered about in the main story. A brilliant summary, was sad to finish it but excited there is now a new book to follow !!
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