All the Ranger's Apprentice books are excellent. There are brilliant plot twists, real depth and development to the characters, both male and female characters are strong and well drawn and there is good witty humour between them. They are not really dark and the books have good endings but they are not "twee" for all that. Some books, like this one, are part one of a two part story. This one concludes with book 6 The Siege of Mackindaw but that is brilliant too. Hey I've bought them all ... enough said?