Adventure

Book Review: The Battle for Skandia

The Battle for Skandia
Author: 
Flanagan, John
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Continuing off from the Icebound Land, Will and Evanlyn were still captured by slaves. Will, addicted to a warmweed, has no personal thoughts, and the only thing he can think of is working without complaining. Working in the Skandian city, Halt discovers that the Temujain city is attacking Skandia and the Kingdom of Araluen.

The Battle for Skandia takes a different approach from the constant fight for Araluen. It brings in a variety of other characters that keeps the interest and universe of Ranger's Apprentice.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: The Icebound Land

The Icebound Land
Author: 
Flanagan, John
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Icebound Land is a direct continuation from The Burning Bridge. It starts as Will and his new partner, Evanlyn, do whatever they can to survive as they are captured as slaves under Lord Morgarath. Whilst this happens, Halt defies his King and the Ranger Corps to save Will. Joined by Horace, the two continue across to do whatever they can to help Will and Evanlyn to safety.

The Icebound Land is an extremely enjoyable story, bringing a different perspective on the characters. It has a development arc for Halt, as he is seemed to be attached to Will as a father figure. Will is demonstrated to not be a perfect hero/protagonist, as he is still undergoing his training.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: The Burning Bridge

The Burning Bridge
Author: 
Flanagan, John
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The second installment of Ranger's Apprentice, The Burning Bridge continues the story of the young Ranger, Will and his master, Halt. In the everlasting Kingdom of Araluen, the people are safe from the enemies of Morgarath.
However, Will, Halt, and their companion, Horace, is sent to the neighboring city of Celtica to uncover disturbing truths that have passed by, and ongoing to the Kingdom of Araluen.

The Burning Bridge is a step-up from the previous book, The Ruins of Gorlan.
The Burning Bridge offers more to the story, with a deeper dive into the characters and their reactions. The story continues to move on, allowing for the characters to have a relative and in-depth behavior.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: Tiger Queen

Book Review: Tiger Queen
Author: 
Sullivan, Annie
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

When I saw that there was a retelling of Frank Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger”, I got excited. I remember reading and loving that story in school, but I wondered how such a short tale could be retold. Stockton’s story serves more as a jumping off point (never fear, though – the choice between lady and tiger is made and we get to see the fallout). We open the book in the arena of drying up desert kingdom where “supplies or tiger” is used as a common way of determining justice or punishment, but of course, our king cheats to ensure justice is actually served. As resources get lower and the proletariat gets more uprisey, its up to our main character, Princess Kateri, to save the kingdom.

The plot in this is fairly standard. If you are a regular reader of YA fantasy, you’ll know where the book is headed a few chapters in. The characters themselves are nothing special, although the author transforms Kateri in a believable way. You’ll hate her at the start and root for her at the end. I wish the Desert Boys had been Desert People – why no girls? Since Kateri is such a strong hero, I thought the complete and almost total lack of lady fighters was suspect. I also wanted more tigers (if you don’t like to read about animal cruelty, maybe skip this one). It’s based on a story called “The Lady or the Tiger” – give me ladies and tigers!

There’s clearly a lot not to like, but the some of the worldbuilding was spectacular. Sullivan builds a desert world complete with lethal creatures (watch out for those sand snakes!), interesting cuisine (make sure you eat the right lizard tongue) and well, ok, I mostly liked the animals she invented. I wasn’t compelled to read the book, as, like I said its pretty obvious as to where it was going, but the worldbuilding was enough to keep me at least somewhat engaged and the author gets points for writing a standalone. I can easily see this book being dragged out to a duology and I’m glad everyone involved resisted that temptation.

TLDR: The book had potential for days, but I found the execution to be a bit lacking. Fun worldbuilding details make what is otherwise a rather routine YA fantasy more interesting. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3.

Thanks to Blink and Netgalley for the eARC, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Tiger Queen will be released on 10 September, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Detective Cross

Detective Cross
Author: 
Patterson, James
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Packed with action and intensity, Detective Cross is a mystery-action that will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire duration of the book.
The plot starts with a bomber planting bombs in national parks. Police search and defuse the bombs, only for more to be planted the next day. The serial bomber keeps on planting more and more, with the authorities always a step behind. I would highly recommend this book, as it had me on edge the whole time, with its accurate details and action packed plot. Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Kyle Y

Book Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Book Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Author: 
Lewis, C.S.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I listened to this on CD. The narrator was fantastic. The book was also fantastic. Well written, aimed at younger readers, but still enjoyable by adults. There's a reason why this book is a classic. The story had me thinking about bravery and forgiveness, but the Edmund story line was a bit frustrating. His siblings were kinder than I would've been, although I have to remember that he was just a child. All in all, a must-read, or listen.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: The Hunters

The Hunters
Author: 
Flanagan, John
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Hunters is a brilliant book written by John Flanagan. Hal and his Brotherband chase down Zavac through rough waters. The Herons know that Zavac is cornered, but beating him is going to be tricky. You have to read the rest to know what happens!

This book is packed with action and excitement. Another aspect that I love about this book is Hal’s courage. He shows massive amounts of courage through the story which makes his crew more faithful in him than ever. I would rate The Hunters 5 out of 5 stars. It was so good that I could not put it down. If you are interested in this book, I would recommend reading the whole series.

Reviewer's Name: 
Hayden S

Book Review: Chomp

Chomp
Author: 
Hiaasen, Carl
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Chomp is a book written by Carl Hiaasen. I would rate Chomp five out of five stars. In Chomp, Wahoo’s mom is on a trip working in China. The main character, Wahoo, and his dad, Mickey, get hired for a TV job. Their family is tight on money, and they are trying to pay off the mortgage of their house. While Wahoo’s mom is in China, he and his dad go on a rollercoaster of exciting events working for the show. It has a very exciting plot and swallowed me into the book. It is a funny tale about the love for animals. I enjoyed the character’s humor and how Wahoo reacted to tough problems. I loved this book and would recommend it to others. It is in a series, but it is a standalone book. I would recommend reading all of the other books in this fantastic series. The author is an amazing writer. That is why I would recommend Chomp to you.

Reviewer's Name: 
Hayden S

Book Review: The Odyssey

The Odyssey
Author: 
Homer
Rating: 
1 star = Yuck!
Review: 

The Odyssey is an epic poem written by Homer, and it is a literary classic about two great quests. Ten years after the fall of Troy, Odysseus still hasn't returned home to Ithaca, and his house is plagued with suitors wanting to marry his wife, Penelope. His son, Telemachus, feels overwhelmed but is sure that Odysseus isn't dead. With the help of the goddess Athena, he sets off to search for his father as the reader learns more about Odysseus's previous journey and resulting enslavement. Telemachus encounters many obstacles which shape him and build his confidence by the end of the story.
Although this book is a classic and was probably very popular in ancient Greece, it is not an enjoyable book to read. There is too much unnecessary dialogue, and the plot is excessively long. Due to the old language and lengthy descriptions, reading The Odyssey is a very strenuous task.

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexa H

Book Review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Author: 
Twain, Mark
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

A classic piece of literature, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a wonderful depiction of life along the Mississippi river and times past. Huckleberry Finn is a wild, adventurous, and self-sufficient young man who finds his way along the river with an escaped slave. Stealing, superstitions, and deception all describe the journey Huck Finn and Jim take together. They encounter rivaling families, con artists, and Tom Sawyer in their attempt to get north. Mark Twain paints a vivid picture of life in the South with slavery in a way that shows that not everyone believed the same thing. A truly fun and interesting story, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a book that will interest even the most disinterested reader.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K

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