July 2024
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Review: The Icebound Land, John Flanagan

*spoilers for the previous two books!*

Skandian raiders have captured Will and Evanlyn.  After nearly dying on board ship, they arrive safely, but as slaves with little choice in their own destiny.  Will is determined to escape, but neither of them have any idea how to get home or how to enact this plan.  In the meantime, Halt concocts a scheme to free himself from the king’s service to find and rescue Will, but in doing so is expelled from the Rangers and joined only by Horace, an apprentice knight who is determined to do all he can to save his friend.

This book introduces a lot of new challenges to our favorite group of heroes.  Will’s viewpoint is absent for a while and I was surprised by how much I missed his voice.  I also really preferred Will and Evanlyn’s half to Horace and Halt’s.  I felt that I knew the outcome of the second one, but the first one was much more variable and worrying.  I mean, I don’t think Will can die given that there are many more books out and the series is called “Ranger’s Apprentice” but that doesn’t make anyone else safe.  I found that by the end, I really just wanted Halt and Horace to find Will and Evanlyn.  The cliffhanger made me very nervous and I have book 4 on hold from the library.  I hope it comes in for me soon!

I’ll still be recommending this series.  I think Flanagan’s writing voice is getting stronger and the characters are definitely getting deeper and more interesting.  Again, this series is almost enough to make me wish I was still a young adult because I know I would have loved it even more back then.  And back then I wouldn’t have noticed how much Flanagan seems to be ripping off medieval Europe.  Not that I mind, but it is very, very common in fantasy and I like original world-building.

Buy The Icebound Land on Amazon.


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