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on June 27, 2007
I haven't read the United States version of this book, having purchased the australian edition over a year ago. "The Icebound Land" is the first half of the tale of Will and Evalyn's adventures in Skandia, while Halt and Horace set off to rescue them. As a book, it does not quite stand alone, and you really need to read book #4 "The Oakleaf Bearers" to read the conclusion of the tale. Book #4 is a five star book. You can order the Oakleaf Bearer from the online Australian bookstores - they cost about $15 each. Books #5 (the Sorcerer in the North) and #6 (The Siege of Macindaw) are also a single story with the same issue - book #5 doesn't quite stand by itself, and then book #6 completes the story. I found the vocabulary in the Australian editions to be more advanced than the Scholastic versions available in the United States - I don't know if Flanagan is using a more mature vocabulary in the later volumes, or if the U.S. editor is making the stories easier to read for their targetted audience because, as I said, I haven't read the U.S. versions to compare. Ranger's Apprentice is a great series - the books will not let you down.
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on September 13, 2007
Australian author Flanagan originally wrote this series to encourage his twelve-year-old son to love reading. The Ruins of Gorlan is Book One, and The Burning Bridge is Book Two. The setting is vaguely medieval Europe, with interesting details of battle, weapons, and character.

Rangers are a branch of service to the King of Araluen, skilled at woodcraft and longbow, and many people think they have a command of magic. Halt is a skilled Ranger, one of the best. He can disappear into a tree (or give that impression) and can fire a fatal arrow in seconds, even through the eye slit in a knight's visor. His apprentice, Will, and the young girl Evanlyn have escaped unscathed from a terrible battle, only to be caught by a raiding party of Skandians led by Jarl Erak. Halt is not allowed to go after them, so he arranges for the King to banish him for treasonous comments made in public, and he and the young knight Horace set off to Gallica, to find Will.

The chapters alternate between the stories of Will and Evanlyn as prisoners with the Skandians, and Horace and Halt on their trip through Gallica. Halt is old and very wise. He is able to teach the young knight Horace a thing or two about strategy and honor on their travels. Will is able to help Evanlyn during the short sojourn on the island of Skorghijl, waiting out the winter storms with the raiding party, and also keep up his spirits and fitness. But when they return to Jarl Erak's home of Hallasholm, Evanlyn is made a house slave, and Will becomes a yard slave, toiling in terrible cold until he becomes addicted to warmweed, and forgets who he is. Jarl Erak respects Will's bravery and skill, and hates to see him addicted and treated so poorly. He decides to help Will and Evanlyn try to escape.

This adventurous series is designed with cliffhangers at the end. You will definitely want to read the coming books. Book Four is coming out in March of 2008 - I can hardly wait.

Armchair Interviews says: Wonderful young adult book for all to enjoy.
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on March 21, 2008
I love the Ranger's Apprentice series. It stands right up there with other fantastic fantasy favorites like The Symphony of Ages and The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme by Elizabeth Haydon, The Icewind Dale by R.A.Salvator, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien and Dragonlance: Chronicles by Weis and Hickman. But with John Flanaghan's newiest installment in the Ranger's Apprentice series, The Icebound Land falls short of what we were expecting. Sure, this book does nicely as a sequel, but I felt Flanagan could had done a tad-bit more, such as Will being a drugged-slave. But overall, this book was a great read!
We have Halt and Horace traveling into the country-side, right into danger. Stupid men who claim themselves as gallant knights by beating up helpless travelers with mest-up amour and poor weapons to earn a living challenge the two left-and-right, holding up there search again and again for the lost ranger, Will. All the while Will and Evalyn are fighting to stay alive against the Skandians and the cold of winter.
I truly enjoyed this book. Halt's raw humor and Horace's jokes kept me laughing, while Will being drugged by Warm-Weed kept me feeling dread for the beloved character. If you enjoyed the first two books of John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series, The Ruins of Gorland and The Burning Bridge, your guaranteed to like reading The Icebound Land. I'm already looking forward to reading The Battle for Skandia. Can't wait! Keep sending these Australian Treasures over John!
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on March 23, 2012
In this continuation of the Ranger's Apprentice series, we find Will and Evanlyn attempting their escape from the Viking-esque Skandians. However, despite Will's prowess as a Ranger, it is quickly revealed that Will has much to learn about basic seamanship and the colder parts of the world.
And drug addiction.
For a young adult fantasy title, one can definitely see how such a subject could polarize reader response. In general, drugs are found very little in fantasy, unless we're talking about Michael Moorcock's ELRIC SAGA, which is quite a bit more adult in nature than this series.
However, I think one also needs to keep in mind that John Flanagan initially wrote this book for his son. Maybe this installment was a subtle way of teaching children about the dangers of addiction.
Ironically, I felt that the inclusion of such a rare subject matter is what made this book work for me; for the offerings of the rest of the book are basically chivalrous challenges and jousts--a dime a dozen in fantasy.

One thing I disliked about this book is in the characterization of Halt, the senior Ranger who is trying to track down Will, his apprentice. In this volume, Halt shows a bit more of his personality--to include his soft side. On the one hand, this makes Halt a bit more human, but on the other hand I found it a bit harder to imagine Halt as a force to be reckoned with.

Where the last two books dealt with grander settings and senses of urgency, this book takes a detour to explore the personal struggles and inner workings of some of the characters. Don't expect it to be as action-packed, but in its own way it is still entertaining and sets the stage for the next installment, which I'm sure will be more along the lines of the first two books.
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on November 22, 2015
Great book series...though of the 4 in the Series, this is the most emotionally depressing as Will, our hero, is enslaved and abused near to death before an unlikely rescue. Book 4 takes the story farther after Will's rescue and recovery and is more "cheery". In a nutshell...books 1 & 2 were great. Book 3 will likely be depressing for young Will is a really good kid. If you buy book 3, be sure to get book 4.
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on January 24, 2016
This third book in the series was a bit hard for me to read. Will and Evanline have been captured by Erak and the Skandians as "booty". They are to be sold as slaves on arrival at the Skandians homeland.
There is so much here that is heart rending, and challenging; mostly for Evanline this time. We get to see who she really is as a person, not just as a princess.
Who she is, is a courageous, loyal, strong and determined young woman who will one day make a great ruler; if she survives.
Meanwhile, Halt is determined to keep his promise to Will to rescue him; whatever the cost; and the cost is very high indeed!
He will have the help of a good friend, and he and Horace make a great team. As they make their way to Skandia, Evanline is making sure she and Will survive the Winter, and is making her own plans for their rescue.
There are a couple of hints about new threats coming up, and I can't wait to see what those are, but the book, (whose overall tone has been one of defeat), ends on a high note on both fronts.
Halt and Horace are on their way again, and Will is...
Well...you will just have to read the book to find out the answer to that! 😀
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on June 24, 2011
The 3rd installment of John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series picks up right where the first two left off. Flanagan is one of the most talented authors I've read in a long time. His ability to create memorable characters, unpredictable plot twists, and vivid images is unbelievable. The dialog is witty, and I was not able to put this one down. Will, the Ranger's apprentice, and Princess Cassandra have been taken as slaves and are on their way to Skandia. Halt and Horace set off to find them and meet their own set of challenges. This is a must read series and I recommend it to anyone!
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on March 24, 2016
Let me say I love the writing but hate the way this series is being sold! They have taken a a wonderfully written book and broken it up into very small short stories to sell at $9 a pop in a 12 book series. This series would match a 3 book series any other time and cost less than $50 for an e-book, instead it runs around $110 for the 121 small books. My advice, don't start this series unless your willing to pay way out prices. A bit decieving guys!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon July 11, 2013
Part 3 of my Ranger's Apprentice Review Series. Check out my profile for my reviews of the other 10 books in the Ranger's Apprentice Canon.

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In my opinion, The Icebound Land is Flanagan's first misstep. And I thought it would be so great. The story had so much promise! First of all, there was Halt and Horace - the two unlikeliest of characters - teaming up to rescue Will, who was taken hostage by Skandian pirates, along with feisty princess Evanlyn. The very blurb suggests that this book would be packed with action!

It wasn't. So very little actually happens in The Icebound Land. Halt and Horace roam Gallica, tell jokes, mope about Will, fight random knights, get captured, mope about, escape, and do very little besides that.
What happens in Skandia is even worse. Will is enslaved, Evanlyn is enslaved, Will gets cold, Evanlyn gets cold, their captors are mean, they mope about, doing little to nothing, Will gets hooked on drugs, Evanlyn mopes over Will, they are both cold, they escape, the end.

Flanagan could have done better to keep the plot moving quicker and could have put more action and character development in.

However, that is not to detract from an otherwise excellent book! John Flanagan is the master of cliffhangers. And this is some of the most efficient and impressive uses of chapter endings I have ever seen! The end of each chapter leaves you racing to read the next one, to get to the next one, to get to the....You get the picture. Again, I think I read this book in half a day.

A pity it was a slightly unsatisfying read. But did I mention the ending? It is an excellent teaser for the The Battle of Skandia, the most awesome Ranger's Apprentice book yet (see my channel for my review)! So, lack of action aside, it's always nice to get back to Will and Halt and Co., the detail is vivid and suitably chilly, the villains are mean and the heroes are brave. This is not a complex or action-packed book, but it is a fun one for fantasy fans young and old!

Recommended! 3.9 Stars!

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If you liked this review, please visit my profile to read my other reviews on the Ranger's Apprentice series. Thanks, and if this review was helpful to you, give it a like!
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on February 18, 2015
This whole series is great. Recommend for anyone over the age of 8 or 10, depending on how mature the reader, as some of them can get quite intense - parents beware if your child is reading well beyond their age, some of these books have addiction to drugs, death, beatings, all sorts of stuff. I suggest you read first, to make sure your child is up to it. Any one over the age of 12 will love them. (I'm 26)
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