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on December 11, 2013
I love the Ranger's Apprentice! I have read the series twice as well as the Brotherband Chronicles. What I found the most entertaining was the friendship between Will, Halt and Horace. They were the life of these books! Yet in the Royal Ranger - Halt and Horace each appear in two scenes at the beginning of the book and one at the end, neither taking a lead in either scene, and never do they directly interact with Will, not a single exchange between them throughout the whole book! The middle of the book follows a mildly charming apprentice and a grieving, vengeful Will who has lost all of his personality, love of life and his creativity along with it. He is morose, depressing, and incapable of taking down a small gang of thieves, relying on his brand new apprentice of only a few months to save the day - and him. The very life of the whole series has been effectively snuffed out in the final book.

About the mildly charming apprentice: If this were a stand alone book (or the beginning of its own series) about her and her journey through her apprenticeship and on to her using that knowledge to become a great queen - it would be a really, good and interesting beginning.

My suggestion - if you really love the Ranger's Apprentice and really want to read more - do so with caution. It is a fun read, but don't expect more of what you got in the previous books. If the friendship is what really hooked you - I recommend stopping with the 11th book (after all ending with the engagement of Horace and Cassandra as well as the implied future for Will and Alyss is a great way to end a great story of great characters). Pick up the Brotherband Chronicles instead.

Couple of notes:
To those who complain about the original Tug still being alive - horses can live over 30 years, he would be too old to be a useful Ranger's horse, but it's very possible he would still be alive.

I did not read the Lost Stories - is there a story in there that explains why the original Tug's name was changed?
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on October 2, 2013
Alright here goes, this is my first amazon review but I felt that it was important to communicate my experience with this book. I've read all the rangers apprentice and brotherband books and loved every one of them. This is maybe one of the weaker books in the series and that isn't to say that its a bad book, flannagan delivers again and he delivers well. What is missing from this book is the grand adventure that is present in the others, there was always a serious threat to Araluen as a whole and that I feel is something that is missing from this book.

I don't want to spoil anything but the centre piece of this book revolves around Will taking on a new apprentice Maddie and training her up, there is little to no "action" in the first part of this and instead focuses on charecter development, some May like this others may not, I for one welcomed the addition of a new charecter even if the choice was slightly too predictable.

I felt that the strengths of this book lie with the rest of hi books- loveable charecters and good plot development and here it excels, the story for the most part I felt was strong. My 2 qualms with this book are what lead me to give this book a four star rating, one of those is the the enemies in this book, it doesn't live up to the grand adventure standard that has been so consistent ithroughout the series. I wouldn't mind so much if it were a simple matter for Will and Maddie to overcome them but it is not, I'm treading close to spoiler territory and I'll do my utmost not to spoil anything.

////THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH WILL CONTAIN PARTIAL SPOLIERS DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT A PURE READING EXPERIACNE, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY FINISHED THE BOOK

Right now hopefully those reading now have read the book and so understand what I'm talking about, there is the moment when Will is captured while attempting to give Maddie time to escape. This is where my biggest qualm lies. I didn't understand why he didn't simply keep tug? All the men were on foot and it seemed to me that with the legendary accuracy he would be able to prevail? Again not my rodeo but I was a little taken aback at the ease that 11 men we're able to capture "the best ranger the corps has ever seen". The fact that these 11 men were not hardened warriors, not temujai, not expert swordswan from Nihon-Ja, not even on horseback, but common thieves, added insult to injury for me anyway, some may disagree with me here but that for me was raay let down. The other part that I wish was explored more was Alyss's death and it's impact on will, yes there we here the story and the depressed nature but I couldn't help but feel more time could have been spent on their relationship to build up her death a little, for me it was sad but not quite that tragic climax that it could have been. Again subjective but these two facts dropped huge book from a 5 to a 4 in my eyes at least.

////END OF THE SPOILERS

now with all that out of the way a short summation is in order. For those who did read the spoiler section you may have got e impression that I disliked the book. This is far from the truth, I loved the book and finished over the course of 2 nights. What I did feel was that it could have been improved and at times it was a little down from the epic scale that they usually are. I still highly recommend this book to all that have enjoyed the series though I doubt I need to. I'll compare to it the first book, it adds a new charecter and spends time developing that charecter for further books and I can't wait to see where it takes us.

Feel free to comment if you have questions or you feel my review missed some things or just sucked in general :)

Thanks for reading
Finn
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on November 27, 2013
While I am not saying this book should not have been written Lost Stories ended well and gave readers closure. This book seems to introduce another series completely.

Possible Spoilers:

While fun to read, my immersion was shattered every time they mentioned the tragedy. It felt like everything John Flannigan had built up from the very first book was thrown out the window just to finish one series in order to start another. (Other than the Brotherband Chronicles) For 11 books he built hype and in Lost Stories I thought we had a happy ending. While the book was good in its own right the main antagonist was flat and the main plot is predictable as a typical bent on revenge plot that is then put as a side plot after the introduction of the apprentice.

Conclusion: Not a bad book. But a bad ending to a good series. Stick to Lost Stories for a happy ending and you will enjoy the series a lot more without this book.
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on November 7, 2013
I was trying to decide if I should give this three stars or two and decided to go with two. it has a few good parts and I guess it was worth reading but not for the price.I have read all of ranger apprentice books except the lost stories and the brother band books. I like then a lot. but this book was I disappointment. There are a few things that really bugged me. In trying to make Will apprentice look good John Flanagan made Will into a terrible shot and a six month apprentice into an expert. Will had thirty something arrows to start with, twenty-four in his quiver and he got more out of his pack, he took out four men and wounded two. so counting the ones he wounded he only hit less than one in six shots. I think I could do better than that. I know says he was trying to pen then down not to hit them but that just makes it worse he is a bad shot and stupid. If you are as good as he is supposed to be don't waste all your shots shooting close to the enemy. Madelyn didn't miss any even galloping on a horse with someone trying to shot her. This is just one example there are other things , Will's first horse is still alive when it was old sixteen years ago, the kidnapers tracking them down so fast when they went a few hours in the wrong directions first, and other things. Also it is a ok plot but not grate. I guess part of what bugs me is I really like most of his books but this one looks like he got lazy counting on his past readers to get this book too.
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on October 18, 2015
An emotional roller coaster is a good description for this final book in the Ranger's Apprentice series. I cried, and got teary-eyed, so many times, I lost count.
At first, the tears are for sorrow, and retrospection, but later, there are some lighter tears of remembrance, and sweet déjà vu.
For most of the story, there is little time for tears, as Will takes on a very challenging apprentice of his own. He is in the middle of a crisis in his own life, but can't refuse the plea for help from his two best friends; ( especially since they also happen to be the crown princess, and her husband, the foremost knight of the realm.)
If anything can pull Will out of his obsession with revenge, it is trying to train the first female Ranger's apprentice. Especially since she comes to him all ready to put a couple of weeks into this deal, then get on with having a good time, "princess-ing" it over everyone at Baron Redmont's castle.
The princess is sure she can twist "uncle Will" around her finger, just like she always has before.
Boy, are those two in for some surprises!
As always, the writing is wonderful; engaging, exciting, realistic, and suspenseful at times. I love the author's sense of humor, and have enjoyed the ranger's "conversations " with their horses, and each other.
I would say I'm going to miss all these characters, but, I can always go back and revisit them from the beginning any time I please; and I will; often!
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on October 10, 2014
This is a very, very disappointing end to what was an excellent series.
I've been following The Ranger's Apprentice for years, heck, I've even got a signed copy of one of the books, but this volume is just terrible. It has none of the wit, clever protagonists, or wonderful characters that made the series great.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Instead of anyone likeable, all of the characters you like are old and, apparently, senile, as they retain very little of their personality. With this book, you get the same stupid drivel you get in 1000 other books, usually ones written by people just looking for a paycheck. It's a standard formula of a bratty princess gets weapons work and suddenly becomes someone "exciting" or "worthwhile". Hmm, where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, it sounds like something Disney would make into a movie. Not only are all practicalities ignored (I hope she has fun trying to hide in the forest when it's "that time of the month") but it also gets rid of the "small guys can be manly too" thing that very few other books had. It also replaces clever, logical characters with bratty teenagers that only want to be "rebels" and whine about things that have worked for centuries (it's called "practice", say it with me) I must say, though, the thing that I dislike the most it the end, where, after it states that she's permanently crippled, she's still given a bronze oakleaf and allowed to be an apprentice. Meaning she literally isn't physically capable of performing up to standard in any way, shape, or form, but they still let her in because "progress".

I do not recommend this book for anyone, ever. The only reason I'm giving it two stars instead of one is because I'm blinded by what this series used to be and I can't bring myself to do that to Will and Halt (especially since he's barely even given a cameo in this book).
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on March 27, 2014
It was just okay. It didn't answer some key questions I had regarding the mistreated children -- did they just send the mistreated back to the families that mistreated them in the first place? What about the kid that seemed to have a knack as a ranger? No matter what, Maddie was annoying. And What the heck is with medieval times women that only have one child? Most women had children every year until the pregnancy that killed them. So it was way too unbelievable that Maddie is an only child, and that Alys never had children, and that Jenny refused Gilan because she wanted to be an independent business woman. Yeah, right. I thought all the previous books were great reads, but this one was disappointing. Oh well.
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on December 19, 2014
Don't read it...let the series end on a happy note. You won't be missing anything, and you'll have only good memories to reflect upon.

I am a huge fan of the Ranger's Apprentice Series up until this installment. Other reviewers have described very well the major issues I had with this book. For me, the one overriding thought when I finished was that I wished I had never read it.
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on September 15, 2015
I am a huge fan of the Rangers Apprentice series, but this book fell a little short in some aspects.

Pros:
It as well written and fun as its predecessors. It was great to see a more serious side of Will. I love when authors break their characters from their usually mold. It was also really interesting to really see the novels come full circle with Will taking on an apprentice.

Cons:

This book was lacking one of the biggest qualities I have some to expect from this series, the feeling of a grand adventure. This book is more about life coming full circle and overcoming hard times with the help of those around you.

All in all it is defiantly worth a read, especially if you have read all the other books.

but it lacks the feel of a grand adventure that is usually such a huge part of this series.
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on February 8, 2014
It felt to me like this book had a substantially different character than all of the previous books of the series. It felt to me like Flanagan may have run dry with ideas for Will's adventures and was just looking for a way to trudge through the story will little consideration for the flavor of each character previously established.

I hope the the series continues in earnest and Flanagan regains some passion for the characters but I am disappointed that with this timeline we have lost 15+ years of adventures.
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