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When we last saw Will Treaty, he was in a seemingly hopeless situation -- the knight Keren and his treacherous sidekick Buttle had taken over MacIndaw Castle, the heir has been chased off, and Alyss was a prisoner.

"The Siege of Macindaw" picks up immediately after that, and thankfully John Flanagan steers the story off in a much warmer, more hopeful direction. While the middle part of the sixth Ranger's Apprentice book is on the slow side, the gentle humor, elaborate strategies and action-packed climax keep it intricate and interesting.

Will is delighted when he hears news of a young warrior with a free-for-hire shield in the area -- it's Horace, meaning that he now has a somewhat better chance of victory. As a brigade of Scotti warriors approach, meaning that a chunk of Araluen will be lost, Will also acquires other allies: Malcolm the "sorcerer" and his followers, and a band of stranded Skandians who are all too happy to be hired.

So Will and his allies set out to capture the Scotti warriors, and somehow must find out what their battle plans are. But Malcolm's illusions and deceptions won't be enough to stop the soldiers of Macindaw -- it will take plenty of strategy and combat to infiltrate the castle. And when Will finally finds Keren, he will find someone dear to him suddenly turned against him.

"The Siege of Macindaw" is a rather slow-moving book at times -- the entire middle section is a stretch of careful strategic planning, with the occasional spurt of bloody, knife-swiping action. Fortunately, it's also very intricate and well-mapped out, and it's become clear once and for all that Will is no longer just an apprentice -- he and Horace are a strong, confident Ranger and warrior.

While things seem hopeless at the beginning, Flanagan devotes much of the plot to building up advantages for our heroes -- smoke-and-mirrors demons and monsters, a band of hardy Skandians, and their own prowess. And the last third of the novel suddenly blossoms into an emotionally intense, action-packed story that pits Horace, Will and their little band against Keren.

Flanagan also has thoroughly solid, atmospheric writing that brings to mind snow, big eerie illusions and a ghastly scene where Malcolm terrifies the Scotti with the image of a reality-bending demon. While the story is devoted to stopping Keren, he inserts some pleasant exchanges that keep the characters connected, such discussing a proper name for Will's dog, or a fun little limerick challenge ("What rhymes with Macindaw?").

But the most important focus here is Will and Horace, now confident young men who still bicker, care about each other, and fight the Scotti with wild abandon. And Will's obvious feelings for Alyss finally come out into the open, while Horace is hinted to have some feelings for another absent girl. And Flanagan's careful writing also leads to some very intricate villains -- though a bad guy, Keren is plagued by guilt and doubt; and the Scotti leader is a guy you end up feeling sorry for.

The sixth Ranger's Apprentice book "The Siege of Macindaw" nicely finishes off the story started in the previous book, and cements the maturity of an apprentice that is now a full Ranger. A good solid fantasy story.
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 19, 2015
The first 6 books of the series including this one are fun reads. They are perfectly good fantasy for a variety of readers. However they are written with younger readers age 10-17 in mind. That is the target audience. As such they are perfect books for the target audience 5 stars, but for older more experienced readers of fantasy the story will be extremely predictable, for this reason I took off 1 star. Which would means I liked it, but knowing what was going to happen and predicting every single attempt at plot twist made it a bit mundane.

Now while I personally would give this book 4 stars as an experienced reader, who reads 100+ books a year every year for the past 20 years, I had to take off 1 star for price. Some might think that is silly, but for those of us who buy a lot of books and read a lot of books price starts to factor in. Reading is far more expensive than cable, netflix, amazon prime, ext. When a series of 12+ books cost 8-12 dollars per book, and each book is short enough to finish in a single day, the price adds up really fast.

I have spent $58 on this series so far. Having read the first 6 books, and one prequel book. I read them in 7 days. If I always paid this much for books I couldn't afford to keep reading. Part of the problem is the Dollar value per word just isn't there. These like I said before are written for younger readers, and they are about a 1/2 shorter than 17+ oriented books. Even by book store prices, for physical additions these prices are high, let alone for digital versions with no real overhead.

In summary:
1 star off for being extremely predictable. That takes into account that it is for young readers, if it was meant for older readers I would have taken off 2 stars. Unless this is a beginning foray into the fantasy realm, even most younger readers will predict what will happen, as even the "plot twists" are really nothing more than is expected.

1 star off for price. Really these books are very short and there is no real discount for buying as a set. If you are like me and buy hundreds of books you know price has to matter, reading for fast and avid readers becomes a very expensive form of entertainment quickly if you over pay too often.
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on May 9, 2016
Am reading this kid's series along with my grandson. Yes, it's not perfect but it's engaging and I'm somehow hooked! I do recommend it for early teen boys. A little romance but probably not enough to hold the attention of a young teen girl. Don't mean to be sexist so if your teen girl enjoys battles and that kind of adventure, she will like this too.
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on May 2, 2016
(Writing for my son.) Like the other books in the series the story is excellent. Compare to the earlier books there's a little less action and more strategy & talk but that's "OK". Lots of good "character education" lessons on leadership, dealing with adversity, perseverance, etc.
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on September 28, 2009
I've read all of the "Ranger's Apprentice" book up to this one, and after struggling through "The Sorcerer in the North", which was good, but had a lot of dialogue and not a lot of action, I wasn't sure what "The Siege of Macindaw" would be like. Would it be swashbuckling like "The Ruins of Gorlan" or a little darker like "The Burning Bridge"? As the series went on I noticed that the action began to slow down and the characters began to talk more than act. I mean constant dialogue from chapter to chapter with very few action sequences to break it. And, not to mention, most of the dialogue was rather pointless and did not benefit the plot at all. However, I liked the humor - especially some of the banter between Horace and Will (even that got tedious after a while) - and the character development. There were no loose ends at the end of the story, and there was a strong plot to help it along. The very few action sequences were very well executed, and overall it was a very good addition to the "Ranger's Apprentice" series.
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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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on September 11, 2015
After the big cliffhanger in the last book, this next book turns out great, with only a small cliffhanger at the end. It is very good and creative. You should definitely read this book if you liked any of the others and have read the last one.
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on April 30, 2015
Our 12 year old son adores these books. It's challenging to find literature that's appropriate for young adults that's not filled with worldly garbage, but that holds the attention of reluctant readers, which my son was until we found these. After finishing the Eragon series on Audible, we wondered if we'd be able to find something that would keep him enthralled. We did. I love that there's so many in the series. It makes it simple to order him more. We buy in sets of 3 and he looks forward to each shipment! It's a great way to keep him motivated and engaged in reading. Children love getting mail. And we save a small amount of $ on each book!
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on July 10, 2015
I feel like a broken record writing reviews for all the books in this series. What can I say? It's a great series. I love following the story of Will, Halt, Gilan, and many of the other characters in this story.
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on August 17, 2015
Great continuation of the series. I like that we were watching, in a way, both sides of the conflict and being able to be drawn into the siege by that. The beginning development of the love interest was well done considering the age of the characters and their upbringing. Very well done!
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