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Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, Book 7) Hardcover – January 5, 2010
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Horace has been a guest of the Emperor of Nihon-ja, Shigeru. But as he's preparing to go back to Araluen, the Senshi warriors under Lord Arisaka suddenly rebel against the Emperor -- and Horace ends up accompanying Shigeru into the mountains. So Halt, Will, Alyss and Evanlyn (who have been overseeing training in Toscana) set out on a Skandian ship, heading straight for Nihon-ja to help their friend.
The journey to Nihon-ja has many dangers -- pirates, desert warriors, and squabbles aboard the Wolfwill. But the biggest danger is Arisaka's army, which is closing in on a remote mountain fortress where the Emperor is hiding -- and if he wins, Nihon-ja will be thrown into an era of brutality. And he's not the only terror lurking in this unfamiliar land...
"The Emperor of Nihon-ja" is apparently the last of the "regular" Ranger's Apprentice novels, and it seems like a fairly logical place for the main storyline to end. The main problem is that it does drag sometimes, especially in the first several chapters, which are bogged down by sodden horseback riding and traveling via Skandian ship.
However, things pick up once Halt, Will and Co. arrive in Nihon-ja. Flanagan's prose is nimble and descriptive, with smoothly realistic dialogue and some humorous moments (a villager accidentally says "bum" to the Emperor). But he also weaves in a load of tactical maneuvers, tricks and the occasional military stunt (the Macedon Phoenix).Read more ›
And oddly enough, the tough young apprentice Will is almost a supporting character in his own story until the second half of the book, with the focus often shifting to Alyss, Halt and Cassandra. That's also the point when John Flanagan revs up the plot of "Ranger's Apprentice 7: Erak's ransom," pouring in plenty of action, bloody battles, politics, bandits and a treacherous conspiracy against the Skandian oberjarl.
After years of being secretly in love with each other, the Ranger Halt and the diplomat Lady Pauline are married in nearly royal style... only for their luxurious reception to be crashed by Svengel. The Skandian warrior reveals that Erak decided to go on one last raid in the Middle-Easty land of Arrida, got captured, and is being ransomed for eight thousand reels. King Duncan is happy to provide the money, but he's not so happy that a member of the royal family must go to Arrida... and his strong-willed daughter Cassandra is volunteering. So the princess (under the guise of "Evanlyn"), three Rangers and a crew of Skandian warriors set off for Arrida, and haggle a bargain with the ruling Wakir, Selethen.
But things go wrong when Will loses his faithful pony Tug in a sandstorm, and goes off searching for him -- only to become lost in the desert. Selethen, Halt, Evanlyn and Svengel soon learn that Erak has been kidnapped from his kidnappers, and they may be after the deadliest, cruelest people in Arrida, the Tualaghi. Even worse, an old enemy is involved. The only hope for his friends may be Will, and the new allies he's gained in Arrida's deserts.Read more ›
I've read the whole Ranger's Apprentice series and enjoyed each book. This book felt much more like a stand alone story within the larger arc rather than a conclusion to the whole series. I don't regret buying or reading this final series contribution but it certainly wasn't the best of the lot. In fact, I think this was the weakest book in the whole series, even apart from the poor series wrap-up provided.
Several character and story developments felt forced--Princess Cassandra/Evanlyn's presence on the trip, especially without a larger support group, the presence and yet nominal participation of the Skandians, the inclusion of Selethen. In many ways, characters seemed included for utilitarian purposes (e.g. Skandians) or for sentimentality purposes (e.g. Selethen).
It also felt like Flanagan couldn't decide who the main character was: Horace or Will. The early part of the book are quite slow and feel more like grudging foundations for the story to follow. (It was so easy to see exactly where the story was going from some of the early scenes.)
The lack of communication between Will and Halt during military scheming phases was ridiculous. Seriously--Halt didn't already have the same idea Will had (given the book's early context)? And Will didn't include the heroic Halt when he had the chance to? The greatest heros are no the types that have to go it alone--they're willing and desirous of the support to be had.
The way language barriers were overcome seems contrived.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In THE EMPORER OF NIIHON-JA, there is a unique storyline where an emporer has been dethroned because a powerful group has said that he is giving the people more powr than them. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
This series is awesome!! My two sons and I fight over who gets to read the new one first!Published 9 days ago by Chrystal
I have read the series books 1-10 and loved every one! These are great books for any age! Some violence but very tasteful and well written.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
Amazing. Everything in this book is perfect, literally, I've never reviewed before but I learned how just for this book. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Chris
Love this series. They don't take many brain cells to read, just light, nice, relaxed, easy reading.Published 1 month ago by Judy Belle Hoesing
My kids love this series. The boys seem to like it a bit more than the girls. They are all great!Published 1 month ago by Mom of Four