Title: Erak’s Ransom
Author: John Flanagan
Series: The Ranger’s Apprentice #7
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Publisher: Random House Australia
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘So is Alyss.
When the Skandian Oberjarl is taken hostage during a raid on the desert land of Arrida, his second-in-command Svengal, asks the Araluans for help. Halt and Will must go with him to deliver the ransom and The Princess Cassandra – or Evanlyn, as Will knows her – persuades her father to let her go with them. Horace and the Ranger Gilan round out the group to make sure that Evanlyn is well protected. But will violent sandstorms, warring tribes and danger at every turn keep them from reaching Erak in time?
It was fun to flash back in time after the conclusion of The Siege of Macindaw. Will’s last year as a Ranger was always going to be an important story, if not just for his graduation, but also his hopes and dreams for his own future. The fact that this gets wrapped up with rescuing Erak from another fascinating nationality (the Arridi) just added to the feeling of excitement and closure at Will’s final year of apprenticeship.
Horace and Will’s reuniting with Evanlyn and their joy at being able to adventure together again added to the joy of the story. Especially for Will and Evanlyn, the removal of the stigmas and airs attached to their status in life helped them to finally rejoin in friendship. It is also nice to see the transition of Will’s feelings from Evanlyn to Alyss, whilst he and the princess are still close, there is no romantic entanglement left. This not only makes the storyline of The Sorcerer in the North and The Siege of Macindaw more justifiable – Will didn’t suddenly fall for Alyss, but instead slowly let the feelings grow.
I’ve always loved the relationship and connection between Will and Tug, as someone who feels that her pets are a part of her family, this ideal is incredibly welcome. The idea that an animal is more than a pet or service animal is welcome, and the lengths to which Will is willing to go to rescue his friend and companion is a great reminder of how important these creatures are in our lives.
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