Will’s love and care for Halt shine throughout this next chapter in The Ranger’s Apprentice series. Mostly this is due to, as the title says, Halt’s Peril. However, it is also the first time that they truly work together since Will’s graduation into the ranks of the Rangers. While the dynamic has changed slightly, much of their relationship has remained the same, and it is fun to understand how they have transformed over the years. Especially Will.
Erak’s Ransom showed Will’s dedication to his horse, and The Roamers provided a great reminder of this – in the extent to which Will will go to rescue his dog. It is the ultimate display of affection between a man and his dog, the proverbial best friend – for both of them. Ebony is incredibly loyal and obedient (something that I still struggle to achieve with my dogs), and Will will do anything to protect her and keep her out of harm’s way.
After Halt and Horace leave for Skandia to rescue Will and Evanlyn, there is a lot that must surely have happened back in Araluen. Halt’s abandonment of his pursuit of Folcar is one such story that never really felt completely finished. After all, he was an immensely dangerous and slippery foe that really needed to be removed from the kingdom. Finally, The Inkwell and the Dagger helps to fill in the gaps about what happened in their absence. After all, the world didn’t stop moving because Halt abandoned his post.
The cryptic message left behind with Will lead to many things throughout the series, especially The Ruins of Gorlan. Not only did it make Will believe that he should have been a knight (after all, his father was a hero), but it also shrouded him in an air of mystery that was both a blessing and a curse. Discovering the true story behind his orphanhood and his heroic father, like all tales, was better than what the character imagined.
In The Kings of Clonmel, we discovered Halt’s history, and, throughout the Ranger’s Apprentice series, his current place in the world is incredibly clear. But, it’s always been a little difficult to understand how Halt went from fleeing his crown to befriending Crowley and saving Araluen. Luckily, Flanagan decided to write The Hibernian to explain this fateful moment in both characters’ lives.
On a theoretical level, the idea of removing all threats to Elena’s family and wolf pack makes complete sense. However, how this actually occurs and the impact that it has upon Elena’s psyche are completely at odds with the rationale which the Pack makes to justify these actions. In Savage, Jeremy is forced to cross this line, and now it is Elena’s turn and the consequences for this had a ginormous snowball effect.
It is impossible to imagine Lucas Cortez going up against Eve Levine when it is first mentioned in Dime Store Magic. He is such a sweet, geeky boy with a sense of justice. Eve on the other hand is tough, independent and not scared to make some tough choices when it comes to her own protection. The fact that Savannah is now an aspect of her life… she is an incredibly terrifying adversary for an untried young sorcerer.
I loved this insight into Paige and Adam as teenagers. They are just as rebellious, individualistic and strong-willed as I expected. Adam’s slight crush on Paige also helps to answer a few questions that I had when meeting them both in Stolen – not an unrequited love, but a crush nevertheless. It is also a great reminder of the state which the supernatural council was in at the beginning of the Women of the Otherworld series.
I can understand why Armstrong didn’t want to turn the tales of Elena’s turning into a short story. Whilst I was always curious about those months, even year after she was bitten, reading the story would have been depressing in the extreme. However, displaying this story as a graphic novel not only helps to impart the violence, anguish and confusion of the time, it also allowed a window into the experiences of Elena and helped to explain some of her actions throughout Bitten.
Elena and Clay’s romance is definitely not what I would call a typical literary romance. Clayton has some of the hallmarks which we are all warned against in a budding relationship (possessiveness, jealousy, inability to accept your significant others’ friends…). Yet, maybe because Armstrong is able to show his genuine care for Elena, it doesn’t seem like an unhealthy relationship. Just a very, very odd one. But it still begs the question – how do two such people find each other, meet, and eventually, fall in love? Beginnings finally answers those questions. It also helps to explain Clay’s rash selfishness in turning Elena into a werewolf and all of the subsequent drama and pain which followed. For both of them.