Bonedancer has been an incredibly cheeky enigma of a character since his conception in The Emperor Mage. So, as with all series, it was incredibly fun to read a short story that featured this slightly obscure creature. That it is also pared with the reproductive cycle of Spidrens, and an eventful day out that involved pursuit, rogue mages and theft just helped to make this short story all the more enjoyable.
Lady Knight is a fantastic conclusion to Protector of the Small quartet. All of Kel’s hard work has finally led to becoming the first recognised Lady Knight in a hundred years (that is, after Alanna’s secret journey to this position). And, although it means travelling to the war-torn border, Kel is finally on her journey to complete the quest outlined to her by the Chamber of Ordeal. The hand of fate is on this story, and although it twists and turns in so many ways, it is a journey that is almost impossible to put down.
Kel’s years as a squire help to build upon all of her many adventures in First Test and Page. Although her one epic battle (which every main character really requires) doesn’t get revealed until the very end of this novel, the entire journey to this point is full of twists and turns. Her position as the King’s Own Squire and new friendships help to weave a new tale of a life full of learning, hard work and joy.
I remember how difficult it was to go through puberty, as would almost everyone out there who is reading this. Now, imagine what that would be like as a young girl, surrounded by a bunch of lads who want to whack you with sticks day in and day out.
There is an inequality in the way men and women are treated in modern society. Although this has become slowly reduced over the past century, the inequality is evident in our everyday lives. First Test is a great reminder of this. As the first girl willing to take up the mantel of knight (something which is regaled to a man’s role in popular history), Keladry is forced to overcome obstacle after obstacle. Hurdles which none of her male counterparts are required to conquest.
I’m still not entirely sure about my thoughts on this addition to The Ranger’s Apprentice series. on the one hand, it is really enjoyable to see what has happened to the characters almost fifteen years after the last book. But, on the other hand, the bitter creature that Will has become is really disconcerting. Plus, killing off one of my favourite characters in a series always makes me unsure about how far I want to progress into the book. It’s definitely worth it, but it is incredibly difficult to throw yourself into The Royal Ranger compared with the rest of the books in this series.
I’m beginning to think that all good series need a collection of short stories to go with them. It helps to round out storylines that don’t actually have a place in the main series, but still hold a place in our hearts. The Lost Stories did exactly this. Not only did it help to answer some of the unanswered questions throughout the series – both the ones I knew to ask, and the ones I had no idea I needed answered until I read the tale.