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Ranger's Apprentice: The Battle For Skandia by John Flanagan This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Cold. Tired. Sick. Overall, annoyed. We all have those days when basically, we feel like crap. Picture yourself in one those days in a small, uncomfortable log cabin in the mountains of the middle of nowhere. Then, without notice, say your friend disappears. Now you know the basic situation of Will in The Battle For Skandia by John Flanagan.

Will is in apprentice Ranger for the Ranger Corps in his native country of Araluen. Him and his friend Evelyn had just escaped as slaves from the Skandians and were forced to stay at the small cabin due to the heavy snow and cold wind of the winter.

The story starts off when Will hears the sound of water hitting a bucket... the beginning of the thaw. Flanagan does a great job of describing the situation as a “constant tapping sound that roused Will from his deep, untroubled sleep”. The author describes it as if the sound is digging a hole in Will’s empty mind. “Amplified into his subconscious”, Will had no idea when he first heard the sound.

Anyway, Will’s friend, Evelyn, had just gone missing and Will had no idea where she went. Don’t you just hate that? You go off for little nap, and when you wake up, you can’t find find a source of life anywhere. Well, since Evelyn had gone missing, obviously Will had to go find her. Although Will was a Ranger and a skilled tracker, he was still recovering from the effects of warmweed. Jogging slow and watching her tracks, he finally finds her captured by a small scouting party. He starts attacking and gets help from Halt and Horace along the way. They rescue Evelyn, head back to Araluen, and live happily ever after right? Not so much.
Just on their way back, the group meets some trouble. The Skandians. Just imagine that. Say you’re in the Olympics running the 100-meter race. You sprint off fast, take the lead around the 90-meter mark, start throwing your hands up in celebration around the 95, and then, out of the blue, you trip and fall. You lose. Total failure. What seemed so close, ended up being so far away. You could relate that situation to this. The Skandians had surrounded the group and gave them no chance of escape. But lucky for Evelyn and Will, they knew the leader. Erak Starfollower. The very man who had helped them escape. Erak negotiated with Halt, and discovered about the scouting party. Halt had identified them as the Temujai, a deadly group of warriors from the Eastern Steppes. The two went to investigate more, and as they turned the bend to face the Temujai main camp, their faces light up in horror. Halt had calculated a full-scale invasion of Skandia with over 7,000 men. Things were getting rougher and rougher.

This story is a true remark of underdog and teamwork. Halt and the group could have left the Skandian party at night numerous times. But they decided not to. They stayed with them to help. The Skandian could only come up with a force of around 2,000 men at the maximum. They also had very few military tactics. Needless to say, without Halt and the others help, they would have been crumbled. And mostly, the Temujai next target was Araluen. Araluen would have lost one of the best knights, Rangers, Ranger apprentice, and the princess. Doesn't sound too good, does it? So Halt convinced Oberjarl Ragnak to free the slaves to set up an arching force. Will trained them to their fullest potential. The Skandians and four others used great strategy, skill, and overall heart, to try their best to subdue the deadly Temujai. By helping the Skandians, the Araluen's overall could help themselves. Can the force of Skandians defeat the Temujai even though they’re outnumbered by nearly 5,000 men? Read the book to find out.

The Battle For Skandia is a great book that tells a story of trust, loyalty, and of an underdog. No matter how low the odds are, you can accomplish anything. I think this is a great book, and would give it “4 and a half stars”. I would suggest it to anybody who enjoys fantasy genre and the medieval times. And remember; helping others can help you in the long run.




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