The Outcasts a novel that will leave you clamoring for more.
This book is for anyone and everyone who enjoys vikings, a tale of an underdog, fantasy and sailing. The story brings you along the development of a boy into a man, while being outcasted by the viking like society of Skandia.
The Outcasts is part of the Brotherband Chronicles an ongoing series written by John Flanagan and a companion to the bestselling Ranger’s Apprentice series.
The main character Hal is an intellectual stuck in a warrior society.
His father, a heroic Skandian warrior.
His mother, a former Araluen slave.
Hal’s father had died turning his world upside down, he is “outcasted” and looked down upon by all. His mother introduces Hal to Thorn, a grizzled Skandian warrior and a friend of Hal’s father who has lost a reason to live. Not only does Hal give Thorn reason to live, but Thorn becomes Hal’s father figure. Encouraging Hal to use his intellect and showing him there is value to it. But will this help or hurt Hal in the pinnacle point in any Skandian boy’s life, Brotherband training. The training reflects on Skandian’s core values, one of which being brawn and consists of Skandian boys competing against each other in crews to become proper Skandians or men in Skandian society’s eyes. If a crew is able to win they are celebrated and adored but if they lose they are looked down upon. The odds are set against Hal. Readers of this book will feel the constant uphill battle for Hal and his crew as I did. But can he turn it around and show brains can overcome brawn?
John Flanagan is able to brilliantly craft his thoughts onto paper.
Through this ability he is able to naturally entwine humor, historic information, multiple storylines, and character development into his writing with touches of nifty word choice along the way. Flanagan makes you laugh when he scribbles in some humor. It enhances, keeps you intrigued to the story and lets you really connect and learn about the characters. Something not many authors can do. While at the same time you learn a thing or two about the culture and history of the story when Flanagan weaves the information into the text. I am especially amazed on the lengths Flanagan takes to incorporate the miniscule details. Whether it is the varying designs of sails or the complexity of a crossbow, to sailing art itself, and even the distinct personalities of the characters. Throughout his books you feel as if you aren’t learning or even reading at all.
In my opinion, The Outcasts is a book for anyone who has read books by Brandon Mull, Rick Riordan, Cecilia Holland and for anyone who gravitates towards the genres of fantasy and historical fiction.