Book Review: The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan

I know I should be moving on and reading Crossroads of Twilight, but I can’t do it. I’m going to have to be in a particular frame of mind to read that bloated mess, and I can’t make the leap. Yet. In the meantime, I’m moving on to review another quick read, John Flanagan’s The Battle for Skandia. This book is the 4th book in the Ranger’s Apprentice Series.

This won’t be a lengthy review. The Ranger’s Apprentice series, besides being Young Adult and written in a fast-moving style, are all thin books, and this one is no different at 294 pages. So here’s my review:

I was quite bored with this book. Will has recovered from his wounds, but Evanlyn is kidnapped. So it’s off to save the princess. Could there be a more cliche storyline? The Vikings – ahem, I mean the Skandians, are like cardboard cutouts of how Vikings should look and act. No surprises there. The Mongols – ahem, I mean the Temujai warriors are about the same. The only saving grace for this book is that the battle scenes are well laid out and easy to understand.

Ultimately in my eyes, this book falls short. I finished it in 3 days, but that was only because once I start something, I finish it. At least the previous book (The Icebound Land) had some intrigue in Will’s addiction to warmweed and Horace masquerading as a knight. This book falls far short of that, and the bittersweet ending is entirely predictable.

I’ll have to re-assess whether or not to continue this series. I’m probably being a little harsh considering it’s a Young Adult book, and assuredly many people will find it a good read. But I’ve read enough YA books, including previous books in this series, to know that Flanagan can do better.

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