The second book in John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series opens the horizons nicely. In The Burning Bridge (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 2), Will goes off to visit a neighboring country to discuss the dangers of the evil lord Morgarath, but doesn't actually complete his errand because of the evil plots of said lord. Will gets to be curious, brave, stubborn and loyal. We also get to see Will's friend Horace, who tags along being strong, loyal, and talented, as well as a bit of apprentice diplomat Alyss (another of Will's castle friends) as she goes off diplomatting in her insightful, tactful, feisty way with Ranger Halt.
There's not much depth, but plenty of action and even a new girl on the adventure side. And the end throws in an extra Viking adventure, which promises to make book three even more fun. My sixth grader is eating these up, and I bet the fourth grader would like them as well if he'd open the book. B