Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fickle Will: Sorcerer of the North

The Sorcerer of the NorthIn the next installment of Jack Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series, Will is fully adult, an accredited ranger.  We don't even get to see his grueling Ranger Trials, which he apparently passed with flying, er, camouflaged colors.  Instead, the nineteen year old Will sets off on an undercover investigation in The Sorcerer of the North, which he finishes in The Siege of Macindaw.

The Siege of MacindawLuckily he has backup.  Besides his trusty and ever-young horse Tug, he acquires a dog, who will eventually have just the right name, although Will doesn't manage to come up with it during the first book.  Almost as useful as Dog is Alyss, his orphan companion who now serves as a promising diplomat.  That orphan class of Will's is very accomplished, with three of them at the top of their respective professions.  I expect we'll eventually get back to see the super-chef and uber-scribe that made up the rest of the group.  Anyway, Will and Alyss fail to penetrate the mystery of the north, but luckily events force them into an understanding of the situation, Will gets to demonstrate his wall-climbing skills, and then the book ends with Alyss in PERIL, possibly magical PERIL.  And Will has a major crush on Alyss, just like he did with the princess.  But since he is almost entirely unself-aware, he doesn't think of himself as fickle, even when flirting with the local bar maid.  Horace, who also shows up to join in the fun, finds their clumsiness baffling; as a straight-forward warrior, he can't see why they never talk to each other.  Horace and Will get to do lots of battling, sometimes alongside some handy Skandians, while Alyss deals in exploits of the mind.

The heroes relied a bit heavily on luck in the first book, but lots of non-stop action in the second kept me happy.  B

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