This series follows Hal, a half Skandian, half Araluen boy, whom, if you’ve been paying attention in the last Ranger’s Apprentice book, is the guy who revolutionized the Heron sail pattern. He’s skinny and smart- about as un-Skandian as you can get, which probably explains the name of this book.
The Skandians have this school (brother band training) where they learn how to sail, fight, and be cool (not like Hal needs help, though). They are split up into three teams, the Sharks, Wolves, and Herons, and Hal is made the reluctant Skirl of the Herons. Honestly though, his teammates are even more reluctant about it than he is. I mean, you don’t usually pit a skinny, wimpy Araluen boy against burly, mountain-sized Skandians and expect to win. But since they’re mostly outcasts themselves, they haven’t got much complaining-power. Luckily for them, though, choosing Hal as their skirl may be the best decision they’ve ever made in their lives. Well, maybe.
With his trusty sidekick Stig (no, not stick) at his side, Hal tries his best to make the Herons the champion brother band of the year and prove himself…without being pulverized by Tursgud (Who seems to have something against Hal since the day he was born) in the process.
Ok, first off, this book was a lot of fun to read. Even in the slow-going parts. Despite the occasional parts of the book where the plot progressed at the speed of a Skandian ship on land, the book was a pretty entertaining first book. It was chock-filled with a cast of lovable characters, a promising plot delivered with wit and sophistication from a brilliant author. Come on, the ending was crazy. If you can read the book, and honestly say you’re not really excited for the second book to come out, you’re probably not human. Or maybe, you’re Tursgud, the big hairy brute everyone wants to dunk in a bucket of rotten ale.
I have high hopes for you, The Invaders! (That’s an understatement. I’m practically drooling. Shivering with mad anticipation.)
However, although I really liked the first book, I can’t help comparing this book to the Ranger’s Apprentice series, and sadly, I think the Ranger’s Apprentice series is slightly more interesting. So far. Well, at least the first four and last four books were. (The fifth and sixth books were more horrible than Tursgud and a bucket of rotten ale put together.)
I really like Hal, but he really has to stop his split personality thing. Sometimes he’s all bluster and pride, like, listen to me! i’m the boss, my boat is the coolest! And sometimes he’s oozing with self doubt and self pity, like, eh, don’t choose me as skirl, I suck. Oh and, I like him, but I’m finding it a little difficult having a crush on him. He just doesn’t seem very hot.
Score: All in all, I’d give this book a 7.2/10.
The Invaders: Here’s a little teaser I got off the net– Hal and the other outcasts meet an atractive girl that uses a curious weapon and has them tongue tied over each other. Nice. I haven’t met any girls (other than Hal’s mom) yet, so it’s about time, John no-girl Flanagan. But I really hope Hal falls in love with the right person, because John Flanagan already broke my heart once, marrying Will off to Alyss instead of Casasndra/Evanjalin. I mean, seriously?! Cassandra and Will were so good together, they practically spent two books being cool together, kicking Skandian butts together, saving each other’s lives, and then suddenly poof, Will gets married to Alyss. What. The. Hell. (If you haven’t read the Ranger’s Apprentice, you should really go read it, and sorry about announcing the horrible marriage to you)