Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Review: Oakleaf Bearers by John Flanagan (Ranger's Apprentice #4)

Publisher - Corgi Yearling
Publication Date - 5th June 2008
Paperback - 352 pages
Genre - YA Fantasy

Source - Received from publisher for review

Rating - 2 out of 5: It was ok

Reviewed by - Chrissie

Book Info - Just as spring approaches and Will and Evanlyn can finally escape Skandia, Evanlyn is carried off by mysterious horsemen. Will sets out after them, but one boy against six fierce Temujai warriors is impossible odds - even for a Ranger's apprentice. Halt and Horace arrive just in time. But the happiness of their reunion is cut short when Halt realizes these Temujai are only scouts for a massive invasion force. The four Araluans must work together with the Skandians to defeat their invaders - if the Oberjarl will accept their help.

My Thoughts - This is the fourth book that I have read in the Ranger's Apprentice series and, although I am enjoying the series as a whole, this one has been the least enjoyable for me so far. My main problem was that it was just far too focused on war for my liking. I'm not a big fan of books about war and this book is full of talk about strategy and preparation and then, later on in the book, the actual war itself. I found myself getting quite bored with it all and skimming through several pages. However, I noticed that the next book in the series seems to go off in a very different direction so I will still be continuing with the series.

As usual, Flanagan has created a cast of loveable characters who I am really enjoying getting to know as they are growing up and developing their skills. Will went through some tough times in the previous book in the series and Oakleaf Bearers show him getting his strength back and regaining the skills that he learnt previously under Halt's direction before he was held hostage by the Skandians. By the end of the book Will reaches Hero proportions again and I loved seeing his confidence grow along with his abilities as a Ranger.

I love Halt and Horace, and their interactions provide some light relief in an otherwise serious book. Halt loves to tease Horace and, as he is quite innocent and niave, Horace never even realises what Halt is doing. However, I didn't much like Evanlyn in this book. She comes across as spoiled and likes having the attention of both Will and Horace and at times plays them off against each other. This is a new side of Evanlyn that the reader hasn't seen before and I hope that she has matured a little more in the next book in the series.

Summary - This is a book full of great characters but the plot was far too war-orientated for my liking. Not a book for people who, like me, finds war talk boring.

Other books in this series:
1. The Ruins of Gorlan
2. The Burning Bridge
3. The Icebound Land
4. Oakleaf Bearers
5. The Sorcerer in the North
6. The Siege of Macindaw
7. Erak's Ransom
8. The Kings of Clonmel
9. Halt's Peril
10. The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
11. The Lost Stories

Other reviews of this book:
Medieval Bookworm / The Book Reviewer

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #26 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge


Jenny said...

I still haven't even started the first one but I'll try to keep an open mind when and if I get to this one. I hate books about war. :(

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

I really enjoyed the first book so I hope you will too. Not all of the series is so focused on war so don't let this review put you off :)

Lauren's Loquacious Lit said...

I am a HUGE fan of this series and I actually really liked this book. It's not my favourite of the series, but I love the details of the strategy and tactics. I often find myself learning new things or thinking about things from different perspectives. I love that Flanagan doesn't treat his readers as stupid, he teaches them and respects that they're capable of understanding things like that.

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

Lauren - Aah, if you liked all the details of the strategy etc I can see why you loved this book. But that level of detail just wasn't to my taste. I'm glad to hear you're such a big fan of the series though and I'm looking forward to continuing on with the books myself :)

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