Book Review: Ranger’s Apprentice: The Battle for Skandia

The Battle For Skandia
Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 4
By John Flanagan

The Battle For Skandia, known by the title of Oakleaf Bearers outside of the United States, is the third book in what could be considered a trilogy. It wraps up various story threads tracing back to Book 2 and actually ends with all of the major storylines resolved.

With Spring approaching, Will and Evanlyn realize they will soon need to leave their hunting lodge in the Skandian mountains. With Will still recovering from his warmweed addiction, Evanlyn leaves to check their traps and is kidnapped by an advance scouting party for the Temujai, who are intent on invading Skandia.

Will follows the tracks back to the Temujai camp, and is reunited with Halt and Horace when the three of them rescue Evanlyn. They head back toward the Skandian border, but soon run into a group of Skandians, led by Erak. Halt convinces Erak that the Temujai are planning an invasion, and the two manage to convince Ragnak, the Skandian oberjarl, to allow Halt to help them fight the invaders.

I think one of the most interesting parts of this book was the relationships developing between Will and Evanlyn and Horace and Evanlyn. Many times she seems to be attracted to Horace, but then she clearly has feelings for Will. I kept wondering if she has genuine feelings for Will, or if their captivity and subsequent escape served to create a false romance between the two.

I also really enjoyed seeing the obvious respect between Will and Erak. It will be interesting to see the future of relations between Araluen and Skandia based on the growing friendship between these two.

I would recommend this book to fans of the series, if for no other reason than to see how the story threads are resolved. On the flip side, Flanagan leaves just enough potentially unresolved situations to make you want to continue reading. Like the rest of the series, the writing style is gripping and this book was very difficult to put down.

This review originally appeared 10 August 2012 on fantasyreviewer.com

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