Book Review: Ranger’s Apprentice: The Icebound Land

The Icebound Land
Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 3
By John Flanagan

The Icebound Land begins with Will and Evanlyn still captives of the Skandian mercenary Erak and his crew. Summer gales force the Skandian wolfship to weather on a small island, Skorghijl. While Will seeks for some method of escape, Evanlyn is content to wait for diplomacy to set them free. The Skandians are soon joined by another wolfship, and Evanlyn learns that Ragnak, the leader of Skandia, has made a death vow against her family. Realizing that diplomacy will not be able to save her now, Evanlyn agrees to help Will find a way to escape.

Meanwhile, tired of hunting bandits while Will is held captive, Halt arranges to be exiled from Araluen so he can rescue his apprentice. He is soon joined by Horace, who has been given unofficial leave to help Halt on his quest. They spend the next few months making their way towards Skandia, while Horace’s growing reputation as a warrior attracts every knight looking to prove himself.

After a failed escape attempt, Will and Evanlyn are watched too close to make a second try. The storms finally die away, and they are taken to the Skandian capitol. Evanlyn is sent to the kitchens, while Will is sent to work in the harsh Skandian outdoors. He quickly become addicted to warmweed, a drug which gives the illusion of warmth while turning the user into a mindless addict.

While Skandians seem to be generally cruel as a people, The Icebound Land shows that at least some Skandians are not as heartless as they appear. I also really enjoyed the interactions between Halt and Horace as they travel to rescue Will. Horace has been trained in the art of chivalry and honor, while the Ranger Corps often works behind the scenes, engaging in activities which are less than legal.

This book is a worthy addition to the Ranger’s Apprentice series. Anyone interested in the continuing adventures of Will and Halt should read this book.

This review originally appeared 3 August 2012 on fantasyreviewer.com

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