Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: The Kings of Clonmel - John Flanagan

Synopsis: When mankind seeks protection from the world's many dangers, they put their faith in warriors, kings, gods, and even money. In the neighboring kingdom of Clonmel, a mysterious cult has sprung up, promising defense against lawless marauders in exchange for people's riches. Their sermons are attracting audiences from miles around, but there's a dark side to this seemingly charitable group, prompting Halt, Will, and Horace to investigate. What the trio uncovers could threaten the safety of not only Clonmel, but their homeland of Araluen as well.

Review: This one was way better than The Sorcerer of the North, The Siege of Macindaw, or even Erak's Ransom. It picks up where The Siege of Macindaw left off - Will is a full-fledged Ranger, he and Alyss are well aware of each other's feelings (but don't worry; it isn't mushy), and Will is making quite a name for himself.

But best of all - Halt is once more a prominent character, which I really think is what The Sorcerer of the North and The Siege of Macindaw was lacking. Not only that - we Readers get to learn a lot more about Halt's past. I confess that I am divided about that. On one end, it is interesting to finally discover more about the Ranger, but at the same time Halt is one of those characters that Readers aren't meant to know a lot about. A layer of mystery is supposed to surround them; it is part of what makes those sorts of characters so appealing. I think that if Flanagan reveals too much more about Halt, he runs the risk of ruining him (please don't!!).

Flanagan blessedly sticks to mere skirmishes and single-combat scenes, which he can write without it being a huge muddle. That is another plus for this book - the story doesn't become bogged down with scenes that the Author just isn't cut out to write. There is no serious build-up of suspense - no massive revelations of secrets (except Halt's past, but if you have read The Icebound Land, it won't come as too big of a surprise) - and I found it perfectly fine. It reverted back to what was more at the heart of The Ruins of Gorlan and The Burning Bridge: the villain's overall intentions are clear enough, which leaves room of the Author to focus on the villain himself; how he is accomplishing it, how he operates.

All in all, I enjoyed The Kings of Clonmel. It felt much more like Flanagan's first two books - which are, in my opinion, surprisingly the best, - and I hope that Halt's Peril (which I just went out and bought) is just as good, if not better.

Overall Rating: 

Other Books in the Ranger's Apprentice Series:
1)The Ruins of Gorlan
2)The Burning Bridge
3)The Icebound Land
4)The Battle for Skandia
5)The Sorcerer of 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

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