Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: The Lost Stories - John Flanagan

Synopsis: They were mysterious. Some claim they were merely the stuff of legend - the Rangers with their mottled green-and-gray cloaks and their reputation as defenders of the Kingdom. Reports of their brave battles vary, but we know of at least ten accounts, most of which feature a boy - turned man - named Will and his mentor, Halt. There are reports, as well, of others who fought alongside the Rangers, such as the young warrior Horace, a courageous princess named Evanlyn, and a cunning diplomat named Alyss.
Yet this crew left very little behind and their existence has never been able to be proved. Until now, that is . . . Behold the Lost Stories.

Review: At last, here it is - the official last Ranger's Apprentice book, though technically it is not an "11th book," because it is a collection of short stories. But some things would not make sense if the Reader had not read the previous ten.

To put my opinion of this book bluntly: it was what I expected, and many of the stories were so clearly fan-questions-based. The last two in the collection I didn't think needed to even be included. It is a logical assumption that Will and Alyss marry, and as for the ingenious breeding program the Rangers have for their horses . . . Well, honestly, that story just left me feeling hollow and even cheated (when you read it, you'll understand why). The other stories gave interesting background insight into the time when Morgarath was still a threat, which I enjoyed thoroughly - especially the one entitled The Hibernian. It was nice to see how Halt first joined the Rangers, and I thought that particular story was executed with great precision. Some stories, like Dinner for Five, Purple Prose, and The Roamers were a little silly. Perhaps 'silly' isn't the correct word for The Roamers, but I wish the Author had thought of a better storyline than Ebony being kidnapped. When animal characters start being the main focus of a dangerous mission, it begins to feel like the Author is stretching a bit.

Probably the most aggravating aspect of these stories was the continuous mention of coffee. I had noticed how incessantly coffee is mentioned in the other books - especially Erak's Ransom, - but for some reason it really hit me just how much the Author talks about coffee when I started reading The Lost Stories. We get it! The Rangers LOVE coffee! I an not exaggerating when I say that there was only two stories that did not mention coffee; all the rest mentioned it at least three to four times. Then, of course, there are some of the Author's name choices. I have always found his collection of names rather entertaining. He'll have names like Morgarath, and then throw in something like Norman, Dilbert, or - my personal favorite - using the name "Jerome" for a Gypsy. Hmmm.

But enough with that. I really did like The Lost Stories. I thought it was entertaining and a justifiable excuse to write an 11th book. In some ways, it was nice to see little bits of the story being wrapped up. Anyone who owns Ranger's Apprentice shouldn't leave The Lost Stories out of their collection.

Overall Rating: 

Others 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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