Who is responsible in Kill Decision

Moving is terrible. So after we finally started unpacking, I got to settle down finally with a new book.  Kill Decision was recommended by someone I respect, and I decided to read it. It was good, especially once the plot got underway after the Wiki-pedia-esque articles in the beginning. I liked the storyline and characters, but ended up trying to figure out what really happened at the end. It took me two times to read about what happened to Ritter, and I still don’t know who was behind the attacks. Still, it was a good read, although a bit nebulous. Responsible parties never get their due.

Reading books like this one will make you paranoid about every little thing you do online. Be careful using you Amazon gift card or when  reloading it, some shadowy organization might be tracking everything you buy, know how much you have to spend, and target your life aspirations based on your demographics. For example, they’ll start targeting your email address with things that influence your life (e.g. anniversary coming up, pop the questions?? Hmmm…. I read that Target did something like this, and consumers wre creeped-out!


The bookends for Ranger Apprentices

So, I couldn’t just leave the series, because I enjoyed the previous books so much. I ended up reading this one in a rush, too, just to get my fix on the characters. The short stories were fun, and tied off some loose ends nicely. However, I was a bit sad that there would be no more wild adventures.  That being said, the author cleverly inserted an advertisement for the next series he’s writing “The Brotherband Chronicles.” So I’ll have to see how those do for intricate plot and world building.  The funniest thing about the Rangers Apprentice Series that I still remember are some of the conversations between the characters. One of my favorite parts was when Will says some negative things about Crowley’s hide and then he says, “He’s right behind me, isn’t he?” and of course, he is. Then ofcourse, Crowley gets him back during his graduation ceremony with t he “You go on now, look for that oakleaf pin on the floor.” The hijinx were very funny, and I can’t think of another book series where there were so many digs  between characters. No one was spared.

The last full book in the Rangers Apprentice Series

It was a perfect end to the series, with more friends being made and each lead character becoming more strong, able, and confident than they were before they started.  Usually, when i read books with lots of main characters, I have trouble remembering  who each person is. however, with these  books, the character development has been so deep that each person’s facets shine brightly and influence their actions so consistently that I have no trouble.    

The emperor of nihon-ja was refreshing, even though it was the 10th book on these characters. The introduction of yet another culture, the Japanese, was a terrific angle.  Also, the contrast in fighting styles between western and eastern techniques, and the tactics used to fortify the battlefield positions was worth reading. I truly enjoyed the strategic discussions about the lay of the land, the mentality of the soldiers, and the comparisons between good leaders and bad ones.  The tensions between Alyss and Evanlyn escalate as they journey across on a diplomatic mission together, and they finally confront each other over their feelings for Will. What’s not to like?  Everyone in the book has an amazing adventure, and the final battle is worth reading over if only for the learning about how different warrior strategies would fare against each other.  Fascinating descriptions of battle on a foreign terrain, and through it all, the relationships between all the characters become more true and close.  

These books are unlike the ones I read by Hobb, Tolkien, and others. Instead of narrowing in on one person, Flanagan’s books tend to fill out the world and develop the shared memories, histories, and strengths of the characters.  I couldn’t believe I had read all 10 books within two weeks.

Whoaa! halt in danger?

This was amazing for the fighting in the creepy dead forest.  Whoa-nelly. The tension when they are hunting the assassins was so thick I couldn’t put the book down.  Literally, I was glued to the series of events from the time they started tracking the assassins, to the injury, and to will’s resolution of the situation in the end. Will’s turn in character at the last knife flight was startling, as he is now showing signs of his efficiency and level headed thinking about enemies. No longer can I read the book and think of Will as a kid, he really becomes a young man as he rides and fights for someone he cares about. I guess that’s the mark of adulthood, when one begins to think beyond the self and sacrifices all they can for another’s well being.  It was a beautiful story about a mentee saving his mentor’s life, and the lengths that we’ll all go through for those who have taught us well.  Another beautiful part of the story is the inclusion of the sorcerer, Malcolm, in this series. He added a great does of non-warrior humanity, bringing the perspective of the reader closer to the plot and understanding the unique circumstances that the others live by. The earthquake and fireworks at the end were spectacular! A must read on the way to completing the series.

Started with this one

So I started reading the series with book 8, and it was so good that I ended up going back and reading the whole 10-part series, including the summary short stories.  As soon as I was introduced to the world of the Rangers, and how they survive, I was mesmerized. I was also impressed to hear that they actually do have “Ranger Camps” where young teenagers can learn the art of unseen movement, knife tactics and other survival skills. Sounds like a great time. I think the most memorable aspect for me about this book, after months have passed, is how Halt, will and Horace ribbed each other. When Horace says that he doesn’t imagine a ranger could ever lie, he also cheekily mentions the time Halt told him that some ladies wearing skimpy outfits were messengers. The way it was said though, you could tell that Horace is getting even with Halt about not believing that Halt had a particularly high rank. It also reminded me of one of my favorite conversations between the two of them that was essentially an echo of “What?” “what?”… etc. I cried tears, it was so funny.

A strange journey, full of intrigue

This book took the characters in an unexpected turn, but was very exciting. The introduction of the Arridi race was fascinating, along with the focus on the difference in Ranger tactics used in arid climates.  My favorite part was the conversations between riders and horse, culminating in a race between a palomino stallion and Tug. The way the strangers meet up and collaborate was also interesting, and the plot had me in suspense up until the very end. I also approve of the way the princess steps up in this book.  Love reading about strong female characters, and during the execution scene the Princess does not disappoint. Although this is not as central to the Rangers Apprentice series as the other books, it was riveting and fun to read. I tore through this whole series, as the plot and setting in every book was so different but so great. Most of all, the dialogue and character development had me in stitches.  Love the interplay between the main characters, and the focalization on the mentor/mentee relationship.

The lynchpin book for the Rangers Apprentice Series

This was a great book, mainly because all the events leading up to it were so suspenseful. The pieces finally fall into place where all the characters are in motion here. Will takes center stage and Horace and Alyss also come through as strong lead characters. Also, the saga of the Skandians is mirthful and they bring the best comic relief to any tense battle situation.  The knife fight in the forest was heart-stopping and so were the tower scenes with Alyss. This was a book to reward all those who have been hooked on the series, and in my view the best one in the series in terms of plot.  

So my favorite part was the very end, when people are trying to ride over others by asserting authority. Horace, who is smart but seems like a jock, comes right out and lays down the truth. His simple words refute any argument and smacks those who are truly negligent with the facts. He reminds me of someone I know who has a gift for stating the obvious at precisely the right time to let others know that they are in the wrong.  In fact, how great it is to say simply “you have no right to assert any authority if you can’t wield your power well.”  That means, if you have authority, you’re supposed to take care of things– otherwise you don’t deserve the authority and you are not worthy of the position. If people work for you, you take care of them. Its that simple. Otherwise, they won’t work for you for long and you’re not in charge if your folks are subverting your authority to get the job done. Anyway, it was a GREAT summary to the situation at hand by Horace. go horace!