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Ranger’s Apprentice #2: The Burning Bridge
by John Flanagan
“Self-doubt is a disease. And if it gets out of control, it becomes self-fulfilling.”
Will and Horace are assigned to accompany the Ranger Gilan in a diplomatic mission requesting aid and troops from their allies in Celtica. Along the way, they find abandoned villages and mines, and find out from a young Lady’s maid that the people have been fleeing Wargals, beasts from Morgarath’s army, sent to kidnap them.
Unclear as to why Morgarath has a need for the villagers, the heroes follow a band of Wargals and their prisoners to the edge of the Fissure, a great impassable canyon that separates Morgarath’s army from their lands. To their horror, they find that the captured men have been used to build a bridge allowing Morgarath’s army to cross the fissure with ease. With only a few days left before it’s completion, Will and Horace must find a way of stopping the army from crossing.
After reading the first book, I couldn’t wait to pick this one up. John Flanagan did not disappoint with this sequel. While the characters have grown in maturity and strength, they still have doubts about their abilities, making it easy for the reader to sympathize. They now have to make choices on their own, without their mentors guiding them, and with the weight of their kingdom on their shoulders.
The characters are even more lovable in this book, and a delight to laugh with. Although this is an appalling lack of Will’s mentor, Halt (he’s got the best dry humor I’ve seen in a book), the story is as gripping as the first. Though it ended very differently than I expected, it was an exciting twist and one that made me scramble for the third installment (I had to wait two days before I got the next one. I was furious). Again, these books are a great read for anyone who has enjoyed Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Eragon and Percy Jackson.
Content Concerns: Fighting, slight self esteem issues(very minor), War, Peril
Language: 0/10 No glaringly obvious situations that dealt with verbal abuse or swear words.
Violence: 4/10 It was a bit violent with the bullying and there are a couple of fight scenes to be aware of.
p. 3-4 A character is hit with a spear, a few Wargals are killed.
p. 81-85 Fighting with Bandits. Not very descriptive. One gets knocked out and the other fights with a main character. They are threatened while being questioned, but it’s all fairly tame.
p. 111 Talk of hanging bandits.
p. 123-125 Prisoners are beaten by Wargals. A bit more descriptive here, but still at the PG/PG-13 range.
p. 215 Someone gets slapped.
p. 226-233 Main battle. Not a lot of description until the end.
p. 240-241 Small skirmish leaves one dead.
p. 260-261 A character fires arrows at kidnappers.
Sexual Content: 1/10 One mention of a kiss from the previous book, and a little bit of attraction and jealousy over a girl. Very subtle and if you blink you’d miss it.
Check out my reviews for other books in the series!