Review Blog

Feb 01 2019

Duel at Araluen by John Flanagan

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Rangers Apprentice: The Royal Ranger Book 3. Random House, 2018. ISBN: 9780143785927.
(Age: 11-15) Highly recommended. Themes: Adventure; Battle; Royalty; Heroism. As the third book in the Royal Ranger series it is apparent that much has gone before, leading to the incredibly capable Princess Cassandra having to defend her injured father, King Duncan, and the remnant of soldiers in the Castle, while trapped high within the fortified south tower. Her husband, Sir Horace and the Ranger Commandant, Gilan, are similarly trapped in an old hill fort, but far away, and unable to provide the rescue the Princess will need to remain in power. The orchestration of this two-pronged attack on the ruling authority of Araluen is down to Dimon, and it looks like he has the upper hand. His engineers have also devised a rather interesting device to launch an assault. If nothing else he just needs to wait until all food and water is used up within the Castle and the other fortress and he can take control of Araluen on his own. But, he has no idea that he will be brought undone because of a young female apprentice Ranger (Princess Cassandra and Sir Horace's daughter, Maddie) and the Brotherband of Skandians who, with their intense fighting skills, will be a formidable and surprise force to be reckoned with.
John Flanagan knows how to write an exciting and dramatic adventure, and even though I have not read all of his books, those I have read I have not been able to put down. (Younger readers devour every book in each series!) There is fighting, tension, incredible 'warrior' strategy and some odd moments of humour from the interesting characters. It would be unusual for anyone to dislike this book in the spin-off series from the standard Rangers Apprentice series. (Note: Book one in the Royal Ranger series was originally published as Book 12 in the Rangers Apprentice series. The Brotherband series is a stand-alone series, but the two become linked at various points.)
The delight of this book is the heroine Maddie rising to reveal her training as a Ranger has not been in vain, and her ability to lead and strategise to solve problems in conflict is only matched by her skills to evade detection.
Highly recommended for readers aged 11-15. (Both male and female readers will love the action and adventure.)
Carolyn Hull

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