Happy 8th Blogiversary to me tomorrow! Ah, from what humble beginnings does greatness proceed. (*cough*)
It's been such fun to connect with other bloggers and readers as well as authors. The blog has also served as a great auxiliary memory, and has led to fun things like being a Cybils committee organizer, reviewing for Young Adult Books Central, and being a part of the Kidlitosphere. Eight more years? Why not?
So, this weekend is still fairly snow covered. When my daughter asked me what I was doing today, I replied "Well, I need to do three modules of my online class for recertification, and then I'll try to read three books and review them." Oh, I did figure out what I SHOULD have named my blog: Welcome Tome. Drat.
Her reply? "Wow. You sure know how to have an exciting, exciting day."
Of course, she then went up to her room to spend the day writing up science labs and studying for some giant history test, so it's not like being 15 made her day any more exciting.
My loyal dog, Sylvie (who is insisting today that she is changing her name to "S'LV!") curled up at my side, and we spent some time with the latest John Flanagan. It came in about two weeks ago but has already checked out five times. I always joke with students when they check out a book that I haven't read yet, and tell them to bring the book back Friday on their way out of the building so that I can read it. Luckily, Jacob V. took me up on that! Reading The Royal Ranger was certainly more fun than my class!
Flanagan, John. The Royal Ranger (The Ranger's Apprentice #12)
November 5th 2013
Horace and Cassandra's teenage daughter Maddie likes to sneak out of the castle and go hunting, oblivious to the dangers that await an heir to the throne. At the same time, their friend Will is grieving the death of Alyss and vowing to bring her murderer, Jory Ruhl, to justice. Hoping to solve two problems at once, they decide to have Maddie trained as the first female Ranger... by Will. Maddie shows up at Will's humble cabin with a maid and tons of luggage, and is dismayed that training is so hard. She does the work, however, and manages to bond with her new horse, Bumper, and learn to use weapons. After investigating the death of another Ranger, Liam, the two realize that children in nearby communities are disappearing, Will and Maddie go undercover and find a larger, devious plan in place. Can Will overcome his grief and rage to solve the problem? And will Maddie's skills as a Ranger be up to the task?
Strengths: It's hard to describe how popular these books are at my library. I enjoy them, too, even though they are the sort of medieval quasi fantasy that isn't quite my cup of tea. The writing is fluid, the characters are sympathetic, and the descriptions of life, weapons, battles, etc. are very vivid. Better take this back on Monday, because readers are waiting!
Weaknesses: This was disappointingly predictable. Maddie's snotty at first (which I didn't quite believe), then sees the error of her ways. Will is wracked with grief, but gets through it by educating Maddie. Even Jory Ruhl comes to a fairly predictable end. And really, with Cassandra and Alyss's behavior in the past, we are surprised that a girl can be a Ranger? I would have liked it more if Maddie had been reluctant to be one, or if she was a successful one and then decided life at the castle wasn't so bad-- anything that would have been a bit of a twist. Knew all too soon every turn that this would take.