Unfortunately this book felt less like a well planned and edited book and more like a collection of Live Journal entries. I read a fair few Joss WhedoUnfortunately this book felt less like a well planned and edited book and more like a collection of Live Journal entries. I read a fair few Joss Whedon related books, often hoping to catch a little more insight. In this one, though, there was little insight because I am one of these women - I could have written my own Buffy story and fit right in.
The thing that irked me the most was the number of writers who say they didn't get into Buffy until later, and even though they say it was a mistake, it's shrouded in a kind of 'I was too cool for fandom, or this fandom anyway' feeling. There's little room in this collection for those of us who were there in the beginning, and little/no mention of the Bronze, which had such a massive influence during the early Buffy days.
All in all, not the best read I've ever read and not one I'd recommend to long term Whedon fans. Maybe good for those just hopping on board....more
Ben discovers he has a year to live. Instead of doing anything about his blood disease, instead of telling anyone, he decides to keep it secret and toBen discovers he has a year to live. Instead of doing anything about his blood disease, instead of telling anyone, he decides to keep it secret and to grab life whole heartedly. But that's not all the book is about. It's about love and brotherhood and the pain of mental disease. It's about being 18 and convinced that there's some things that are black and white and having to accept the shades of grey.
It's not a perfect book - at times the main character seems too perfect, at times you just want to shake the whole lot of them. But the more I think on it, the more I think of the inconsistencies as something to be considered.
Not everyone is going to get or like this book. I don't even think I'd recommend it, because you'd never know if the person would like it or not (recommending is such a personal thing). But I enjoyed reading it, particularly the later parts of the book, and I'm glad I did come across it....more
So I've finally finished the published Ranger's Apprentice books (don't fear - John Flanagan pointed out in the talk I was at on Thursday that there wSo I've finally finished the published Ranger's Apprentice books (don't fear - John Flanagan pointed out in the talk I was at on Thursday that there will be at least one more). I'll start with my thoughts on the Lost Stories and then move back to the series as a whole.
This is a series of short stories covering everything from how Will's parents really died, through to random adventures through to more important milestones. The stories are short and easily digestible, which was good because there were some I liked more than others. While these stories fill in some holes, they also create a few more which is also fun for any reader young or old. I particularly liked the way the stories were bookended with the story of an archaeology dig in the 19th century uncovering the stories.
As for the series as a whole - well I can understand why they're so popular with my students now. They are fantasy - but like Harry Potter, they're set in a world close enough to ours to be easily relatable. They're set in a medieval-like world, which brings the knights and princesses which are so fascinating - but the world is fantastical enough to allow women to take on greater roles and conditions to be a little more palatable. There's adventure, grizzled mentors, humour and great friendship. All in all, a great series for both boys and girls to read, and one that many adults would probably enjoy as well....more
The premise of this book was great - a father and daughter share years together through daily read-aloud known as The Streak. I was hoping it would beThe premise of this book was great - a father and daughter share years together through daily read-aloud known as The Streak. I was hoping it would be a love story to reading.
In a way it was, but mostly it was a memoir of other things that were happening. Things that would have happened whether The Streak happened or not. It was mostly nice, but not necessarily memorable or enlightening - especially when it came to reading. And neither father or daughter are portrayed as people I'd really want to know. It was, in the end, a good and easy read, but sadly it didn't live up to my, admittedly high, expectations....more
As I pointed out after reading book four, the first four books read as a prologue and a trilogy. Now the story picks up at a totally new place in timeAs I pointed out after reading book four, the first four books read as a prologue and a trilogy. Now the story picks up at a totally new place in time, five years into the future. Will is a fully qualified Ranger now, with his own area to look after - and his own missions to get caught in. However, when a seemingly regular mission takes a turn for the worse, Will has to make some hard decisions.
I like grown-up Will quite a lot, but I'm glad he has kept some of his more child-like qualities. His exasperation about not being able to play music as well as he would like, his attraction to different girls, his relationship with his horse Tug and now Dog, his . . . dog, are all things that make his an attractive character to children.
After I finished book 4, I complained about a lack of women and called for a return of the diplomatic service. This book readily filled that need for me with the return of Alyss, Will's friend, fellow ward and first love interest. She continues to be a fascinating character, both to Will and the reader.
This book does end of a cliff hanger, which may be exasperating to some readers, but it's a surefire way to keep kids reading onto the next book in a series :)...more
In a way, this book reads as the conclusion of a trilogy. I could easily see book one as a prequel, with books 2 and 3 setting up the story for a greaIn a way, this book reads as the conclusion of a trilogy. I could easily see book one as a prequel, with books 2 and 3 setting up the story for a great conclusion here. And it really is a great conclusion.
This book is primarily set in Skandia, and just as we think all might be alright, with Halt and Horace finally catching up with Will and Evanlyn, they're plunged into more danger as a new group of warriors - more overwhelming than ever seen before - threaten the Skandians and nations beyond.
I often say that a great author or story can make you care about something you've never really cared about before. Flanagan does this throughout the book, particularly with archery. He also makes the war planning interesting and at times hilarious.
I recognize that these are children's books - they have great child characters doing exciting things; they have a focus on animals that a lot of children like; the nations they visit and talk about are portrayed in a somewhat stereotypical manner. But for adult readers, there's wonderful adult characters, particularly Halt.
My one complaint would be the lack of female characters - Evanlyn is it for this book. In discussions with one of my students today, he wondered whether this had to do with the war nature of the book, considering when it was set. I agreed, but also mentioned that I would have loved to see an appearance of Lady Pauline of the diplomatic service. A very interesting conversation :)
All in all, I highly recommend this book and would suggest that the series would be perfect for male and female readers from 9 up ...more
I managed to whiz through this one in a day, completely enthralled by the duel stories going on.
Will and 'Evanlyn' are on their way to Skandia, as priI managed to whiz through this one in a day, completely enthralled by the duel stories going on.
Will and 'Evanlyn' are on their way to Skandia, as prisoners and soon to be slaves. Meanwhile, Halt is driven to distraction over orders that he hunt down a missing enemy, rather than hunt for Will. He orchestrates a case of treason against himself, gets banished from the kingdom (for a year) and heads out accompanied by Horace to search for the prisoners.
This book already has a more mature approach than the previous two. Will battles a drug addiction which leaves him basically unable to do anything. 'Evanlyn' continues to struggle with who she is and who she thinks she should be. Meanwhile Halt and Horace deal with one of the nastier villains so far.
This is a book younger children would enjoy as an adventure, while older children would be able to examine the themes further. ...more
This is the second book in the series, and enough to get me completely hooked. This time, things are getting more and more serious, with war moved froThis is the second book in the series, and enough to get me completely hooked. This time, things are getting more and more serious, with war moved from 'approaching' to 'right here actually'. Will is forced to move away from the protective support of Halt, stepping out more and more on his own. We also have to return of Horace and the introduction of the awesome 'Evanlyn' who may not be who she says she is.
The book isn't perfect. At times it's clear it's written for a 10 year old audience, which means those of us with slightly older inference skills can work out exactly what's going on. But the characters still remain richly drawn, with enough back story to make you want more. I completely understand why the boys in my class have enjoyed these books for so long. I only wish I'd come to them sooner....more
My students were shocked when they realized I hadn't read this book. Sincerely, so was I, especially since it was one of the biggest successes of my cMy students were shocked when they realized I hadn't read this book. Sincerely, so was I, especially since it was one of the biggest successes of my classroom last year. But finally, spurred on by the fact I'm taking a group of kids to meet the author soon, I picked it up . . .
Quick disclaimer. I'm not a mad fantasy reader. I love Harry Potter, have read the Hobbit and enjoyed a few other fantasy books, but usually my tastes lie elsewhere.
But I loved this! It was such a strong world, filled with a society that I would honestly love to live in. I absolutely love Will, who isn't right all the time, who is small but brave. But more than him, I adore Halt and the other adults who fill the world.
This is a middle grade book, rather than a young adults book - think 9-13 year olds. I highly recommend it to young boy readers, but girls will enjoy them too. If you're a year 4 to 7 teacher, try to get them into your classroom asap :)...more