Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brotherband Chronicles #1: The Outcasts by John Flanagan

This book is a spin-off from The Ranger's Apprentice series, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. Hal is the son of a great Skandian warrior, but his mother is Araluen. He becomes an outcast after his father dies, and the other children make fun of his mother. However, things change when Hal joins the Brotherhood training, when Skandian boys learn to become warriors. He becomes the skirl, or leader, of a band of boys who are also unliked by others. His crew is made up of a hot-head, a thief, a powerful boy who can't see more than three feet in front of his face, and twins who argue with each other about the simplest things. They must work together despite these problems to defeat the crew led by the Skandian bully.

I like plots that deal with underdogs overcoming impossible situations. Hal uses his brain to outthink his opponents and to teach his crew to work together. The Brotherhood training offers many opportunities to create problems and to introduce action. A subplot involves pirates who want to steal the Skandians greatest treasure. This problem leads into a sequel. You'll probably enjoy this book if you enjoyed Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series.

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