This blog began in 2009, and the posts come to you from the mouths of characters in the books. I've added my own thoughts too, in case you're interested. Cool, huh?! Older posts are a little different but should be equally interesting and helpful in finding good books. Click on the link below for posts about more realistic novels.
This book is the second in the series, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. Hal and his small, young Skandian crew head out to sea in search of the pirates who stole the Andomal, the most sacred Skandian artifact. The boys were disgraced in book one when they failed to protect the artifact and are now trying to redeem themselves. They land their ship after a lengthy time in stormy seas and must now fight the boredom and bickering among themselves. They'll be slaughtered by the pirates if they can't turn their lives around. The town drunk, Thorn, steps up to take over their training. However, the pirates have taken over a town and their numbers have grown; the Skandians are outnumbered almost ten to one. Is it possible for a crew of less than ten to defeat an army of cut-throat pirates? There's no doubt that Hal is in charge of his crew, but his creativity and planning skills will be seriously tested.
This series is very similar to "The Ranger's Apprentice". Hal is comparable to Will with his talents, intelligence, and leadership abilities. In book one, Hal invented a newly-designed ship that was faster and easier to maneuver than most other ships. In this book, Hal further improves on this design. He also adds a secret weapon that has the ability to severely damage enemy ships and structures. I enjoy the interaction of the characters in this series. Ingvar is a large, strong, likable, near-sighted boy full of self-doubt. The other boys, except Hal, tease him, and Hal tries to show everyone Ingvar's value. Ulf and Wulf are twins with personalities very much like the Weasley twins in the Harry Potter series. They're constantly messing with each other, but they're loyal brothers and crewmembers when things get serious.