The Sorcerer of the North is the 5th book in Australian writer John Flanagan’s sweeping and highly captivating Ranger’s Apprentice series. I inhaled the first 4 of these YA novels in December after hearing about them from a friend. Some of my favourite fiction over the past few years has been in the Young Adult novel category, yet I was a bit hesitant to start what seemed to be a fantasy series written more for a male audience. I needn’t have worried. Flanagan’s strong, clean style, dry humour and captivatingly complex characters soon had me hooked.
This book opens with the young Ranger, Will, journeying to accept his first posting as a Ranger in his own right, having spent the first 4 novels as an apprentice to the notorious, mysterious Halt. Will heads to the sleepy seaside fief that will be his assignment to settle in and act as the King’s eyes and ears. Like the blistering pace of the first novels, nothing stays as it seems for long. To the North, the lord of another fief is struck down by a mysterious illness and rumours of a legendary sorcerer have resurfaced. Will is thrust into a web of intrigue when the Ranger Corps asks him to visit the area posing as a simple jongleur/minstrel. When one of his closest friends ends up in jeopardy, Will discovers that it will take all of the skills learned from his famous mentor, Halt, as well as learning to trust his own instincts to discover who is friend and who is foe. The cliffhanger ending had me racing to the bookstore to buy the 6th book the same day I finished this one!
Don’t let the Young Adult label fool you. This series is fantasy at its finest in a rich setting with memorable characters that will enchant male and female readers alike!
Paperback format, 295 pages, published by Puffin Books