Well, I have a problem. I like to quickly reread books before posting a review of them. Seems like a good idea, but then I get caught up in the story again, and all of a sudden time has passed, no review is written… It is a bigger problem when it is a series! So, my apologies for the delay.
Brotherband Chronicles is not a follow-up, but a companion to Ranger’s Apprentice. The stories takes place around the same time, and with many overlapping characters. It is just as exciting and compelling, so start with Book 1: The Outcasts, and lose yourself in the rough and tumble Skandian life this time.
16 year old Hal is an outcast in Hallasholm, son of a former Araluen slave (Karina) and a Skandian sea raider (Mikkel). His father was killed on a raid when Hal was barely more than a baby, and his mother raised him on her own. Thorn, his father’s best friend, a one time fierce seawolf, and a man facing his own demons, steps in to mentor Hal, at the request of Karina. Thorn is also a staunch and loyal friend to Hal and his mother, and their most steadfast defender and protector.
Hal spends his days working at his mother’s eating house, as well as apprenticing to the shipbuilder. But his life is about to change. Brotherband training starts soon, and he and twenty seven other young men will be learning the skills needed to join the ranks of the sailing crews of the wolfships.
Hal is elected the leader of a group of outcasts who must endure three months of brutal training, designed to form individuals into a close knit band of fighters. The Herons, named after the boat they built, competes against the Wolfs and Sharks to win the honour of top brotherband.
Like Will Treaty in Rangers’s Apprentice, Hal must overcome many obstacles. But he is a thinker, an inventor. He likes to solve problems and ponder ideas. He makes a good leader of his band of misfits; while he has confidence, he is not driven by his ego, and listens to the thoughts of his band. Which is good, because he has a habit of forgetting a few important details once in awhile. The other boys remind him. Brotherband training is about more than learning to fight, however. It is also about having each others’ backs, about standing up for your friends, about working together to achieve greatness.
Brotherband Chronicles follows Hal’s training and subsequent adventures, and is filled with colourful characters and sea-faring adventure.
There are, so far, five books in the series, with the story far from finished. There is the promise of more to come. Like its predecessor series, it is appropriate for all ages, and will appeal to boys and girls alike.
Brotherband Chronicles is written by John Flanagan and published by Puffin Books.