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THE ICEBOUND LAND by John Flanagan

THE ICEBOUND LAND

From the Ranger's Apprentice series, volume 3

By John Flanagan

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-399-24456-8
Publisher: Philomel

A mild case of middle-volume-itis afflicts the third episode in this increasingly popular fantasy series, as Flanagan alternates short chapters to weave a double-stranded tale that advances the main story only an inch or two while filling out the page count with incidental adventures and repetitive explanations. In the odd-numbered chapters, Will and Evanlyn, enslaved by Skandian (Viking) captors in the previous volume, manage to escape into the snowy northern mountains, but only after Will acquires an addiction to warmweed, a brain-numbing narcotic. In the even-numbered ones, Will’s Ranger mentor Halt and talented knight-in-training Horace set out through Gallica (France) on a rescue mission, and are themselves temporarily imprisoned by a cruel robber baron. The author hasn’t expended much effort to develop original cultures or characters, but—repeated side comments and references to past events aside—his fluent writing, engaging protagonists and credibly choreographed fight scenes will keep readers involved. (Fantasy. 11-13)