Review: The Battle of Hackham Heath | Emotional and Thrilling

Review: The Battle of Hackham Heath | Emotional and ThrillingThe Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flanagan
Series: Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years #2
Published by Philomel Books on November 29, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Format: Paperback
Pages: 346
Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | The King's English
Goodreads
five-stars

When the former Baron Morgarath escaped to avoid punishment for treason, an uneasy peace fell on Araluen. But Morgarath, now in hiding, is already planning his next move, recruiting an army of savage, overpowering beasts known as Wargals. Newly crowned King Duncan knows he must assemble his troops for battle.

To find out the full extent of Morgarath’s plan of attack, Halt prepares for a seemingly impossible task—climbing the deadly cliffs of the Mountains of Rain and Night and venturing deep into enemy territory to spy. After all, the winner of this war could be determined by one wrong move.

At the Battle of Hackham Heath, the fate of a Kingdom will be decided. This origin story of how Halt came to be Araluen’s most famous Ranger – and how war will decide the future of the next generation – will thrill Ranger’s Apprentice fans and new readers alike.

Wow. It felt unbelievably good to be back in the world of Ranger’s Apprentice. I have been reading these books for the last decade (literally) and am so loving Flanagan’s Early Years series.

After reading The Tournament at Gorlan, I was a tad worried picking this one up that I wouldn’t love it. I enjoyed The Tournament at Gorlan but I didn’t absolutely love it. I was worried that I was finally outgrowing the series. I’m happy to report I am not. The Battle of Hackham Heath was emotional and thrilling. I couldn’t read fast enough.

It really is a joy to see Halt and Crowley in their prime, and seeing all of the Rangers together is a real treat. Halt is his normal grumpy self, and Crowley is apparently quite the charmer when he wants to be. King Duncan’s wife, Rosalind, isn’t featured very heavily in the book but she is instantly likable. We also get a small tidbit of Queen Deborah, mother of King Duncan and who I like to call Mama Duncan. And dang it, I like her spunk. Definitely see where Cassandra gets it from.

This book also shows us Baron Arald and Sir David in their prime and, well… HOLY COW! In the original series they mention how these two knights are great warriors but if memory serves, in this book Flanagan literally calls them tanks. If he doesn’t, then well let me say it now, they are freaking tanks. Look, I don’t usually say this but Baron Arald is a badass. You really get to see why he is so highly respected as a warrior in this book. Also, I have high respect for any warrior who is willing to wield a battle ax (looking at you Sir David).

This book also shows the characters’ introduction to Wargals and Flanagan actually adds some very interesting tidbits about the Wargals that were completely unexpected. I’m going to refrain from actually divulging them but… when you reach page 249, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Honestly, the Wargals were genuinely worrisome and a bit frightening in this book as well, so that was really awesome. I was concerned that they would fall flat since we’d seen them in action in the original series but that is not the case here at all.

All in all, this is another great addition to the world of Ranger’s Apprentice and a fantastic follow up to its predecessors. This book had to me crying at some points and shouting in triumph at others.

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