I've enjoyed all the Delany books, although I prefer the title the "Spook's Apprentice" to the Americanized version. It's a great sequence with many chills and horrors. Not for the faint of heart, and parents, if you're concerned about younger readers scaring themselves, I'd recommend a pre-read. Lots of discussion of witches, ghosts, and bad ghoulies.
Garth Nix is one of my favorite fantasy novelists. Sabriel begins with a young woman leaving school after she receives a message that her father is in danger. She must travel into the Kingdom, across the Wall, and enter Death to find her father. In this fantastic three-book sequence, Nix creates an extraordinary world, full of magic and horror. Parents, if you are worried about younger readers scaring themselves, there is a scene sequence early on in Sabriel that is one of the scariest I've read. Definitely worth a pre-read if you're concerned. Tim Curry is my favorite audio book reader and he outdoes himself in this sequence!
Flanagan does it again in this tidy little continuation to his Ranger's Apprentice sequence, begun in The Ruins of Gorlan. Once again, the need to get information back to the king leaves the young Ranger apprentice Will and his companions Horace, and a lady's maid named Evanlyn alone in their attempts to save the country of Aranluan from the deadly plans of Morgarath.
The final question, as always in a sequence of this energy and excitement: what will happen to Will next?
The Ranger's Apprentice sequence is a wonderful example of the best type of Apprentice stories - both grounded in adventure and also the ordinary details of practice and learning necessary to become masterful at a given craft. Readers who enjoy Flanagan may also enjoy the Spook's Apprentice series and the Skullduggery Pleasant books.
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