Review of The Burning Bridge, by John Flanagan

The Burning Bridge

The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book Two

by John Flanagan
performed by John Keating

Recorded Books, 2006. 7 compact discs. 8.5 hours.

Okay, I’m firmly committed to listening to these popular books by now. The book is rather self-contained, but I definitely don’t want to leave Will in the situation where he’s left at the end of this book. And you will do better reading this book if you’ve read the first one, which in many ways is introductory.

Now, I kind of expected the whole series to be like Harry Potter, and be a grand struggle against the evil Morgarath. But that struggle, which began in the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan, does come to a climax in this second book. So the future books will have different situations and villains.

Now I do have a peeve against the titles. In the first book, at about the sixth CD, they were tracking evil creatures. They said they were probably heading for one place, but that they might possibly try to ambush the trackers at the Ruins of Gorlan. Given the title, I wasn’t even slightly surprised by what happened.

In this book, at about the third CD, they discover a huge, strategic bridge, almost finished. The ropes supporting the bridge are coated with tar. It takes Will an entire CD to think of what to do about that bridge. But I, having read the title, was way, way ahead of him.

However, I didn’t foresee the consequences of that plan, I’ll give the author that. Though the Burning Bridge happened about exactly in the middle of the book (unlike the Ruins of Gorlan, which we saw at the end of its book), things really got interesting and suspenseful after that.

I also wasn’t crazy about the alternating scenes between what was going on with Will (the Ranger’s Apprentice) and what was happening in the rest of the kingdom. There was an entire minor mission with Halt and Alice that I guess was just to provide a little humor? Or to keep us guessing about where Will’s love interest will lie some day?

Still, it’s clear that John Flanagan wrote with the big picture in mind. This book is one part of a series, and he’s showing us a cast of characters in a kingdom we’re coming to care about. I definitely am going to continue on.

Oh, and I’m enjoying the audio version, in particular because of the accents. Now, I’m not sure why this fantasy world corresponds exactly to the British Isles and Europe, with accents that match, but it does make the books fun to listen to.

And I really do want to know what happens to Will next.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I write the posts for my website and blogs entirely on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

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