Brotherband: Scorpion Mountain, by John Flanagan

The Ranger’s Apprentice series has been a big hit at our place for quite a while, and it was an easy transition to the Brotherband series. I’d read some of the Ranger series and could definitely see the appeal for my LOTR fanatical boys. But the brotherhood series, with it’s nautical themes, I wondered how the lads had picked it up with similar enthusiasm. Of course, when you stick the Rangers in with the Brotherband, well that’s clearly a brilliant idea.

It was easy to get them a bow and arrow, seems like I’ll be investing in a boat now. You probably should factor that into the purchase price of the novel.

Book five in the series, though you don’t really need to have read the previous four, is full of adventure on the high seas and on land too, in a fantasy world, chock full of swords, fighting, and tonnes of action to keep the avid young reader in your home well entertained. Plus, as I said before, it’s got some of the familiar Ranger team in there as well. Although, in all fairness the Brotherband have probably established themselves as a pretty formidable force after four previous novels. Rest assured, it doesn’t reek of the old ‘get the original cast back in the spin off in order to boost ratings’ scam that happens all too often when a spin off tv show goes awry. Young readers will no doubt appreciate the familiarity of it.

The Heron boys have grown, but not too fast, as their sense of youthful enthusiasm and want for adventure is strewn throughout the book. I don’t like a book aimed at youth that is too modern and full of romance and relationships. Tween readers don’t care for that, they want real action. The other stuff can wait a few years. There is a touch of relationship types stuff, but it’s all believable and at most importantly, it’s an age appropriate level.

In this installment we pick up the action and events that evolve from Hal’s crew freeing slaves, along with the help of some of the Rangers. When they return the slaves another amazing and staggeringly unexpected mission confronts them. Someone has tried to kill Princess Cassandra and there are rumours someone is going to try again. Who could it be? Well, if you’ve read the previous you will have some suspicions no doubt.

Of course, the best course of action is to send out the whole gang, the ‘Band of BrotherRangers’ as I’ve decided to call them for ease of description, out and smash them all to pieces. Along the way countless pitfalls and issues arise and thankfully there’s more Rangers to rescue as well.

Action packed, with a healthy dose of familiar faces to keep your tween reader busy over the school holidays… but you may have to buy a boat, you have been warned.

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TITLE: Brotherband: Scorpion Mountain (Book 5)
AUTHOR(S): John Flanagan
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House
RRP: $22.99
ISBN: 9781742759364

Drew Thompson Drew operates a successful hobby farm for pampered cattle in rural South Auckland. He once dabbled in education, where he discovered any book was a good book. As with most ex-teachers, he realised he was better off spending his time and patience on his own awesome children.

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