This is the fourth book in the Ranger's Apprentice series; there are twelve books planned in this series with the tenth book, The Emperor of Nihon-Jam, released in April of 2011. This was a good book in the series and continues the story line that was started in book 2, The Burning Bridge.
Will and Evelyn are recovering in the cabin in the woods when things take a turn for the worse. Evelyn is abducted by a third party no one even knew was in Skandia. Will tries to save her and runs into Halt and Horace. The whole group tries to figure out what this third party is doing in Skandia, then Erak arrives and is drawn into the action. What results could be a battle that determines the future of Skadia and its neighboring countries.
This book was basically the conclusion to the story arc that started in The Burning Bridge. It ends well, finally no cliffhangers.
All of our favorite characters are in this story for the majority of it: Evelyn, Will, Horace, Halt and Erak. They are all likable and the story is engaging. This is a very solid fantasy book. This book deals more with war and strategy than previous books have.
All of our young heroes have to take on more responsibility and come up with ideas to help save Skandia; it was great to see our heroes shoulder these responsibilities with grace. Having Halt in the book for the majority of the story was great, he is my favorite character of the bunch.
The plot was again fairly predictable and a bit contrived. The way things work out and all the characters meet up is incredibly unlikely and made me roll my eyes a bit. The plot works out pretty much how you think it will at the beginning on the book. Basically this is another solid fantasy story, but not incredibly creative.
Overall a very well done addition to this series. Wraps up the story arc that started in The Burning Bridge nicely. Our characters see a lot of growth and take on responsibility and Halt is in the story a lot, so that is awesome! The characters are likable, the story engaging. If you have liked previous books you will like this one too. I am still finding these to be a little too predictable and not as creative as I would like. Still they are quick, fun reads. I plan on continuing to read the series for now. If you like this series I would recommend The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens and A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull.