Nick and I are enjoying the sixth book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series, The Siege of Macindaw. The novels are placed in a fictional setting based on Medieval Europe.
The kingdom is in danger. Renegade knight Sir Keren has succeeded in overtaking Castle Macindaw and is now conspiring with the Scotti. The fate of Araluen rests in the hands of two young adventurers: the Ranger Will and his warrior friend, Horace. Yet for Will, the stakes are even higher. For inside the castle, someone he loves is being held hostage. And now the time has come for this onetime apprentice to grow up.
Nick says, “It’s a fun book with a lot of action and a lot of great interesting characters. Instead of just wanting to follow one character, you get involved in all the characters. The story line is a really great story because it has lots of cliff hangers.”
We think it’s cool that the Australian author John Flanagan originally conceived the books as stories for his ten-year-old son. We did read the first five in order and have not had trouble getting the books in the Henrico library system.
I tend not to make special effort to tease out the learning opportunities of a book, usually letting Nick start those conversations or ask questions that come to his mind. We’re getting a nice dose of vocabulary and culture related to the medieval period, and we often look up words we don’t know, or we check out whether a certain concept of these books is what makes it fantasy or has basis in history. And sometimes we don’t. Nothing stops a good adventure like over-analysis. But I discovered while writing this blog post that there is a curriculum guide with activities and discussion questions, which you might find handy.
Learn more about this New York Times best-selling series at The Ranger’s Apprentice website.
Update: Thought I’d add that this novel does have somewhat graphic fight scenes. They bother me a bit (I wince) and Nick not at all, but there is some detail. It’s knights and warriors, folks. It’s a castle siege!