John Flanagan, Escape from Falaise (Ranger’s Apprentice The Royal Ranger, #5), Penguin Random House, September 2021, 384 pp., RRP $18.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760890476
Royal Ranger, Escape from Falaise, is the fifth book, in the second series of John Flanagan’s Rangers Apprentice, involving well known ranger Will Treaty.
It is guaranteed a SUBURB read.
After Will and Maddie’s plan to save the spoilt Prince of Gallica’s butt is flouted, they are taken to prison and are left to wonder who betrayed them? As time progresses in the cells they soon discover the horrible life in this foreign country. To survive, they have to play along. Soon, the Baron, their jailer, and the Rangers, weave a web of fake smiles, strategies, lies and deception.
As the story develops, the web expands and the questions multiply. Shocking answers are slowly revealed. How long can they keep this up? Will they ever escape? Who betrayed them? And is the Baron planning to launch an attack on their homeland Araluen?? All seems lost and they feel alone in this godforsaken country……. Or are they? An unexpected ally appears in the mist of this situation, a silent protector, hidden in disguise, with one sole purpose: Make sure the Rangers remain unharmed whilst NEVER revealing himself unless absolutely necessary. In the time of need, the protector will be called upon. But no-one’s safe yet, where there is death, there will always be death.
Throughout the series, Maddie handles herself capably in the messed-up situations that confront her and Will. Holding her head up, posing for roles and not backing down when men say, She is just a woman! I tell you, this lady will kick butts if they underestimate her skills, and men, being men, they do. Maddie has become more flexible in this predicament and uses her innocent ladylike behavior to pick up weapons. She grows mentally and physically in the book, thinking outside the box whilst being in it.
Her collaboration with Will has also grown. His fatherly yet stern bond with Maddie changes as Will starts to rely on her talents, achievements, and skills much more. She has learned much from him, but taking the lead means sometimes Will becomes the cautious one. It’s a tricky line to tread. She adapts quickly to the circumstances and together they figure out when there’s a dead end. So, when the baron tries to squeeze them for information, they’re ready.
As for Will Treaty, he is still sharp as ever, with his trademark combination of humor and seriousness. He is constantly worried that if Maddie is harmed her mother will kill him. He keeps a steady head throughout the consistent pace of the plot and learns to trust Maddie’s self-belief.
Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this series to ALL ages. The Royal Ranger has been an amazing, and intriguing series with their characters opening up some unexpected emotions along the way. It has developed into something unexpected filled with observations and sass. It makes us see the world differently… well it’s made ME see it differently. And I hope more adventures will come.
Reviewed by Emily Brimblecombe
Guest reviewer, aged 13