The adventure continues in the Ranger's Apprentice companion trilogy!First Sentence:
Hal and the Herons have done the impossible. This group of outsiders has beaten out the strongest, most skilled young warriors in all of Skandia to win the Brotherband competition. But their celebration comes to an abrupt end when the Skandians' most sacred artifact, the Andomal, is stolen--and the Herons are to blame.
To find redemption they must track down the thief Zavac and recover the Andomal. But that means traversing stormy seas, surviving a bitter winter, and battling a group of deadly pirates willing to protect their prize at all costs. Even Brotherband training and the help of Skandia's greatest warrior may not be enough to ensure that Hal and his friends return home with the Andomal--or their lives.
We can’t keep this up,” Stig said.
StoryI could not wait to get back into story of Hal and the Herons, especially since the previous book left off with the loss of the Andomal and the Herons' honor. Talk about cliff-hanger since it literally ended with them setting out to sea to regain what was lost. *jumps up and down in excitement*
The Invaders was all that could have asked for in a sequel and then some. I loved that the book takes up right where The Outcasts left off and that you don't feel like there's a giant time gap between books.
There is not a dull moment in the book because it is jammed packed with character growth, action, adventure, and lots of danger. I like that the author did not hold back on putting Hal and company in danger even though the characters are a little young(ish). It was realistic because a true pirate villain would hold back even if it meant harming the young.
Zavac is a cowardly villain! At the end of the final conflict against him the book I was, like, "He did not just do that, did he!" You'll just have to read both books to understand why I feel this way bout him, but other than that I like that he is truly villainous and worthy of being the main antagonist in the book. Cannot wait to see him put in his place one day.
One of the things I'm liking about John Flanagan's writing is that he knows how to keep the plot moving, all while keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. There is just not a dull moment in the series. Not even when the crew of the Heron is stuck on some island waiting for better weather. Now, how did he keep that from being boring, well, that would be because the author took advantage of that time to grease the cogs within the team and make them a solid unit. I also liked how each you got to see more of the strengths of the other crew members and that Thorn is coming around as a great role model for the boys.
I was happy to see Hal warming up to the idea of being the leader of the Herons and that he seemed to take to heart that the lives of his crew members where in his hands. I really like it when the leader of a group in a book takes into account that their actions can and will affect those who travel with them, and what made it even better in The Invaders would have to be seeing Hal step up to the plate and be the kind of leader that other's will follow to the bitter end. It was nice to see a lead character that thinks outside of the box and make the impossible happen.
Thorn was perhaps my second favorite character of the book. I just found it great to see how he seems to have a new lease on life now that he a clear cut path. His character has come the longest way, from being a drunkard to serving as trainer for the boys.
What really made The Invaders such an enjoyable book would have to be the evolution of the characters and how they have settled into their new role as fugitives from their homeland. I really liked the way the author, John Flanagan, kept the crew of the Heron moving forward and not rehashing/spreading the blame over their downfall. It was definitely nice to see that the story did not get bogged down in what happened in the previous book.
I have too much love for this book and there's not a thing I would have liked to have seen done differently...lies. There is just one tiny little thing that was just a little frustrating, the ending. I'm starting to think that Mr Flanagan loves closing his books with a cliff-hanger that leaves the reader begging for the next installment to arrive promptly.
John Keating is perhaps one of most enjoyable narrators that I have listened to. Well, at least I have enjoyed his narration for both of the Brotherband Chronicles books because he just does such an incredible job bringing the characters and world to life.
So, why am I so crazy about the narration for The Invaders, well, that would have to be because John Keating is fantastic in the book. I truly feel that he captures the essence of the book and characters, which is rare in my opinion when listening to an audio book.
What has really impressed me with John Keating's narration of The Invaders would have to be that you, almost, feel like the narrator himself is truly caught up in the story that they are reading. Which makes the narration all the better because you don't get the sense that narrator, Mr Keating, would like to be doing anything but what he is. Does that make sense?
For the first, maybe second time, ever I can find nothing to complain about in the narration of The Invaders. I know, you're thinking how can this be true...no complaints. Well, let me just say this, John Keating's voice and reading cadence is perfectly matched to the story and just draws you in.
Final Verdict: The Invaders was a thrilling sea adventure that left me on the edge of my seat.
The Invaders earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.