This new series is an outgrowth from Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series. If you have read that series you will know what this one is like. I am not disparaging Flanagan’s work; I found the story to be engaging with likeable characters in interesting situations.
Hal Mikelson is a half-blood Skandian. His father was a warrior and his mother was a slave from outside; consequently Hal is viewed as an outsider, considered to be never quite good enough by the locals. When he comes of age, he must train together with other young men to form a brotherband, a group of warriors who will eventually go out into the world to make their fortune. Hal’s band is made up of misfits from the village who learn to depend on the best qualities of each other to overcome the tasks set in front of them.
In many ways this story is predictable but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of it. Since it is part of a series, there are unresolved issues at the end of the book that will make the reader hungry for the next book in the series. Flanagan’s writing is suited to the pace of the book; this is an action story so there is no need for superfluous words. Think of this book as escapist fun; it is good for reading at the beach on on a long trip.
Age Range: 12 years old on up.
The Brotherband Chronicles: Book 1 The Outcasts by John Flanagan. Philomel Books, NY. 2011. 434pp.