Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ranger's Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

Ranger's Apprentice
Book 10
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

John Flanagan

Horace has been sent to the exotic land of Nihon-Ja to exchange pleasantries with the emperor and learn new fighting techniques. Just before leaving, one of the emperor's generals revolts and tries to take the throne for himself! Horace, who has seen the kindness in the emperor's heart decides to stay and help the emperor and his small band of loyal supporters. However, Horace knows he can't beat the rebels alone. Horace gets a message to Princess Cassandra asking for help, and she goes straight to Halt and Will for help. Right away they set off to help Horace and the emperor, also accompanied by Alyss and their newer friend Selethen from Arrida. Though help is on the way, Horace and the emperor still have an army nipping at their heels with nobody but local woodsman and a rumor of a fortress deep in the mountains for help. Will Halt, Will, and their friends arrive in time to help? Will just the 5 Araluens and Selethen be enough to defeat an army of vengeful Nihon-Jan? Find out in this fantastic conclusion to the Ranger's Apprentice series!

My Thoughts:
First of all, I must say, I am terribly sad that this series is over. Though it may be a little young for me now, I still love this series. I reread the entire series lately, and I was able to pick up on so many references to our world history through the different peoples in the books, which was a lot of fun. Plus I love the medieval/renaissance periods, so this time frame of book is right up my alley. As a book in the series, I think it was one of the best. It was certainly the largest to date (I believe...) and for good reason. Time had to be taken to set up the background of Horace's trip, for him and the emperor to flee to the mountain fortress (the name currently escapes me), for help to arrive, and for all of the battles to take place. The way the fighting occurred was very innovative, as Will's plans usually are, but the ending to the battle seemed a little too easy. I know it was hard getting to that point, but seeing as it was the "epic conclusion" to the series, I was hoping for a little more. Granted, I loved the actual ending to the story, though an epilogue maybe a year later would have been fun and made the closing more final. Still, a fantastic end to a fantastic series.

Questions for Thought:
1. Were you Horace, would you help the emperor knowing you might well be killed in a battle that isn't yours to fight, or would you go home as would be expected?

2. How would you have delayed the perusing army if you were the emperor?

3. How would you have encouraged the Kikori to fight their "upper class" of warriors? How would you train them?

4. What would your tactic be against Ashoka? Would you wait out a siege, attack them head on, or something else?

5. Would you be able to let Cassandra and Alyss venture into dangerous territory to enlist the help of potentially barbaric people?

Please leave your comments and answers!

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