To Northern Waters

Hi guys!

Before we get into the post, I’d like to warn you that it contains spoilers for the first two and a half(ish) books of the Brotherband Chronicles series.

Towards the end of May, I put up a post about a newcomer to my favorites shelf. And in that post, I talk about some of the things that I enjoyed about reading the Ranger’s Apprentice series. And since publishing that post, I’ve finished reading that particular series. And I stand by what I said: Ranger’s Apprentice has earned its spot on my favorites shelf (for good reasons) and it was a good series to be reading during an iffy period in my life.

But since finishing reading the original Ranger’s Apprentice series, the prequel series, and the single book of the sequel series that I have, I’ve started another book series. And this series is called Brotherband Chronicles.

Brotherband Chronicles is written by the same author as Ranger’s Apprentice: John Flanagan. It’s also set in the same world as Ranger’s Apprentice, even though it is set in a different country with a different set of characters. I believe it also takes place in the same general years as Ranger’s Apprentice.

When about to read this series, I expected to like it because I had liked the Ranger’s Apprentice series. But on the other hand, I wasn’t really sure if I was going to like it because I didn’t know if it could live up to the same level as Ranger’s Apprentice.

I’m currently reading the third book in the Brotherband Chronicles series. And so far, I do think that it will land a place on my favorites shelf. And several of those reasons are the same as why Ranger’s Apprentice became one of my favorites.

Here are a few reasons why Brotherband is becoming one of my favorites (as of/including Book 3):

  • The characters and their arcs. This mainly applies (thus far in my reading) to Hal, the other Herons, and Thorn. Hal is introduced a little bit into the first book. We see him first as a little boy and then as a teenager. In the first three books, we see him develop from a boy who’s uncertain of himself to a young man capable of being a captain of a ship and her crew. He has natural leadership abilities and is able to hold and keep his crew’s respect and loyalty. Over the course of the rest of the series, I think he’ll grow into an even better young man and captain than he already is. When we’re introduced to Stig, a member of Hal’s crew and his second in command, he’s initially a very hot-headed boy who can’t control his temper very well. Or at all, really. But by the third book, we see him begin to have more control over his anger. As for the rest of the Herons, they start off as a very hodge podge group of teenagers. But as time goes on, they learn to work as a team and crew and become a cohesive unit. And they continue to do so thus far in the series. Many (if not all) of them know what their strengths are and know where they’re needed on the ship. And they’re able to work together as a crew based on these skills and their instincts for said skills. Now to Thorn. If I remember correctly, we see him as a warrior at the beginning of Book 1. But after some years go by, he’s a drunk who is made fun of and is thought to be crazy. After Hal’s mother is brutally honest with him, Thorn brings himself to get back on his feet and remake his life. And by Book 3, he’s a trusted member of the Heron‘s crew. He even trains Hal and the other Herons after their brotherband training is over. I hope that he can hold this position and trust through the rest of the series. At this point in my reading of the series, I don’t have enough interaction with the other characters to speak on their personalities and their character arcs.
  • The relationships between the characters. Kind of going back to how the Herons came together, they weren’t close at the beginning of their group’s existence. They were a group of boys that the other two training groups didn’t want. But due to their shared experiences at brotherband training, they grow into a trusting and cohesive crew. And as stated in the previous, Thorn is able to be trusted by the Herons, becoming their battle trainer and generally a trusted member of the crew.
  • The representations of women. And it’s a mostly good and empowering one. This was apparent even in Ranger’s Apprentice with Evanlyn/Cassandra, Alyss, Lady Pauline, and maybe even Jenny. Within the Brotherband Chronicles, I’ve only experienced two women thus far: Karina and Lydia. Karina is Hal’s mother. And the reason I bring her up is because she’s able to remain strong and be a good mother and role model after her husband’s death. She doesn’t have anyone to lean on and she has Hal to look after (at least until his brotherband training). And she has to go at it alone. Even though there are people in Hallasholm that don’t respect her, she still has the respect of several of the townspeople. As for Lydia, I don’t know much about her yet because she was introduced partially through Book 2. But so far, she’s been included in fighting the battle at the end of Book 2 because of her skills with the atlatl. And so far in Book 3, she’s been trusted to help with tracking becuase of knowledge in that area. These two women alone can provide good role models for young girls and women. They show that we can take care of ourselves if we need to and are able defend ourselves and others. And they show that we can be a valuable part of a team.

As I continue to read this series, I sure there’ll be more things that will be added to this list.

And I have relatively fewer spoilers for this series compared to Ranger’s Apprentice. So far, I’ve only had one, maybe two, spoiler(s) for this series. But other than that, I don’t really know what’s going to happen. And I think that adds to the excitement of reading.

Until next time!