Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review: "Scorpion Mountain" by John Flanagan

Title/Author:  Scorpion Mountain (Brotherband Chronicles #5) by John Flanagan
Genre: YA fantasy
Rating: 3/5 stars
Synopsis: From John Flanagan, author of the worldwide bestselling Ranger's Apprentice -- an all-new adventure featuring the Brotherband crew and one of our favorite Rangers!

Hal, his Brotherband crew, and the Ranger Gilan have freed the twelve Araluens sold into slavery. Returning to Araluen, Gilan is given a new mission by King Duncan: protect his daughter’s life. Princess Cassandra has survived one attempt on her life already, and now whispers of a second attempt have reached the kingdom. A deadly sect known as the Scorpion Cult is thought to be behind the assassination threat.

Not waiting to see if the knife will strike true, the Brotherband again team up with Gilan to track down the would-be killers.

In this fifth book in the Brotherband Chronicles, old friends reemerge to take on new enemies as the worlds of Ranger’s Apprentice and Brotherband join forces in battle!


Thoughts on the Overall Book: I am still enjoying this series, I'm a huge John Flanagan fan, so I will always read and enjoy his books, but I had hoped this one would exceed the last one, and it didn't really, so I was a bit disappointed, I'll admit.

Cover--Yea or Nay: I'm undecided whether I like the new covers or not. I think I liked the old ones better, but there's nothing wrong with it either. I do like the knotwork on the spines.

Characters: Pretty much, my opinion of all the characters has not changed. I still like Hal, I'm still indifferent about Lydia, I love seeing Gilan again, he was always a favorite character; Thorn is still awesome, I can't help but like him. For the little bit Cassandra/Evanlyn was in this book she still managed to annoy me. I was mostly disappointed with the villains in this book. I always felt that the Ranger's Apprentice series had some awesome villains, even if they were cliche on occasion (the books kind of are, but I love that, classic adventure) but in the Brotherband books, apart from the baddie in the first three (forgot his name) these last two have just been disappointing. Especially since we went through three or four of them in this one. Baddies are important, not to be taken lightly.

The Romance: Still nothing, thankfully, I'm still dreading a love triangle between Lydia, Hal and Stig, but so far nothing.

Writing Style: I'm going to have to be honest here, there's nothing really wrong with John Flanagan's writing style in these books, but I just can't help but feel they're a little less shall we say polished as the first three and especially the Ranger books. I just don't think they have the same quality as the Ranger series, and that makes me sad. I think he needs to try something new. These last two books were huge and yet, nothing really seems to happen, and I never feel like the characters are in danger anymore. Like the Ranger books would actually have me on the edge of my seat; I haven't felt like that reading the last couple Brotherband books. Even The Royal Ranger despite the fact I didn't care overmuch for Maddie had the quality of writing and story crafting that the other books did, but these just don't. In my opinion. I still enjoy these books, but not in the same way I devoured the Ranger series.

Accuracy/ Believability: Not applicable really. Except their escapes are actually getting dull. I would love to see more angst and, yes, if it doesn't sound too mean, wounds and whump. A little more danger would be much appreciated.

Problems/What bothered me: Apart from the things already mentioned, nothing else.

Conclusion: 3 stars. A fun read, though I think it could have been shorter, as it dragged with the same old stuff all the other Brotherband books had. Fun to pass the time though.

Recommended Audience: Girl or guy read 12 and up, fans of John Flanagan. But Start with Ranger Apprentice series if you haven't read any of his yet.


  1. Can't really comment except to say that the U.S. covers are different from ours. Check out the original Australian covers. As I say, can't comment, because the last two books were entered for the Aurealis Awards of which I was a judge, but you may not see any love triangle at this stage, because these books are regarded as Middle grade and were entered for the children's section of the Awards, not the YA, despite the characters' ages. And children DO read them.

  2. I was a bit confused as to whether these were classed as children's or YA, because I know the Ranger's Apprentice are typically classed YA as some of them are darker. I do really love the Australian covers, I wish we had those here too :)

  3. Yes, we judges were wondering whether they had also been entered in the YA category, because sometimes that happens with books that could be either, but I hear that this one and Slaves of Socorro were only entered in the children's section. Children read them, believe me! And when I was lining up for my autograph on the first Brotherband novel, I saw a few teenagers who had been reading RA since childhood and a LOT of children!