Reviews for Emperor of Nihon-Ja

Booklist Reviews 2011 March #2
The tenth and final volume of the Ranger's Apprentice series brings Will, Halt, Horace, Alyss, and Evanlyn together to help defend the wise yet vulnerable emperor of Nihon-Ja (an alternate-world Japan) from the renegade Senshi (samurai) force that threatens to overthrow his rule. Introducing a new setting and culture, the story calls upon the familiar characters' courage, wits, and confidence in each other. Though it's the last, this novel is no sentimental journey but a rousing adventure that delivers all the elements that have made the series so popular: comradeship, danger, strategy, warfare, and humor. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
While studying new fighting techniques in Nihon-Ja (think Shogun Japan), Horace is caught up defending the emperor during a coup. Rangers Will and Halt, Princess Cassandra, Alyss, and Selethen come to his aid, with a number of tricks up their sleeves. Familiar, likable characters, new combat tactics, and an enjoyable level of tension reward readers of this "final battle." Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 March #1

The 10th and final full-length episode in an alternate-Earth series that's just about reached its sell-by date unites the five members of the central cast in yet another rescue mission to a distant land. This time its a thinly disguised medieval Japan, where bluff young warrior Horace has been swept up in the entourage accompanying a kindly emperor who is on the run from a vicious usurper. Thanks to a sequence of massive coincidences, he is soon joined in a remote mountain fortress by Rangers Will (who graduated from "apprentice" about five volumes ago) and his crusty mentor Halt, plus temperamental Princess Evanlyn and her spunky frenemy Alyss. While the usurper and his forces obligingly winter nearby, the menfolk train a peasant army for the true emperor while Evanlyn and Alyss set out to recruit more allies and have an air-clearing heart-to-heart about who really loves whom. By the end battles are won, bad guys slain, feasts held and everyone heads home for weddings and further adventures. The "keep it simple" approach has served Flanagan—and readers who prefer predictable plots and easily recognizable settings and character types—well, but the formula has staled. "The Final Battle" blazoned on the cover indicates a recognition of this fact, though loose ends leave open the possibility of further, as-yet-unplanned developments. Here's hoping a break will restore zing to future adventures. (Fantasy. 11-13)

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