Reviews for Lost Stories

Booklist Reviews 2011 November #2
Flanagan, whose Ranger's Apprentice series ended this spring with the tenth volume, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, offers fans a generous parting gift: a collection of nine stories showing events not recorded in the books and following the familiar characters during certain unrecorded times. In the framework story, set in 1896, an archaeologist discovers the fabled lost stories of the medieval Kingdom of Araluen. What a find! Who would want to miss Horace's wedding to Princess Cassandra, complete with assassins and Will's dreaded speech? Two stories go back further in time, one to explore Will's parentage and another to show how Halt came to join the Ranger Corps. Inspired by questions from readers, these short stories retain the adventure and the camaraderie of the novels. One could enjoy them without having read the series, and the amusing "Dinner for Five" is highly recommended to those who loved Patricia C. Wrede's "Utensile Strength" (aka "The Frying Pan of Doom") in Book of Enchantments (1996), but a knowledge of the characters enhances the book's undeniable charm. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Nine novellas fill in gaps and extend the series arc for Ranger Will and his mentor Halt, including Horace's and Will's marriages, Ranger Gilan's courtship, and the history of Halt's joining the Ranger Corps. Despite the sometimes sentimental material, Flanagan manages to work considerable intrigue and Ranger cleverness--as well as bandits, wreckers, and (unfortunately stereotyped) gypsy-like Roamers--into the mix.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 April

Gr 5 Up--A wood and brass chest, unearthed during an excavation of the ancient kingdom of Araluen, contains manuscripts authenticating the existence of the Rangers, who had merely been legend. These lost stories weave a thread through events and characters from previous titles in the series. The collection opens with Ranger Halt divulging to his apprentice, Will, how he came to be his mentor. Years before, he was saved in battle by a young sergeant named Daniel, who, in his last breath, asked Halt to look out for his wife and a son--a baby named Will. In another chapter a young Ranger, Gilan, takes on Halt's search for a coldhearted killer when Halt is exiled for insulting King Duncan. Animals are keen and well-developed characters throughout the series and this volume is no exception. In one story, Will's dog, Ebony, is stolen by Roamers training fight dogs for sport and, in another, Flanagan pulls heartstrings with the bittersweet retirement of Will's horse, Tug. More sentimentality and bits of humor are shown as Flanagan's leading men find their mates and settle down. Halt's masculine demeanor is softened by Pauline and, as Will prepares a speech for the marriage of his best friend, Horace, readers will also be rooting for his union with Alyss. Author notes at the beginning of each chapter explain how readers' questions often prompted the stories. While those unfamiliar with the earlier books will enjoy the adventurous tales on their own merit, Lost Stories will be most satisfying for diehard fans reluctant to say goodbye to the series.--Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

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