Monday, June 4, 2012
The Invaders (Brotherband book 2) by John Flanagan
Flanagan loves weapons and shines when describing the use and function of them. Hal invents a crossbow that he mounts on his sailing ship, as well as, a way for his sailing ship to go faster in the water. Lydia is an expert using a dart throwing weapon called an atlatl. Flanagan's writing reminds me of nonfiction texts at times. He's good at descriptions, setting and action; less good with interesting word choices and internal character development. He has his usual humor and banter but I didn't think it worked quite as well in this story because it was between adults and boys. Usually he has the banter between adults and if it's with the boys they don't get it half the time and that makes it funnier.
The characters are distinct and have flaws although Hal doesn't really change much from the beginning to the end of the story. Thorn actually changes more becoming the warrior he once was and finding a purpose in his life. Ingvar is interesting as well. His eyesight is so bad that he is almost blind and Thorn teaches him to fight by feel not sight.
Lydia uses darts for a weapon because the crossbows are difficult for women to master since the physical strength necessary to pull them back is lacking in most females. Flanagan is an archer and I like that he is realistic on this point. While I read and see movies where women will perform impossible physical feats and I usually just go with it; it was refreshing to have this aspect presented realistically. That's why I raised my eyebrows when Lydia hits the oil sack on a moving boat with no practice. Would she be able to do that? Also, I found it unbelievable that the adults wouldn't give input into the strategy for attacking the village against the pirates. Hal does all the planning and the adult warriors don't really add anything to it. I would have thought it would be a group effort, not just the one brilliant young kid in the form of Hal, coming up with the entire scheme.
There is plenty of action and violence. They are at war so there is some torture and deaths. The details are not graphic but there are quite a few deaths. An entertaining read.
Reading Level 5.8
3 out of 5 Smileys