[personal profile] bitchy_merlin
These books should not make me as happy as they do. Really, they shouldn't. I'm in my second year of university. My friend and I are renting our own apartment. I'm almost two decades old. And these books still have the power to send me flailing off down the hallway of my house, giggling to myself like a lunatic.

So yeah, over the weekend I read John Flanagan's ninth book, Halt's Peril, and spent the next few hours in a delicious stupor of joy. Yes, the premise has been done before. Yes, the plot of "Will needs to find a healer before Halt dies of poison OH NOES" is perhaps not the most riveting thing in the world. But IDK, I enjoyed this book so much it made me want to take off all my clothes and run around screaming. :DDDD 

I actually wanted to write notes detailing everything I loved about Halt's Peril, but, well, it would have been faster to just c/p the book in its entirety here.

Let's have a play-by-play:

First off, I loved O;Malley's public shaming of Will, and Will's subsequent realization that he's a bit out of his depth. I mean, Will is the main character. His Rangerly skills and virtues are extolled by basically everyone he meets. So to have him be so degraded and outwitted in the first few chapters of the book was refreshing (if not particularly fun to read, because I love Will). It showed that despite all his intrinsic awesomeness, he still has a lot to learn, and it helped lessen the barrage of Gary-Stu traits he's constantly showered with. Plus, this way Halt got to be extra-awesome when he and Horace finally arrived.

And then there were the fight scenes and the tracking scenes during which I got really tense, spending a good third of the book waiting for the inevitable - Halt getting poisoned. It was almost a relief when it finally happened, just so I could stop goddamn waiting for it (the anticipation is half the pain!).

And alright, just to be clear, even though it was obvious that Flanagan wouldn't kill Halt, because seriously, what the fuck, I won't lie: the beginning of chapter thirty-five had me shitting bricks. Will and Horace digging a grave? Malcolm talking final rites? Hey, what can I say? Flanagan might have done it. This is the second-last book in the series. You never know. :/

Ahem. That reminds me of another favourite scene: HELLO, OH EPIC ANGST AND MAN!TEARS. WHERE WERE YOU IN THE REUNION SCENE IN THE FOURTH BOOK? ;ALSDK;ALKTJA;LSTDNAK;T Will keening and rocking back and forth, and generally being a hysterical mess because Halt is in danger? YES PLEASE. He was such a head case for a while - it was fantastic! And I melted a little bit at the depth of understanding Horace showed (because Horace is just. So. Awesome.)  They talked about feelings. There may have been instances of crying into shoulders and the like. MANLY BONDING IS MANLY.

My favourite part, though, in all honesty, was the Part with the Questionable Ethics. Horace is made of SO MUCH WIN, and this shows off what I really enjoy about the 9-12 genre: the world is so simple. When the Genovesan assassin Bacari refused to give up the secret of which poison he'd used, knowing Will wouldn't kill him, he effectually sentenced Halt to death. Which is why it was so awesome that Horace took charge LIKE A BOSS and committed acts of questionable morality LIKE A BOSS by nicking Bacari with his own poisoned arrow IN THE MANNER OF AN EMPLOYER so that it was either divulge the secret or die a slow, agonizing death. Serious admiration for that scene! I feel like in many other books, the main character would stand there dithering over the ethics of the situation, and then act with regret, if at all. Not so here. Horace knew what he was doing and he didn't hesitate to do it because it was the only course of action that had a chance of saving Halt's life. It's exactly what I would have shouted at any other character to do in this situation, but I didn't have to here because Horace had already taken the initiative and acted. Bacari was expendable; Horace used this to his advantage. FOUR FOR YOU, HORACE COCO!

BTW, the part where Halt, in his delusional state, mistakes Horace for Crowley? BE STILL MY HEART <3333333 Myself being a gigantic supporter of the epic Halt/Crowley marriage-bromance that neither of them realize they're having, that scene was particularly touching to read, especially the paternal way that Halt talked about Will and Horace. I absolutely adore the development of Halt and Will's relationship over the years, just as much as I adore Horace coming into his own and getting recognized for it. SPEAKING OF, that reminds me of how much I enjoyed the tunnel scenes where Horace was forced to face his claustrophobia WITH WILL'S HELP, AHEM*, and was completely terrified but did it anyway. LOVE <3.

ALSO, GRATUITOUS MENTIONS OF LADY PAULINE FTW. Just sayin'.

The sole con of this book (as always) is the ABJECT LACK OF GILAN. I know side characters shouldn't steal the show, etc., etc., but he does, for me, every single time his name is on a page. (Someday, I will journey to a universe where there is a series ALL ABOUT GILAN, and then I will die happy.)

But aside from that, I am SO, SO EXCITE for the next book, which is scheduled for a North American release in Spring 2011. *commences frothing at the mouth*

*They're not jailbait anymore. SHIPSHIPSHIPSHIPSHIP
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bitchy_merlin

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