When we last left our Determined Hero Will, he had just killed off a couple of Big Bad Guy Morgarath’s bad beasties, and received a hero’s welcome home. But, this being War, he is not allowed to rest. While the army and Rangers — including stodgy mentor Halt — prepare for the impending battle, Halt, his apprentice friend Horace, and Ranger Gilan head for Celtica to see if the king there will come to Araluen’s aid.
Of course things go badly wrong, and Gilan heads back to the army to warn the king, while Gilan, Horace and a stray girl they picked up, Evelyn, follow later. Except they get sidetracked, and find out what Morgarath’s really up to. And because Will is determined, and plucky and brave and resourceful, he is able to find a way — with Horace and Evelyn’s help, of course — to stop (or at least slow down) Morgarath. Unfortunately, while the Wargles are no match for Will’s resourcefulness, he and Evelyn are captured by the Skandians (another country, this one run by sea raiders whom Morgarath paid to help him), and at the end of the book, they are hauled off.
The second book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series, The Burning Bridge doesn’t have any of the problems with exposition that the first one has. It comes out with a bang, and manages to keep up the pace pretty much throughout the whole novel, picking up especially toward the end, compelling the reader on to the next book.
A strong second installment in a good series.
Rated: Mild, for mild swearing.