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I would say this book is one of the best in the series, and you should definetely try it.

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I really enjoyed the Ranger’s Apprentice series and when I noticed that Flanagan had written a spin off series based on the Skandians I thought that I might give it a read. I have been so disappointed in spin offs before that I wasn’t expecting much.
I just finished The Outcasts, which is the first book of the Brotherband Chronicles, and I have to admit I was really pleased. The story revolves around a group of outcast teen boys and how they cope and compete in the Skandian society. If you’ve ever been chosen last for a basketball game or teased because you weren’t as strong or as fast as the other kids, you’ll love this book. It’s full of great humor and edge of your seat excitement. The only problem I had with the book was how short the chapters were. I found myself saying, okay just one more chapter and then I’ll put it down. That won’t take long. Found myself reading way late into the night just to see what would happen next.
I’m very much looking forward to reading the second book of the series.
 

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I love this book, and the series. I read it the first time simply because it was connected with the Ranger's Apprentice series. Now, after reading the other books in the series, I wish I could go back and read it again! The characters are very interesting and well developed. I only wish that I owned the book, and I rarely ever reread books unless the books are really good.  

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i love this book

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I love the book as much as i love the rangers apprentice! LOL :-)

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Great
I found myself looking forward to the second book, and now the thirdl

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Another very good book from Flanagan. Looking forward to the next one!

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First in the Brotherband Chronicles children's adventure-fantasy series revolving around eight young men of Hallasholm who are anxious to prove themselves to their peers and countrymen. This story is set several years after the events in The Battle for Skandia: Book Four (Ranger's Apprentice), number 4 in the Ranger's Apprentice series.
My Take
The prologue is half-finished which made a reveal later in the story a bit confusing. I'm not really sure why Flanagan bothered with a prologue.
The main theme is team building as the eight primary characters--all outcasts in the village--come together as part of the brotherband training season. Secondary themes include strategy, humanity, and ingenuity.
I liked the glossary explanations Flanagan provided; I had never thought to remember that "port" is "left" and they both have four letters. I've always remembered it as "pass the port on the left". Tells ya where my mind is at!
The Story
It's a critical year for Hal and Stig. They are 16 now and, with 26 others, will take part in the brotherband training this year. Teams are chosen much as kids today choose teammates and there are a number of young men this year who know they will be chosen last or forced onto a team. And so it goes, Rollond and Tursgud have each chosen 9 other teammates and neither of them wants what's left; Erak makes his own choice and determines that the remaining eight will form the third brotherband.
What follows is three months of training in tactics, weapon skills, seamanship, ship handling, and navigation facing down Tursgud and the Sharks team. Proving themselves to each other, growing together as a team, and demonstrating their abilities to their people.
Until that last day. The day when all falls apart.
The Characters
Hal Mikkelson is Thorn's protege and brilliant. He sees a way to make things better and he does it from improvements to a crossbow to ideas on indoor plumbing to prosthetics to improved sail designs. Because his mother, Karin, was brought to Skandia as a slave, many in Hallasholm still see her as one even though Mikkel freed her as soon as he bought her. Stig is his best and only friend; his father stole from his shipmates and ran off years ago. Now his mother takes in laundry to survive. Wulf and Ulf are bickering twins; Edvin is good at math but so average in every way that most don't even notice him; Jesper has real talent as a thief and pickpocket; Stefan is the village clown and an expert mimic; and, Ingvar is very strong and very nearsighted.
Tursgud leads one of the boys' cliques in Hallasholm; he's tall, well-built, athletic, handsome, and an arrogant bully always bragging about his father, the Maktig. Rollond is elected as the second team leader.
Erak is Oberjarl of Skandia. Sigurd is responsible for the brotherband training while Gort, Jarst, and Viggo are in charge of a team each.
Thorne was a mighty warrior until the voyage when his best friend Mikkel died and he lost his hand saving the ship; in the six years since he has degenerated into a staggering drunk until one night, Karin Mikkelswife, Mikkel's widow, saves him from himself.
Zavac is the captain of a pirate ship plotting to steal Skandia's greatest treasure.
The Cover
The cover is chilling and exciting as I'm guessing that Hal is pulling on one of the sheets as the Heron and two other ships battle a storm at sea. It's a gorgeous figurehead on Hal's ship...the boys must have added that after this story ended because it sure ain't in this story. Nor is this particular scene.
The title is very accurate for the eight boys are Outcasts twice over.
 

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