The Brotherband series, written by John Flanagan, is a five-part series of books about a group of eight outcasts and their journey to retrieve a holy item that was taken from their village.
This book is set in the times of the Vikings and is about a group of boys who come from the country of Skandia where, in order to become known as a warrior, you must face three months of training in groups called brotherbands. This book follows the adventure of Hal and Stig, two boys turning 16 and their journey through three months of weapon training, battle skills and ship handling, along with their six companions. These eight were all outcasts because they were regarded as different.
During their training, they are under the watchful eye of the ex-drunk Thorn, who is Hal’s guardian by the request of Hal’s father, Mikel, who died in battle. Thorn was also regarded as an outcast because of his right arm being lost the same day as Mikel lost his life.
This novel also partially follows the pirate Zavac, who captains the raven, a large black war ship. Zavac, along with his 50-man crew, attacks traders for their gold and wares. During the months of training, Hal’s brotherband, the Herons, raise to the top of the challenges to become the victors, only to have their victory ruined by an attack from raiders, seeking the mysterious amber artefact, the Andomal.
I quite enjoyed this book and have enjoyed what I have read of the rest of the series. I would recommend this book to a teen audience and rate it 4½ out of 5 stars.
Lachlann N Year 9
Blood spilling, waves crashing and swords slashing. In Brotherband The Outcasts, you will find all this and more. In this book you will see the tales of an old sailor by the name of Hal, being set to the challenge of making a Brotherband out of five outcasts: Thorn, Ulf, Wulf, Jesper and Edvin.
The story is set in an old town by the name of Skandian. It’s an island where young boys are chosen to be apart of a Brotherband and fight in wars.
Hal is an old sailor who saw is dad die when he was still a young child. People think of him as a drunk living on the streets. Thorn and his misfit friends have all been declined from a Brotherband. One day Thorn gets a job as a craftsman building boats. Halfway through a build, the man paying for the ship dies. Thorn pays the rest of the money so he may have the boat. He makes a brotherband out of himself and his friends with the leader being Hal.
The book has an amazing storyline that hooks you straight away. If you like action you’ll like this book. This book combines fighting, sailing and a good story all in one.
The novel would be good for teenage boys who like action, fantasy, a good story, hardship and friendship. Nicholas L., Year 8
Do you like adventure? Do you like action? Well this is the book for you! Will Hal and Stig survive the Brotherband training?
Set in the Viking times, this story happens to be twelve years after Mikkel, Hal’s father’s death. Erak, captain of the ship, called for an attack so when they reached their destination, he sent his two best warriors to invade and inspect first: Mikkel and Thorn. Mikkel was a taller and skinnier man and Thorn was a shorter more solid man. Best friends, these two went in for attack. Out of the blue, they were seen. A spear was thrown, hitting Mikkel in the heart, a nightmare, witnessed for Thorn. He fell over and as he died, Thorn promised him that he would take care of his family (his ten-year-old son and his wife). He rushed back to the ship and they had to leave immediately before they were attacked. On the way back home things weren’t too good either. There was a massive storm with heavy rain and thunder. This caused a big stress on the ship. Thorn’s right arm got tangled in rope and then it snapped and ripped off. This made Thorn even more depressed. He couldn’t fight, attack or do any of his daily tasks.
Six years after this incident Thorn became a drunk. Every night he tried to drink his depression away until Mikkel’s wife told him to deliver what he had promised to Mikkel, to look after his wife and son which he was way off doing. She let him work around the house for a minimum wage.
Another six years later he had become what he’d used to be. Hal had got a job with Anders, the local ship builder. Anders had a ship that he wanted to sell so Hal bought it. He later named his ship the Heron. He had to get ready for Brotherband training. During Brotherband training in Skandia, sixteen-year-old boys are taught the basics of ship navigation and fighting. A total of twenty-eight boys are divided into three for each Brotherband: the Herons, the Sharks and the Wolves. Hal, finding himself the unready leader of the Herons, must push and challenge his team to the limits to survive the Brotherband training.
I liked this book because it’s interesting and intriguing because it’s adventurous and set in the Viking times. I would recommend this story for 12 – 17 years boys to read.
By Jake B., Year 8
A bunch of misfits trying to be warriors… What do you think they will do? To achieve their goal of becoming a warrior they must be chosen and placed in a particular team and complete a hard course that goes for months. It targets their skills in seamanship and fighting.
This is a fantasy and action based book that is set in the Viking age, which means there are frequent wars that come and go. It is hard to make money, so Thorn and his colleagues work at a boat shop where they make boats and sell them to the public. One day Thorn and his colleagues were coming back from a raid and the sea got very rough. The boat started it sink but Thorn, being the brave person everyone knows him as, tried to save the boat and a bit of vine got caught around his arm and ripped his hand straight off his arm. Twelve years after Mickle’s death, his son Hal has been training and a person who builds what he wants to with the help of his good friend Stig. But he also has another friend he hangs out with called Anderson a local ship builder. A while after helping Anderson, Hal buys a ship and names it Heron. He learned to sail it and after training he chose to beach the Heron and start training for the brotherband. The young men aged 16 were put into a group, The Herons, alongside The Wolves and The Sharks. Hal found him the leader of the Herons, which was made up of a group of outcasts who were friends.
This book was a good read but in my opinion this book is more for older kids from 12 to 19 to really understand it. In conclusion, the book is a great book but the younger kids wouldn’t understand most of it and would probably get bored very quickly.
By Lochie, Year 8
Will he be chosen or not? In Skandia, there is only one way to become a fierce warrior. Only the brave and threatening men can be chosen for the Brotherband. The men are chosen for teams called Brotherband and must be trained for months and months of hard and terrifying training. The hard men train with sharp and frightening weapons and battle with tactics. Hal Mikkelson is the leader of the Brotherband.
There are two brothers Thorn and Mikkel who are the most frightening warriors. All of a sudden Mikkel gets a spear thrown right through his back, going through his heart out the front of his chest. That day Mikkel dies being a brave and fierce warrior saving the people in need. After that Thorn was heart broken. He didn’t know what to do in his life. Thorn was not in good shape. He turned into an alcoholic. Mikkel’s wife was heartbroken because of what happened to Mikkel but still stayed strong. She wanted Thorn to teach some kids how to battle so he could get back into shape. Mickel’s wife convinced Thorn to do it. After all Thorn’s experiences with battling and training hard he would have had to be an amazing trainer. Thorn trained Mikkel’s son for him to protect his mother seeing she has no one else.
After sailing the Heron, Hal beaches the ship and gets ready for Brotherband training. During Brotherband training boys who are 16 in Skandia are taught the basics of fighting and ship navigation. While Brotherband training continues, a Skandian fleet is attacked. The leader of the pirates, Zavac, demands to know about the secret treasure of Skandia. The leader of the trading fleet vows not to tell until he sees that one of the pirates had grabbed his nephew. Knowing that his nephew shouldn’t die for his mistakes, the head of the trading fleet begins to tell about the treasure, the abnormal, knowing that it is well guarded. As he talks he remembers that one night every year it is not so well protected.
I liked this book because there was lots of action and there was always something going on that wasn’t boring. I would recommend this book to males aged from 12 to 16.
By Seth W., Year 8