I had great expectations for The Royal Ranger and I can't say I was disappointed. When the story begins, we find Princess Cassandra and her husband, Sir Horace, at wits ends with their fifteen-year-old daughter and Will Treaty in a well of despair, intent on revenge.
All righty, this wasn't entirely unexpected, but it was a bit unexpected too. For one, Gilan and Jenny aren't married yet? Not okay. I mean, last we knew, Jenny was infatuated with Gilan. How could she be so stupid! Why? Just why? The rest of it all made sense though. Poor Crowley's left the world. King Duncan is dying. Halt's retired but is still his awesome self. Pauline hasn't changed. Cassandra and Horace are different but age does that.
Will remains both the same and the most different all at the same time. He's so sad and much grimmer than Halt ever was, but we get to see pieces of him between it all. His apprentice, Maddie, was a wonderful addition to the story. Mr. Flanagan had her develop as a character at just the right pace, keeping her fundamental attributes together while having her grow everywhere else.
While I can't say I'm disappointed, there were a few things I missed that just weren't part of this story. I missed young Will and Horace. I missed Halt being the mentor. And I wished Gilan and Jenny had a different ending, but I can't say it was unrealistic either, just not the one I wanted. I truly missed the byplay between Will and everyone else.
But I will say that Will fulfilled every expectation I had for him as a mentor. He was everything I always knew he'd be. And The Royal Ranger had just the right amount of echoes from The Ruins of Gorlan at the moments they counted the most.
The plot and events were reminiscent of The Ruins of Gorlan, but not exhaustively so. The Royal Ranger was a wonderful ending to a beloved series. It brought all of our characters full circle and it was nice to it all done so masterfully. I will truly miss this series.