The Ghostfaces – John Flanagan

I read this book yesterday,  then thought, “I haven’t written a book review in a while”, and now here we are. Hopefully I can get back into writing book reviews, maybe even making them a regular thing!


The Ghostfaces‘ by John Flanagan was published in May 2016. It is a teen medieval fantasy fiction novel, set in the same world as his ‘Rangers Apprentice‘ series. It’s the sixth book in the ‘Brotherband Chronicles‘. It does have a wee bit of violence. [you can buy a copy here!]

The novel follows Hal and the Heron crew as they get caught in a massive storm at sea. They’re blown so far off course into the open and uncharted sea, that they despair at ever finding land. When they do, all is not as it seems (duh).


Have I ever mentioned that I love John Flanagan? No? Well, I do. Immensely. He’s been one of my favourite authors ever since my mum bought be a copy of the first two ‘Ranger’s Apprentice’ books when they released the whole two-books-in-one thing. Those books doomed me to always buy a John Flanagan book the moment it gets released, and to love each and every book wholeheartedly. This book was no exception.

I’ve loved all of the ‘Brotherband’ books that came before it, so I had a very good idea that I would love this too. The characters feel like old friends I’m meeting up with for a catch up. They really are just a great bunch of characters. They’re all loveable in their own ways. They fit together as a crew and as a group of friends. But they’re all different types of people, with distinct personalities and abilities. They each have flaws, which make them seem like real people. I personally think that’s something that Flanagan does brilliantly.

The story itself is broken up into four parts, which were each distinctive and well written. But they easily work together to create a whole, rollicking good adventure. It’s not as past paced as some of the previous books, but I was okay with that. The massive storm in the first part immersed me so much that I forgot all about the bright sunny day that was outside my window. Seriously, Flanagan’s writing has this way of drawing me in, and making me feel like I’m right there on the Heron with the crew.

I’ve always loved his writing style too. It’s so easy to read, but it never dumbs itself down. This is a book largely targeted at teenagers, but it often uses complex language or imagery. This is great because it can push that teenage audience to learn new things, or to expand their understanding. The writing is charming and witty, and at times downright hilarious; I laughed out loud a number of times, which is rare for me while reading.

In the end, I did predict where the story was going, so it’s not like it was particularly ground-breaking, but it was nice. It was a nice read, and it made me happy and then sad and then happy again. I laughed, I nearly cried, and I really can’t wait for Flanagan’s next book to come out.


Favourite Character:

As always, Hal. Hal, while very similar to Will from Flanagan’s ‘Rangers Apprentice’ series, is such a great character. He’s smart, kind, and brave. He’s just one of those characters you really want to be your friend; don’t get me wrong, he isn’t perfect, but that’s what makes me like him so much.

Favourite Moment:

When Stig meets Tecumsa. So cute.

Favourite Quote:

“Well, we all know the theory that the world is a huge saucer, supported on the back of a giant tortoise,” Thorn said. “Then think about this. We know that to the east, there’s Hibernia, Araluen and then the huge land mass of the continent leading to Aslava and the Steppes. It makes sense to believe that there must be a similar land mass to the west to counterbalance it. Otherwise, the world would overbalance and tip off the tortoise’s back.”




If you’ve read ‘The Ghostfaces’, or any of Flanagan’s books, let me know what you thought in the comments! And let me know what you thought of my review too!

– Gabi


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