As a fan of John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series I was not sure what to expect with the first in his The Outcasts series. However I soon settled into this novel and came to appreciate and enjoy what he had written. Of course while his work is aimed predominantly at older children and younger teens it can be enjoyed by various age levels in my opinion.
There was a reasonable amount of various nautical terms floated around but nothing too technical. Flanagan does do an excellent job of helping the reader experience this almost historical world (after all his fantasy world is based on past civilisations) through the finer details without overloading them with information. But what really sells his work is the care he applies to his characters.
Each character is no stereotype even though they may at times appear that way. And it would be easy for him to fall into using stereotypes. However he fleshes out each character as a unique and interesting creation in a very humble manner that's incredibly accessible to the reader.
Flanagan's world is never kept too distant from the reader, his down to earth writing allowing reader's the chance to fall in love with what they read. Certainly some element of cliche exists in his work and he is no world-builder like Tolkien but what he does well is balance out the elements to create a story perfect for his target audience. He creates likeable characters, just enough details to realistically portray this as a real world and moreover adds warmth and passion to his writing. The characters and world come alive because the writer believes them to be and clearly loves writing for children and young teenagers.
That all said I fully enjoyed this and look forward to seeing if he can develop this series into one equally as interesting as The Ranger's Apprentice. And do I encourage you to read this? Certainly and not only because John Flanagan is an Aussie with a nice down-to-earth manner of writing. I recommend this because I see that he writes books that subscribe to the perfect children's writer manual: they are accessible at ten and equally accessible at 15, 20, 30, 40 and so on. So read them simply to enjoy the storytelling ability and life of the books.