I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. I was a little skeptical about having "finished" the series and then going back and getting some little vignettes like this...I was afraid it would be kind of anti-climactic. In a small way it was, as all such things inevitably are, but all in all, I found the stories delightful and entertaining as always.
At points I wondered if the stories were meant to be read all at once, because Flanagan tended to be a bit more
repetitive in his explanations of things than usual — and I have to say that's one of the things that has always bothered me a bit about these books. Granted, for the intended audience, maybe the explanations are understandable (especially going from book to book), but here it felt a little excessive. For instance, I think that in nearly every story we are told that people hold the Rangers in awe and are rather daunted by their presence, or that Rangers and their horses have a special bond. I guess it was just felt a little awkward when I'd read the same explanations just a few pages before.
One of the final stories really tore my heart...had me crying like a baby. I was afraid that the book would end on that note, but luckily we get a sweet lift in the last story. And as for that ending...yes. Kind of bittersweet, in a way, because it does seem to close the book on this set of stories, but it definitely had me smiling.
I think my favorite tale had to be "The Hibernian." Now that
is a series I would love to see Flanagan write. Especially if he branched out and wrote it for a somewhat older audience. Oh, if he did that, I would be in heaven.
Probably a 3.5 on this one. Maybe 3.75. ;-) I don't really feel I should judge it against the rest of the series, because it's not a full-length novel, but still...3.5 should be about right.