I’ve been reading this awesome series and thought you might like it. It’s got a lot of aspects we both enjoy, like a sneaky bow toting guy…..and his apprentice. It’s the Rangers Apprentice Series by John Flanagan and the first book is The Ruins of Gorlan.
So here is the breakdown.
Title: The Ruins of Gorlan
Series: Ranger’s Apprentice; Book 1
Author: John Flanagan
Audience: Young Adult
ROTS Setting: UU (Unique Universe), Medieval, No Higher Magic
Synopsis: Follow the orphan boy, Will, as he begins his apprenticeship. While Will had always longed to follow in his fathers footsteps and enter Battle School to become a knight, his skills and personality caught the attention of the mysterious Ranger Halt. Will has a lot to learn if he expects to survive the rigors of Ranger life.
Recommendation: I highly recommend this book. Anyone could read it, but there is a fair amount of violence that younger audiences might not be allowed to read.
Before we get too far, I just wanted to explain the ROTS Setting. It’s kind of like what we used to use back in the day. UU or Unique Universe is a world setting completely separate from our own. Medieval is the apparent technological level and No Higher Magic indicates that there is magic but you won’t find spells, mages or wizards.
(There is indeed “magic” but it’s limited to telepathy and mind control. This limitation isn’t too evident in this book, but explained in the later ones and isn’t a major feature of the series.)
I really want to give some attention to the author, John Flanagan. He lives in Sidney, Australia and began writing this series as collection of short stories for his son. Both of these are clearly evident throughout this book and the later books as well. The fact that these were for his son really strikes home for me because I have tried and occasionally think I should try again to do something similar for my son…..But you know all about that.
The writing is simple, easy to understand, follow, and enjoy with only the occasional big word thrown in to help broaden your vocabulary. There were a couple of words even I didn’t immediately understand, so it was still stimulating. This simplification doesn’t come at the expense of plot lines or the characters. It never felt dumbed down.
The main characters are Will and Ranger Halt. Both are well done with clear personalities and reasons for their actions. They feel like real people, which I think is the highest praise I can give. There are also numerous secondary characters which are written pretty good for the most part, although some are a little two dimensional. While written primarily from Will’s perspective you aren’t limited to that single point of view and are often treated to thoughts or insights from other characters that Will has no knowledge of. It took some getting used to, but usually helps to fully understand the jokes or explains a characters actions.
In general the plot is pretty good and I would have to say better than most. I personally really like that I can read this or one of the rest of the series and just enjoy it with little to no effort on my part. (A good break from the half a million word monsters.)
I can’t get into too many details as this book is mostly about Will discovering things. I guess we’ll have to talk after you read this because there is so much in common with it and our childhood adventures. Including the jokes and corny moments.
Hope to hear from you soon,
P.S. If you decide you like the series read Book 7 BEFORE Book 5, so the story is in chronological order. I couldn’t get through #7 because of it.