Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Book Jacket

They have always scared him in the past--the Rangers with their dark cloaks and mysterious ways.  Folks in the village claim that Rangers have the power to become invisible at will.  A skill Will would now dearly love to have.

Will's heart had been set on Battleschool, on becoming a hero to the kingdom.  But Will is small for his fifteen years, too small to be a warrior.  He possesses other skills, though--a Ranger's skills.  He can move silent as a shadow.  He can climb.  And he is brave.

He will need all these skills and more.  For Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces.  A battle for the kingdom is destined to begin.  A battle the likes of which Will cannot even imagine.

Combining the intensity of a young King Arthur with the epic fantasy of The Lord of the Rings, John Flanagan brings to America the adventure of the year.


One of the reviews I read for this book described it as the story of a young Aragorn.  It takes almost no stretch of the imagination to believe that this story takes place in Northern Middle Earth where the Rangers train.  Camoflauged cloaks and tracking skills and ridiculously awesome weapon stunts seem to be the Ranger standard, whether in Lord of the Rings or Ranger's Apprentice.

Flanagan does an excellent job of making his story feel incredibly real.  I think I actually went through Battleschool and Ranger training along with Horace and Will.  I enjoyed the day-to-day grittiness and exhaustion that Flanagan makes somehow interesting.  And of course, there's heroism and friendships and adventures.

I really liked this book despite a cheesy perfunctory romance and a bit of authorial over-explaining.  The Ruins of Gorlan will be a sure-fire hit with boys, and if they are anything like me, girls as well.

Four out of five flaming arrows.

Release Date:  June 2005
Reading Level:  Grade 5+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL FLA

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the main character Will as well as his friends and mentors. I don't think the initial animosity between Horace and Will was well drawn but it was made clear that it existed and that was enough to show the maturation of the two characters as that conflict was worked out. Honestly I thought the relationship between the two and the understanding of the background that was contributing to the conflict was one of the best lessons in the story. It's a great anti-bullying message and really drives home the point that sometimes kids assume that adults know what is going on when in fact the adults have no idea until the kids tell them.

    I don't think there will be many surprises for long time readers but the outcomes should satisfy those readers and the nature of the intended surprises should keep newer readers interested without being disappointed or bored.