Thursday, January 13, 2011
Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
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