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The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1) Paperback – June 8, 2006
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main characters begin as children but grow up quickly throughout the series. Unlike too many "young adult" books, the adults are more interesting than the children, and the children realize that becoming an adult is something to strive for rather than resist.
All of the books are very funny as well as exciting. The "good guys" all have a wry sense of humor (obviously the author's as well), while the "bad guys" are typically overbearing and too serious. Children also fail to grasp the humor; growing up is shown as (in part) a process of coming to understand (and use) a rather dry wit with one's friends.
These are "sword and sorcery" type books, except that there doesn't seem to be any sorcery! Several people claim to have magical type powers, but the powers seem to all be fake, and the people who claim them are all bad guys. Several strange religious prophets also turn out to be hucksters.
The battle scenes are realistically told (though the skills of the protagonists are not always realistic). Death is not whitewashed; bones break and blood spurts and it HURTS. There is a realism to the entire series that is a wonderful change from typical "fantasy" fare.
There is no sex and only minimal time is given to love. The major virtues and concerns of the characters are honor, patience, friendship, a skeptical intelligence, and hard work. The characters struggle to master themselves and become better people.
In short: realistic, serious, and honest books about growing up -- all in a fun "epic fantasy" package. Highly recommended.
John Flanagan does a decent job answering the question in the first book of the Ranger's Apprentice series, "The Ruins of Gorlan." Besides setting up the medieval Anglo backdrop, Flanagan also spins up a solid fantasy story with plenty of monsters, weapons, a likable pair of teenage heroes, and a growing menace from a rarely-seen villain making a comeback.
On Choosing Day, Will hopes to be selected for Battleschool -- but he's rejected by all the people taking apprentices. The one exception is Halt, a Ranger.
And after Will inadvertently passes a test (climbing up a sheer wall into the Baron's study), Halt accepts him as an apprentice. At first, Will's new life seems to be all chores and unglamorous lessons, but he starts to realize the importance of the Ranger's skills. And at the same time, his fellow orphan Horace is being tormented at Battleschool by a gang of bullies.
Unfortunately, the kingdom is in new trouble -- the evil baron Morgarath is starting to send his monstrous Wurgals out once more, and there are even rumors that the ghastly Kalkara are also abroad. When it seems that the king himself may be Morgarath's target, Will and Halt are sent on a mission to stop the Kalkara -- except that the target isn't who they expect.
The world John Flanagan conjures up here is pretty recognizably a medieval England-that-never-was, with hints of similarly semi-familiar lands to explore (Gallica, Temujai). And he makes it more his own with elaborate fictional history, slightly too-Tolkienian flourishes (a villain named Morgarath?) and the first blossoming of a solid action/fantasy series.Read more ›
This book is well written and very entertaining. I recommend it for those with a good imagination and a appreciation for strong character writing.
Here is to "The Burning Bridge".
At the same time as developing his skills as a ranger and growing up, he is engaged in some of the troubles in his country, Araluen (a thinly disguised England).
The book(s) are pacy and well written. While Will is the main character, other characters are well drawn and develop over the series, as do the relationships between them, in a way that I believe is appropriate for the age group. You also get to see some foibles and weaknesses - they aren't cardboard cutouts! The fantasy genre is managed without magic (despite the title of Book 5, The Sorceror in the North) - "success" is about values such as character, skill, courage and teamwork - oh and skill? the message there is one of 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration, as we see Will and his friend Horace, practise, practise, practise...
One small downside is that some of the books - eg Book 1 - stand alone, but some of the others flow into each other a bit more. I guess that is good for marketing (!) if a little dissatisfying when you finish a book and feel like the story is still up in the air. Just as well the author is getting them out very quickly!
The age recommendations on these books are appropriate. The length is good for this age group too.
My son was clamouring for the latest book - book 5 was released a fortnight ago here in Australia - and he has read it with great enthusiasm. Several other children in his class are reading them and they have greatly enjoyed discussing them and sharing them around. It is great to see that buzz around a series of books.
There should be more like this one!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great book. A little slow in the beginning but great to start a series. Loved it !Published 9 days ago
I like Will and Halt, great characters! And I gave 5 Star because it keeps me interested throughout the book.Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
This story is so good in so many ways; storyline, world building, plotting, dialogue, and most of all, characters that are, "real people" in every way. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Alenya
No ancient danger or prophecy, but a simple story of a hero coming into his own. And for that reason there is a certain charm to the simplicity of this book. Read morePublished 21 days ago by David A. Schultz