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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Juvenile/Teen Fantasy Series - Recommended
"The Ranger's Apprentice Collection" includes John Flanagan's first three books in the series, The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1), The Burning Bridge (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 2), and The Icebound Land (Ranger's Apprentice, Book 3).

The story lines center around a young Ranger's Apprentice named Will and his circle of friends. Since...
Published on December 28, 2008 by C. Hill

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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars can be too mature for the target audience of pre-teen to early teen boys
While the books have a certain charm and interest that pull you into the story; there are many elements that can be quite scary and overwhelming for many children. I would hesitate to purchase these books for children under 14 or 15 and by then they are not as interested in the story line. My daughter did not like them at all and did not even finish the first book (and...
Published on February 26, 2010 by Dreamer2229


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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Juvenile/Teen Fantasy Series - Recommended, December 28, 2008
This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
"The Ranger's Apprentice Collection" includes John Flanagan's first three books in the series, The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1), The Burning Bridge (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 2), and The Icebound Land (Ranger's Apprentice, Book 3).

The story lines center around a young Ranger's Apprentice named Will and his circle of friends. Since there are three books in this set I will not go into the individual plots (see the links to books, above). Younger teens will enjoy the way Flanagan treats youth in the series and the overall positive atmosphere.

While these books are written for younger readers, the story telling is engaging enough to keep adults interested as well (both my wife and I also read these).

It should be noted that there are at least 5 additional books in this series now, so this might be a bigger investment than planned since my son wants the rest of them now.

Recommended!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ranger's Apprentice Books, October 23, 2008
This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
My son and I absolutely love these books. The development of the characters is excellent and the story is extremely interesting and exciting. Anyone looking for books that a boy OR girl would enjoy should definitely check into these. They would make terrific Christmas presents.

One thing, though, I think the age range is off. I think anyone, even college age and above, would love these.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series for boys...., November 21, 2009
By 
This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
My 10 year old son read the first book, Ruins of Gorland, in 2 days and then begged me to get the rest of the books in the series....he loves these stories. We have been reading together and he wants one more chapter, one more chapter! i love hearing that from a boy who until recently read just because he HAD to for school and now he is reading for the pure joy of it! What more could a mom ask for! The stories are fast paced, full of detail, tons of action and suspense throughout. Characters are fun, adventurous, relatable and have personality that resonates through this authors writing skill. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED SERIES.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE RIOT. ONE RANGER., March 17, 2010
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
I am an avid reader of authors such as Tolkien, Erin Hunter, Brian Jacques, etc. Being a Lord of The Rings fan, the Ranger's Apprentice books caught my eye. After reading the first book, I was completely hooked. The first book in the series is the only book that I ever read twice because it was so good. I would have read it over and over except my mother told me to "get a life"! These books are my favorite of any other books that I have read, and I have read a lot of books for my age!

The series is so good because it has a lot of action, but also a meaning. It is not just another action book, and it also has humor in it. It makes me want to be a ranger. When you read it, you feel like you are there, fighting, laughing, crying... etc. The other nice thing is that the storyline is not predictable, so there are lots of surprises!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read series for parents and young fans of fantasy, July 19, 2011
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This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
This is the finest family fantasy series that I have read in ten years. John Flanagan is a master storyteller, but there is so much more to appreciate than lively characters and great plots. John Flanagan wrote these stories originally for his grandchildren, and that love and care is evident in the stories.

So, my bottom line up-front, is buy these books today, and start reading them as soon as they come in.

Fair warning, there are mild spoilers in this review.

Here are a few things that were especially endearing.

First, the stories revolve around young teens growing up in a world that is not so different than our own. His point of view characters are alive, and they say and do things that tweens and teens would do and say. The characters grow through the course of the books, and John Flanagan changes their diction as the characters change and grow.

Second, the adults portrayed in the story are credible, loving, and wise. They have their own foibles. Halt, one of the main, adult characters is addicted to coffee (as we imagine that John Flanagan likely is; more on that later), and the head cook for the barony in the opening story is "thin challenged." But, overall, the adults make reasonable and compassionate decisions. They care about the protagonists in the stories. They try to make the world a better place. The adults are not portrayed as hopeless out of date or dolts or corrupted. As a reader, you like the adults in the story, and you want them to do well.

Third, good is generally rewarded, and evil is generally punished in this series. There is not some endless, primordial gray soup of moral ambiguity that too many young adult novels fall into in contemporary fiction. The heroes are heroes. The villains are villains. The villains are not set up as foils though. They make logical decisions based on their own black hearted motives. The heroes do win in the end, but it is never a sure thing by page 63! The heroes are clever, devoted, and sometimes lucky.

Fourth, the world that John Flanagan portrays comes alive. John Flanagan interjects his own experiences and views into the world. It helps, because the various regions and kingdoms are modeled on real-world counterparts. There are Vikings and Arabians and Mongols! Oh my! They have slightly different names, but the analogies are clear enough. Then, John Flanagan uses his own knowledge of those cultures to show clever and reasonable interactions. Most of the cultures fare well under John Flanagan's scrutiny. For example, while some of the Viking equivalent culture are blackhearts and set-up major conflicts in three of his books, most of the Vikings are honorable and good hearted. It is clear that Mr. Flanagan is not a French food fan, and he takes some obvious joy in poking fun at the Scotts and in folks that do not like coffee. None of it is mean-spirited, and all of it adds personality to the books.

Fifth, finally, friendship and honor take center stage in a positive way. These are books that teach moral lessons without being preachy.

Brilliant John Flanagan, brilliant!

In service,

Rich
[...]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic young adult series! (ages 12+), October 2, 2009
By 
WDEJ's Mom (St. Louis, MO) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
This series was recommended to me by a friend (age 40ish) and I (late 20's) am completely hooked!!!

I am almost done with Book Two, can't wait to read the 3rd, and even more excited to read the rest of the series to find out what happens with Will and his friends!

Excitement, laugh out loud humor, creativity, and the irresistible personalities of all the characters make me want to applaud the author in a standing ovation!

I am a fan of young adult literature and this definitely is climbing the ranks of my favorite young adult series of all time!! (And again, I'm not even finished with Book Two!) My only concern is there have been a few times so far that I thought were a little predictable, however I'm also always the first to pick up subtle hints in most books and movies for that matter and can tell ya the ending before I've seen it. Honestly, it didn't bother me enough to gaff at it and still enjoy the story VERY MUCH.

Boys AND girls will enjoy this series - a great balance in this book so both genders will love it. Give it as a gift to one who doesn't like to read and they'll read it! As for the age range, it's listed here as recommended for ages 9-12, but I think I would say ages 12 and up!! There are monsters, wars (therefore gory details), and thinking about my own daughter here, I don't think I'd want her to read it until she was 12.

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series., February 21, 2009
By 
This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
We just finished the fifth book. And when I say we, I mean my 12 year old daughter, my 10 year old daughter and myself. My girls really enjoyed the story and are wondering when the 6th book is coming out. The main character, Will, has characteristics that I believe all parents hope their children possess, including honesty and loyalty. And it is a good read,
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The boy with the silver leaf, March 22, 2009
This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
Imagine if the Rangers from "Lord of the Rings" took apprentices -- what kind of life would that be?

John Flanagan does a decent job answering the question in the first three books of the Ranger's Apprentice series, compiled in "The Ranger's Apprentice Collection." It's a solid trio of fantasy books with plenty of weapons, monsters, a medieval backdrop with some very familiar cultures, and a teenage hero who risks it all for his land.

Hoping to be selected for Battleschool, Will is shocked when he's chosen as an apprentice for the Ranger, Halt. His new life is out in the woods, doing chores and learning unglamorous lessons, but slowly he realizes 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 Burning Bridge" takes Will, Gilan and Horace out into the land of Celtica, only to find that the Wargals are swarming all over the place, and the Celts are missing. Even worse, the boys stumble across a tunnel and bridge meant to allow Morgarath's army out into the open -- and a vast collection of mercenary Skandians who have been hired to help crush the king's army. And to stop them,. Will may end up in the hands of his worst enemies.

And "The Ice Bound Land" sees Will and and a girl calling herself Evanlyn captured by the Skandians, and forced into a life of slavery -- and unfortunately the harsh life and a local drug threaten to destroy Will. Meanwhile, Halt is determined to save his apprentice even if he has to defy the other Rangers, so he sets out across the vaguely European continent with knight-in-training Horace.

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, Celtica, Skandia) and some nicely familiar weapons Except he also adds in some fantasy monsters, a complex backhistory to Araluen, and the elite woodland-warriors known as the Rangers.

The first half of "The Ruins of Gorlan" is a fairly slow experience, mostly made up of Will and Horace finding out what their new lives are all about (knife study, ponies, stew and tracking exercises). But then the plot speeds up into a darker, bloodier affair -- and by "Burning Bridge" it's expanded into a true epic with sabotage, clashing armies and a climactic duel.

And Flanagan has a knack for fast-moving, detailed prose and lots of suspenseful moments (such as the cat-and-mouse game with the Kalkara, or the infiltration of Morgarath's fortress). While there's a twist at the end of "Burning Bridge" that not many fantasy stories have, he keeps the more personal quests going right through the end of the third book. Unfortunately, it still leaves us on a cliffhanger that presumably is fixed in the fourth book.

Will is also an excellent hero in the Lloyd Alexander mold -- he dreams of being a valiant knight, but as he matures, he begins to see that the Rangers have a special value to the kingdom. And Flanagan is unafraid to put his poor hero through the wringer, especially when he's reduced to a drug-riddled wreck. Halt is quite the reverse -- quirky, taciturn and incredibly tough and deadly. And over the course of these books, he forms a sort of father-son relationship with Will and Horace.

The first three books in the "Ranger's Apprentice Collection" start off slow, but rapidly blossom into a solid, epic fantasy series full of kidnappings, monstrous enemies, and all-too-human characters. Definitely a good read... but have the fourth on hand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, 'young adult', light-fantasy adventure, June 12, 2010
This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
"The Ruins of Gorlan" is the first book in "The Ranger's Apprentice" series by John Flanagan.

This book, and I suspect the rest of the series, is most definitely 'young adult' fare. The story is simple and the language toned down. It was not gratuitously violent (as many fantasy books can be) and the plot was straight forward and often, fairly predictable. However, because it is 'young adult', there are some moments in this book that would be taken as grievous errors of story telling in adult fantasy. i.e. when the main protagonists have trouble seeing the 'obvious' or doing things that put them unnecessarily in harms way.

Conclusion:
I am a die-hard adult fantasy fan, however, I kind of enjoyed this light fantasy tale. It was pleasant, easy to read and provided a bit of respite from some the more detailed and deeper (and sometimes exceedingly violent) efforts that I've been reading lately. I think a lot of 'young adults' would like this work, and as such...5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of a movie, March 14, 2013
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This review is from: The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) (Paperback)
This is a wonderful series worthy of becoming a movie classic like Harry Potter. It ranks right up there with the Grey Wolf Throne series and the Wizard's heir. There is tons of action, comraderie, twists and turns in the plots everything needed to make it a page turner. My husband and I are fighting over who gets to read the next installment first that is if we can keep it out of the hands of our daughter and her friends as soon as the books arrive.

I hope Mr. Flanagan continues to add to the collection.
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The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books)
The Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books) by John Flanagan (Paperback - September 11, 2008)
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