Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan
I have to admit, I resisted reading this book because of the cover, which has a rather sinister looking hooded figure on it. I don’t like scary books, but as it turns out, this isn’t a scary book. You’d think that after all these years I’d have learned not to judge a book by its cover!
This the first book in a series about a young boy name Will who is the 15 year-old ward of Baron Arald. There is a Choosing Day for wards after they turn 15, when they are either apprenticed to a Craftsperson or sent to work the farms. Will wants to be chosen for Battleschool, but is passed over as too small. Instead, he’s chosen to be a Ranger’s apprentice, a decision that first confuses and disappoints him.
There is evil lurking in the kingdom, and Will and his master Halt will have a pivotal role to play in the battle to defeat Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, and his platoon of half-human Wargals. The story follows Will as he learns his craft and begins to gain confidence and take pride in his accomplishments.
This is a great book for adventure-lovers 10 and up. I enjoyed it, but felt that the female characters got short shrift. Hopefully, they’ll be better developed in future volumes of the series. There are five Ranger’s Apprentice books out in paperback right now.
Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan, Puffin Books, $7.99