They have always scared him in the past -- the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied. . .
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I’ve been thinking about reading this series for years, but always chose other books. The thing is, I almost never read non-Christian fantasy because I have no idea what might be in it. Well, after reading good reviews of a couple of the Ranger’s Apprentice books on Into the Book, I decided it was time to give them a try and picked up the first couple books from the library. You can usually gauge my reaction to a story by how fast I read it. I read The Ruins of Gorlan straight through in one afternoon. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised. I was quickly hooked and reluctant whenever I had to put the book down.
The characters were awesome. I found them well developed and believable. I felt for Will and loved to cheer for him and watch his growth. Who doesn’t love to see someone deemed weak turn into a hero? I adored Halt from the instant he appeared in the story (those who know me well know I have a thing for Rangers). I just love those very capable, highly mysterious, rather grim and sarcastic mentor characters—and Halt was one of the best. And, of course, can’t forget about Horace. My heart ached for him many times, and I very much enjoyed watching his character growth as well.
While not Christian, as I mentioned, I found the book to have very good morals. Heavy emphasis was put on honesty, honor, and loyalty, while bullying was shown as horrible and cruel. The only drawback to the book were some instances of language. The word d**n was used several times in dialog, and h*** once. If you can overlook that, the story was exciting and kept me thoroughly engrossed in the adventure. I am anxiously looking forward to diving into book two. If the remaining 9 books are as excellent as this one, I have some very enjoyable reading ahead of me. It’s rare that a book makes it to the list of my all time favorites, but this one has. I highly recommend it, especially to fellow lovers of fantasy and those who love the idea of Rangers.
For more information about the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan, check out: www.rangersapprentice.com