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Ranger's apprentice: ruins of Gorlan

by John Flanagan


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Bestial villains, noble knights and deposed despots prepare their forces for impending battle in the first book in the Ranger's Apprentice series by Australian author Flanagan. Fifteen-year-old Will, orphaned as a child, and his close friends anxiously await Choosing Day, when each will be chosen-or not-for apprenticeship in one of several schools. Those not chosen wind up as farm labor to help feed the castledwellers. "It was a fate Will feared more than anything." He entertains notions of entering Battleschool like his classmate-and sometime adversary-Horace. But because of Will's diminutive stature, and a knack for climbing, hiding and all things clandestine, he is instead chosen to be a Ranger, under the tutelage of Halt, who years earlier exiled the evil Morgarath to the land of the Mountains of Rain and Night. As Will learns archery and stealth techniques, he makes peace with Horace (who is being tormented by older classmates at Battleschool), and the two must then travel with a contingent of Rangers and warriors to fight invading, "almost invincible" Kalkara-bearlike assassins sent by Morgarath to kill Halt. On the whole, the story owes much to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Flanagan's Rangers more than recall Tolkien's, and the deposed Morgarath and his inhuman Wargals parallel Saruman and the Orcs a bit too closely. Still, for the uninitiated, this is an exciting tale of battle and honor. Ages 10-up.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 4-8–A strong debut in a new fantasy series. Will hopes to become a knight; instead, he winds up as a Ranger's apprentice, joining the secretive corps that uses stealth, woodcraft, and courage to protect the kingdom. His aptitude and bravery gradually earn the respect of his gruff but good-hearted master. When the kingdom is attacked by evil magic forces, Will helps track down and defeat a couple of particularly nasty beasts. This closing episode sets the stage for a good-versus-evil war that will likely be at the heart of future volumes. In this opener, though, most of the story focuses on the learning process that Will goes through as an apprentice. Descriptions of Ranger craft are fascinating. Exciting confrontations with bullies and wild boars help to establish the boy's emerging character. Side stories involving a rival Battleschool apprentice and the identity of Will's father are woven in smoothly. The author occasionally spells things out more than is needed when actions demonstrate them clearly enough. However, the well-paced plot moves effortlessly toward the climax, letting readers get to know the world and the characters gradually as excitement builds. The public adoration Will gains at the end seems slightly overdone given the established distrust people feel for Rangers, but it's still a pleasing finish and should leave readers eager to share the future adventures of the Ranger's apprentice.–Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

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