As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

October 13, 2011

The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan, 2004

He had always wanted to be a warrior. The Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways, made him nervous. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now fifteen year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t realize yet is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. (Amazon)

Review by Megan :)

I have to say that I have always loved Robin Hood. Loved loved LOVED Robin Hood. The adventure, the archery, it's all just awesome. And then I discovered Lord of the Rings. And fell in love with it. I love LOTR for many reasons, but one of them is Aragorn and his Ranger buddies. Mysterious people skulking around, one is never sure just who's side they're on and then it turns out that they are good guys and there's sword-fighting and archery and overall excitement. I love this! So when I discovered a series called Ranger's Apprentice that had a picture of a boy in a cloak with a bow in his hands and a summary full of promise, I went straight to my local library and checked Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan. And quickly checked out books 2 and 3. And 4 and 5, and then the rest of them (there are currently 10, the 11th is coming out and contains only short stories).

Ranger's Apprentice is a delightful series about an orphan boy, Will, who is chosen by the mysterious and grim Ranger Halt to become his apprentice. Will possesses many of the talents a ranger needs: stealth, curiosity, and the ability to keep his mouth shut. Also a tendency to ask lots (and lots) of questions, which Halt pretends to be annoyed by. Will's talents need honing, but he may not have time. The evil Lord Morgarath has risen in his domain of The Mountains of Rain and Night, and trouble is beginning to spread through the land of Araluen. They say the Kalkara are hunting, the Kalkara, those primeval creatures who can stop a man's heart just by looking him in the eyes. Those evil creatures whom only the best hunters might have a chance to stop. And who are the best hunters but Rangers?

This series is one of those rare and wonderful gender-line-crossers: the main character is male, but with strong female supporting characters, and is one of the few series adored by the anti-book males in my family.

Market: Middle Grade to YA
Language: Mild to moderate (some d--- or hell-o, maybe occasional 'what the devil' but nothing more)
Sensuality: None (there is a quick kiss in the first one)
Violence: Your typical action/adventure stuff
Mature Themes: bullying, finding one's identity, a touch of romance. Books 3 and 4: slavery (captives taken in war)

Book formats:


Alice said...

Your review of this book makes me want to read it and get it for my son. I think he'd like it too.

Melvin and Carly said...

These books are fantastic! Everyone in my family - and I do mean everyone: mom, dad, brother, sister, uncles, cousins... - loves them. They appeal to a wide audience. My 9- and 11-year-old nephews are particularly taken with them. These are great books to help instill a love for reading, especially for young boys.

Meredith said...

My niece really loves these, but I wasn't sure if they'd be for me. This review makes them sound really fun, though.

Anonymous said...

My son and I started out reading these together. He couldn't handle the pace at which we were reading (a little each night) and proceeded to devour up the books on his own after #4. (I haven't had time to pick one up since #5)

I agree that this series has a wider appeal. I also agree with the comment about strong female characters. This is great for the demographic this series is aimed at. I know how I want my son to view females, but it is great when that behavior can be modeled in books or movies too.

My 11 y.o. son is so enamored he wants me to make him a Ranger costume for Halloween. ; )