Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central LibraryStaff Picks

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John FlanaganBad news: School starts in little more than a month. Good news: That means there’s still plenty of time for summer reading.  And if think you’re going to have it difficult with your classes come the fall, you have nothing on Will. From learning to run without making a sound to being able to shoot a bullseye at a hundred paces, this young man learns everything needed to be a Ranger. Read my summary and review of The Ruins of Gorlan below to find out why Will might wish for his own summer vacation.  

When 15-year-old Will is rejected by Battleschool, he becomes apprenticed to the mysterious ranger Halt.  There he learns many techniques and settles well into his new life, while his former ward mate Horace has difficulty adjusting to the bullying he puts up with after being selected for Battleschool.  However, the danger becomes all too real and terrifying for Will as he and his master must prepare the fiefdom for war and hunt down vicious beasts called the Kalkara, assassinating ape-like creatures with a deadly gaze. They were sent out by Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, on a quest of vengeance against those who stopped his rebellion fifteen years ago, including Will’s new master.

This book follows the classic fantasy formula, but it lacks many extraordinary magical creatures. The Kalkara and Wargals are interesting, but they appear only very early and very late in the book. The book’s focus is on the character development of Will and Horace rather than plot.  It will appeal to the non-fantasy reader as well as to the avid fantasy fan because of this focus on the mundane. Redmont and the kingdom of Araluen come alive with vivid descriptions of food, drink and castle customs. There is a scene in the book where Horace gets vengeance on the bullies that tormented him with help from Will and Halt, and it conforms more toward the value of “eye for an eye” rather than more generous and altruistic ethics. Other than that, this is a great title that will appeal to male readers of all ages.

The Ruins of Gorlan is the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan.  Check it out along with other books in the series at MLK Library or your local DC Public Library branch today!