18 November, 2010
Ranger's Apprentice 1: The Ruins of Gorlan
The Ruins of Gorlan - John Flanagan
I've known about this series for awhile, but have only just decided to read it. And how glad I am that I did!
After his parents died, Will became a ward of Baron Arald. As one of five wards to turn 15, he will be part of the Choosing where the Craftmasters choose their apprentices. More than anything, he wants to go to BattleSchool, convinced his father was a great warrior. When Baron Arald's Ranger, Halt, attends the choosing, Will thinks little of it. The Rangers are a mysterious bunch, whose ability to move silently and seemingly appear out of nowhere have given them a reputation of being magical to the superstitious villagers. When the Battlemaster rejects Will due to his small size, he is surprised and a little concerned to find himself apprenticed to Halt. But as will is to discover, maybe being a Ranger isn't as bad as he thinks.
I often find Fantasy Fiction aimed at children to be over simplistic, with very little substance. I often feel that the writer rushes to the end, with problems that seemed completely unsolvable suddenly having a solution. It is almost like they have an idea for a series, but are unsure if they will be given the green light to write more, so end abruptly or simplistically, just in case. With The Ruins of Gorlan, I found none of this.
Flanagan seems to have realised he was in this for the long haul. There would be more than one book, and he would tell his story properly. In an area of fiction where people are more than happy to jump on the band wagon and put out any rubbish to catch the current trend, Flanagan's book stand out as being well written, well thought out with substantial characters and a world that I am looking forward to exploring further.