My brother has been consumed with reading the Ranger’s Apprentice series, and has been trying to convince me to read the books. In fact, it is probably a good thing that he was forced to wait for them to come in to the library, or he would have gotten nothing else accomplished. That was several months ago, and I have just now read the first book of the series. It took two days for me to finish it’s 249 pages, but only because I also had other responsibilities. And now I am wondering why I did not read it sooner.
The first book of the Ranger’s Apprentice series, The Ruins of Gorlan, introduces us to 15 year-old Will. He is a ward of the castle, and has always been somewhat of a misfit because of his unknown heritage and his unusually small size for his age. Because they have no parents to arrange apprenticeships with the Craftmasters, the wards of the castle must be appointed to apprenticeships on Choosing Day, where they apply for their desired appointments and are either accepted or rejected by the Craftmasters. Most of the teenage boys would gravitate toward the area of Battleschool training, or to the area in which they had expertise – whether that be Diplomatic Service, Horseschool, Scribescool, Cooking, or some other such service. But Will’s talents did not lie in any of these typical areas. In fact, Will had no confidence that he would be appointed to any of these areas.
But then we are introduced to Halt. This Ranger, with his dark cloak and serious nature, made Will nervous. But through a test, Will was appointed as his apprentice. Will learned many skills that will prepare him to be an effective informant and protector for his fief as a Ranger. During this apprenticeship, he learns much from Halt about honor, loyalty, and friendship. He also has many adventures, including a Boar Hunt, and a pursuit of the Kalkara. And by the end of the book, he is preparing for the inevitable battle to come against Morgarath, the Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night.
This was a fantastic story. The battles were described with intensity and vividness. The characters were well defined. Some of my person favorite themes were those of friendship and individuality. Will was a misfit, yes. But he did not somehow overcome all of his weaknesses and save the day. Instead, he was trained to use the unique skills that he did have, and the use them effectively and heroically. Humility was also an important theme, when Will was given undue attention, as well as the theme of justice against bullying.
This, however, is not a Christian fantasy book. The only drawback that I have about this book is the profane language. There were a few instances where the word d**n was used, and once when the word h*** was used. It was completely unnecessary, and a disappointment, considering the quality of the rest of the book. There is also a slightly romantic relationship that was not inappropriate whatsoever, but I honestly thought that it didn’t add anything to the story, and that it was somewhat immature.
But, in the end, I would definitely recommend this book. It is a captivating and interesting read, for a broad range of ages. If you end up buying a copy of the book, just white out the crass words. It’s a shame that mine is a library book. 🙂 I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series!
Published on 5 June, 2012. Last updated on