Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

Flanagan, John.  Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan. Puffin Books.  2006. ISBN 0142406635

Reader’s Annotation: Will is determined to become a Battleschool apprentice to honor his dead father’s memory despite not having the build for it.  Instead he gets chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice and little does he know the role he will play in the upcoming attack on the kingome.

Plot Summary: Will is a ward of Baron Arald after his mother dies in childbirth and he is deposited on the Baron’s doorstep.  Upon turning 15 each ward can request or is chosen to apprentice to one of the master’s.  Will doesn’t know who his father was but he believes he was a great knight in the army and therefore wants to join the Battleshool to honor his unknown father despite being small and lanky.  Instead he fights himself being picked as the reluctant apprentice to a Ranger, one of the band of cloaked and mysterious figures who are stuff of legends and fears.  Soon he learns they are the protectors of the kingdom and Will may have to play his part of a protector sooner than expected as Morgarath, an exiled lord, gathers forces to overthrow the king.

Critical Evaluation

This book is perfect for the reader looking for adventure with a dollop of fantasy thrown in.  Will is your typical teenage boy who thinks he knows what he is destined for but soon learns there is much out there he doesn’t know.  The great thing about Will’s character is he isn’t overly cocky and while he does have his moments of sulkiness he is not whiny to the point where you want to shake him.  I loved watching him mature and grow under the tutelage of his master, the Ranger Halt.  There are moments that made me laugh out loud and actually have to read the lines to whoever happened to be around me because I thought they were so funny.

This book is perfect for the teen reader especially those reluctant teenage male readers.  The pace moves quickly enough it sucks you into the story, the characters are well written and the relationships and bonds that form between them will draw readers in.  I didn’t notice any cursing, while there hints of some crushes amongst the wards nothing happens romantically/sexually and even though there are fights nothing too graphic takes place.  This is one of those books I would recommend in a heart beat.

About the author

John Flanagan grew up in Australia and began writing Ranger’s Apprentice for his son about ten years ago.  Flash forward to today and the Ranger’s Apprentice series is a bestselling series that appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

There are currently 11 books out in the series and John continues to write them til today.



Curriculum Ties


Book talking idea

What trade would you pick and think your talents lean towards?

Reading level

Ages 10 and up.

Challenge Issues


Why did I include this book?

I got my husband to start listening to this series via audiobook because I’ve heard it is so popular among teenage boys.  I just had to read it to see if it lived up to the hype.


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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction

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