The Ruins of Gorlan Review

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The Young Adult fiction craze is here to stay. While many of the YA I’ve seen is not suitable for Christian preteens and teens (Harry Potter Series, Twilight Series), I was pleasantly surprised when my grandsons encouraged me to read the Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan. before I give my complete review of the first book in the series, here’s a little about it.

The Ruins of Gorlan

Ranger’s Apprentice Book #1

by John Flanagan

They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaksand shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied. . . .

Here is the fantasy adventure that launched the Ranger’s Apprentice series, an epic story of heroes and villains that has become an international phenomenon. Perfect for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series, and George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire series.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This first novel of the Ranger’s Apprentice was a real treat to read. It is set in an earlier time  of knights and mythical kingdoms where chivalry and honor were a way of life. It has a Christian world view. Although it never mentions Christianity, Biblical and moral values are seen throughout. It isn’t too gory for preteens or most elementary age students who read on that level although it has some violence organic to the storyline. It also doesn’t have the occult overtones as some other popular adult fiction. The only drawback is it was written in England, and a few of our milder curse words that are not curse words at all over there were used. An explanation of that for elementary and middle school students should suffice.

The story centers around Will. Will never knew his parents, but he’d been told his father was a brave knight. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and go to battle school. Because of his general build, he’s not accepted, and his world comes crashing down. His life long dream of becoming a brave knight will never happened. Then he’s accepted as a ranger’s apprentice. He doesn’t know much about the ranger core, very few do, and he’s unsure of what they do and why they’re so mysterious. When he’s selected to join them, he’s not even sure he isn’t being punished. He is about to find out they are basically the secret service of the kingdom, and by becoming a ranger, he can do more to defend and protect the kingdom than even a knight. His courage is about to be tested.

In a subplot, Horace, Will’s childhood bully, is accepted in battle school. While there, he becomes bullied in a more intense way than he ever thought to bully Will. He finds out what it is to be on the receiving end of bullying. He doesn’t know how to handle the abuse. He’s supposed to be in training for knighthood, but the bullying might destroy his ambitions. I enjoyed seeing the change in Horace and how he and Will became friends.

I love how the story covers topics teens face even though they’re set in the Middle Ages. I also love how honor, truth, and friendship played out in a way that is still applicable today. The story was a lot of fun to read, and I’d highly recommend it for adults, young adults, teens, and older children.

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