The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice #1)

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By: John Flanagan

A young boy with a mysterious past, Will finds himself rejected as an apprentice in Castle Redmont, the only place that he has ever known. But when a mysterious figure offers him an apprenticeship, he finds that everyone has ulterior motives.

Will is a believable boy who grows in spurts and leaps, but makes mistakes that he must recompense for. His friendships seem a bit forced, but sometimes that’s the way life is. And his frustrations are real.

This book was surprising with it’s twists, and the fact that Will’s behaviour was predictable at times led to his believability. He made obvious childish choices, and Halt let him know when it could be him or his life. His harsh training, though, proves more than useful when he saves the lives of his friends.

I seen many similarities between this book and The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s beloved epic. The evil one, Morgarath in the North, the Rangers, the dead city, and mystic creatures… But at the same time, this story is unique and artfully woven in a way also reminiscent of Tolkien. (And I have read that both stories originated as bedtime stories for their children.)

Either way, this was a very good first novel, well developed and likeable. My only complaints are the ease of Will reconciliation with his childhood rival, and the distinct similarities to LotR. But I have already reserved the next book in the series, ready to find out more about Will and the Rangers.

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