Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ranger's Apprentice: Book One – The Ruins of Gorlan

Ranger's Apprentice: Book One – The Ruins of Gorlan

John Flanagan
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2006   ISBN: 0142406635

Will is feeling very nervous because the very next day his future will be decided. The next day he and his fellow wardmates will find out to whom they will be apprenticed. Choosing Day is always nerve-wracking for young people who are wards of the castle but in Will's case his worries are acute because he knows that he is ill suited to the role that he wishes to play in his future life – Will is just too small to be accepted into Battleschool for training to be a knight. He will have to settle for some other job.

It just so happens that when the time comes none of the Craftmasters have a place for Will. And then someone out of the ordinary steps forward and offers Will an apprenticeship; Halt the Ranger seems to think that Will has what it takes to be a Ranger, and not really having anywhere else to go, Will agrees to go with the rather strange and unsettling man. Will soon finds out that learning to become a Ranger is a demanding job, but he also finds that it is one which he enjoys. He particularly loves the Ranger pony he is given and soon he and Tug are inseparable.

Will and Halt are on their way to the Ranger Gathering when news arrives that an old enemy, Morgarath, has let two Kalkara beasts loose on the kingdom. Morgarath is also massing his Wargal armies and it is clear that he means to attack the kingdom once again. Without a doubt war is at hand, but before going into battle Will and Halt have to do their best to find the Kalkara. Will cannot help being terrified at the prospect. After all Kalkara are very hard to kill and they have assassinated two powerful men already. Can he and Halt manage to find these beasts without getting killed first?

Young readers who enjoy adventure fantasy stories will find this well written and carefully crafted tale thoroughly captivating. In addition to the gripping main storyline we watch with great interest as Will and his fellow wardmates grow and develop. We are able to see how they each come to appreciate one another more with the passage of time. Without a doubt it is going to be very interesting to see what Will does next.