A to Z, A to Z 2016, Book Reviews, Reviews

R: (The) Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

UnknownI told you all a little about this series in my O post, (The) Outcasts. So, if you remember, then you know that this series is written by John Flanagan and that it is based in Araluen. I think that’s all I told you. This is the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

It’s about a boy named Will or Will No-Name as he’s sometimes called. He was brought to the castle in a basket with a simple note attached to his blanket that read: His mother died in childbirth. His father died a hero. Please care for him. His name is Will.

He’s short, agile, and can spit out a good insult to his ward mate Horace when he needs to. Yet he wants to go to Battleschool and be a mighty warrior one day, just like his father. But when Choosing Day comes, he is denied for Battleschool since is is ‘too small’. When it’s clear that no one wants him, the mysterious Ranger Halt steps up and shows the Baron a piece of paper. The Baron nods thoughtfully and dismisses them all, telling Will that he’ll tell him what he’s decided the next morning.

Will can’t wait until the next morning. So that night, when everyone’s asleep and the guard for the Baron’s tower is about asleep as well, he works his way up to the top of the tower and tries to peek at the paper. It’s then that he learns that Ranger Halt choose to take him on as his apprentice.

When Will shows up at Halt’s cabin the next morning, Halt puts him right to work. Floor to sweep, pots to wash, water to haul, and food to cook. Not exactly what Will expected to be learning from one of the most respected ‘intelligent intelligence’ agent (you’ll have to read the book in order to get that joke) at all.

But before long, he has his shaggy pony Tug, targets to aim at, bows to shoot, and knives to throw. There’s practices in stealth, tracking, and all sorts of other things. If I tried to name them all, you be reading this paragraph for a while.

When it’s finally time for Will and Halt to go to the gathering of Ranger’s, Will’s pretty good at all of those things. But when they get there, something’s wrong.

That’s when they find out that Morgarath is on the move. Not only have Wargals broken out of Three Step Path, but Morgarath has also been sending the Kalkara out after key officers in the kingdom. Will, Halt, and Gilian are dispatched to find the Kalkara and stop them before they kill their next target.  It isn’t until Gilian is stranded far behind Halt and Will is galloping to the Baron for the knight’s assistance (since only knights can kill the Kalkara) that he realizes who the next target really is.


There is so much more to this book that I did not cover. John Flanagan also tells the story from Horace’s point of view; there’s a fight that I didn’t mention; nor did I say anything about Horace’s story at all.

John Flanagan has great sense of humor. I love reading this story–Halt and the Barron crack me up, especially when the high-ranking Barron tries to make a joke, but since he is in his place of power, no one gets it. I love this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone else who loves comical, adventurous stories.

But there’s more! After The Ruins of Gorlan, there is still 11 more books! The Burning Bridge, The Icebound Land, The Battle for Skandia, The Sorcerer of the North, The Siege of Mackindaw, Erak’s Ransom, The Kings of Clommel, Halt’s Peril, The Lost Stories, and The Royal Ranger. Unfortunately the series ends with The Royal Ranger. Also John Flanagan just started a new series, Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years. This series goes back and shows the stories of what happens before Will. It’s on hold for me at the library, so I haven’t read it yet–but I can’t wait! I’m sure that it’ll be just as good as all his other stories!Rangersapprenticeseries

Note: While The Sorcerer of the North has a title like it’s about magic, it is actually not at all. Instead, it focuses on how people’s imaginations and superstitions can create magic when there really isn’t any at all. Ok, so they had a little help from the supposed ‘Sorcerer’, but there is no magic at all.

Happy Reading everyone!

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