Publisher - Gorgi Yearling Publication Date - 5th April 2007 Paperback - 304 pages Genre - YA Fantasy
Source - Received from publisher for review
Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it.
Book Info - Will, you have been chosen.
You and you alone. You will become the eyes and ears of the kingdom, learning to move silent as a shadow. Your arrow will fly true and your sword will be swift, risking your life to protect your people.
You are the Ranger's Apprentice. Are you ready?
My Thoughts - When this book arrived in the post I wasn't really sure what to make of it. I don't normally read fantasy novels but as it looked like a quick and light read I thought I would at least give it a try. And I'm really glad that I did as it was a fun book that did grip me right from the first page (in fact I almost finished it in just one sitting!)
Will is a young boy who is an orphan. He really wants to attend Battleschool and become a brave and strong knight, but he is turned down because he is too small. But the Ranger notices Will and takes him on as his apprentice. It is a Ranger's job to be a spy of sorts for his Kingdom and to put a stop to any attacks that may happen. At first Will isn't happy as not a lot is known about Ranger's, but he soon comes to appreciate the amount of skill it takes to become a good Ranger.
In a short interview with the author in the back of the book, Mr Flanagan tells the reader that he started writing this series as a way to get his young son interested in reading, and also to prove to his son (who was smaller than other boys his age at the time) that 'heroes can come in all shapes and sizes'. And I really do believe that the author has done this perfectly. He created a world that I believe a lot of young boys would be interested in reading about - monsters, heroes, learning to move around in shadows so as not to be noticed by the enemy, protecting an entire kingdom from threat. I can imagine a lot of young boys wanting to be just like Will.
As well as Will, there is another character that I really enjoyed reading about. This is Horace - another orphan who is friends with Will at the start of the book. He is accepted to Battleschool and shows a lot of natural talent but he is being bullied in a big way by three older pupils. I found his story absolutely heartbreaking to read at some points and I just fell in love with him. I can't wait to read more about Horace in future books in the series.
The storyline moves along at a good pace with a nice balance between Will learning the skills that he needs to become a Ranger (I particularly liked these scenes due to the amount of information given) and action as Will and his trainer, Halt, learn of a threat to the King and have to tackle the problem together. There is even a lovely twist at the end that brought a little tear of happiness to my eye.
Summary - A fun and interesting read that grabbed my attention from the first page. I think fans of YA fantasy (in particular, a series about a certain young wizard!) would enjoy this series, and I urge you to get yourself a copy as soon as you can!
Other books in the series:
1. The Ruins of Gorlan
2. The Burning Bridge
3. The Icebound Land
4. Oakleaf Bearers
5. The Sorcerer in the North
6. The Siege of Macindaw
7. Erak's Ransom
8. The Kings of Clonmel
9. Halt's Peril
10. The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
11. The Lost Stories