My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this after reading and loving Flanagan’s Brotherband series, so I have kind of gone about things backwards. Ranger’s Apprentice is shaping up to be an even more amazing series, I think.
The first installment introduces Will, a ward of Castle Redmont after the death of his parents, who is waiting to find out where and if he will be apprenticed. Like all red-blooded boys, he wants to be a warrior and enter Battleschool like his counterpart, Horace, but his path is a different one. Halt, the mysterious Ranger mentor, sees something in Will and takes him on to learn the ways of the King’s Rangers.
This is an engaging tale right from the outset. Will is an interesting character – a little rebellious and headstrong, but with a good heart. Halt is even more interesting as the man who sets out to mold Will into a skilled Ranger. Little by little we learn more and more about Will’s past and also Halt’s and soon a strong bond forms between them. There is also the added benefit of Will’s friends who are also apprenticed in different spheres (scribe, diplomat, cook, warrior) and by the end of the first novel it is clear these friends will feature here and there in the ensuing episodes as all their skills are refined and improved. I am excited to continue this series knowing that the last book, The Royal Ranger (book 12), has just been published.
There is plenty of action and adventure, but don’t think this is a novel just for boys – this bridges all gaps – age and gender – and that is probably the most exciting thing about it.
Can’t wait to review book 2, The Burning Bridge.
For ages 8 to 80!