Friday, February 18, 2011

Ranger's Apprentice



Storyline - Books 1-7 - The Ruins of Gorlan, The Burning Bridge, The Icebound Land, The Battle for Skandia, The Sorcerer of the North, The Siege of Macindaw, Erak's Ransom - Will, orphaned when just a baby and doesn't even know who his family was, is excepted as an apprentice to the Rangers Corps. While learning the art of being unseen, the longbow, and throwing knives from one of the best Rangers, Halt, Will goes on dangerous adventures and has to save himself and his friends countless times. Of course, sometimes he's the one in need of help from his friends Horace (a talented knight), Gilan (a ranger), Alyss (an old friend), and Evanlyn (who has an interesting secret). As he goes through these adventures, he grows up and even becomes a full Ranger himself. But the adventures don't stop there.

Author - John Flanagan

Age Group - 14 and up

Positive - It's great how the characters stand up for each other when danger is around, anything from bullies to chopping blocks. They defend and protect one another and back the other up when they need it. The apprentices listen to their masters and learn from them and take their advise but sometimes have to use their own intuition when things don't go as planed but they still think of what they have been taught. Horace stands up to some bullies who have been terrorizing him to protect Will after he makes a promise to him to help him whenever he needs it after Will saved his life in the first book. In book 2, Will places himself in danger in order for his friends to get away and to foil a bad guy's plans. (There might be more than this but I can't remember)

Negative - Bad language is regularly in the books. There are some instances in the books that bugged me though, such as in book 3, when Horace and Halt are trying to rescue Will and Evelyn, they are in this port and Horace sees this girl with a really short skirt. He asks Halt why that is and he gives him a reason but it isn't true but Horace believes it so Halt decides to let him keep his innocence and not tell him the real reason. I didn't like what this was hinting at with the girl and I get the feeling that Halt thought that Horace, being so pure minded, was something childish or something like that. Also, once when Will and Alyss are working on something together, she has to change and Will catches a glimpse of her back and quickly turns away which makes her laugh. I didn't like the idea of how Alyss just laughed off Will trying to respect her, like seeing her back was no big deal and he was over reacting. Besides those things, Halt doesn't always use the best means possible for getting the job done, like 'the end justifies the means' kind of policy. He only respects religion so as not to offend someone he has to work with and once used what someone believed to get him to do something (okay it was to keep the person from killing someone but it was still liked he used the religion against the man). Halt also has no qualms about forging signatures and seals. (There might be more than just this but I can't remember)

Writing - Each book has a new storyline and a new adventure. Sometimes, series get boring after a while but this one is fresh and new with each book and does a great job for keeping your attention through it. The series is more about the adventures Will has as a Ranger instead of just one big event in his life which is what might make the series so entertaining. When one adventure ends, another begins. Like in real life. The descriptions and pace are also very good.

Personal Opinion - Very interesting series and each book is original and captures the reader's attention. But not great on the moral side of things. There are good things in the books but there is a lot of negative stuff in the books as well. I also felt that in book 6 and 7, Will was rebounding when he became interested in Alyss. But I do like how the characters try to protect and are loyal to one another.  The books don't really get into any of the negative stuff I stated above, except for bad language, until about book 3. I also wouldn't give the books to the suggested age of 12 because I just feel that some of the things that are stated above are not needed to be read by someone that age. Someone also pointed out to me that it might be a good idea to give these books to someone who already knows what is right and not because some of the good characters do some unsavory things to get the job done and shown to be okay. Plus, once they read book one they'll want to go on to the next.  I mostly like this series for the adventure and relationships of the characters.

Links - Learn more about the series and the author at: http://www.rangersapprentice.com/

Awards - In the bio about the author on the Ranger's Apprentice website, it says that the books have been on the New York Times Best Sellers List and has been shortlisted for different awards in Australia (the author's home country) for children's books.

Special Notes - The final book in the series, which will be #10, is out in April. All other books in the series are available now.

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