Monday, March 14, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice #1)

I have a crazy week ahead of me. The NCW Conference was fabulous and until I run out of things to say, I'll be posting on Thursdays some conference recaps of the classes I attended. Oh and I finally made my MG Mega Throw Down Bracket. You can make your picks tomorrow.

Now, why we're really here, let's get to MMGM. My pick today:

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice #1)
by John Flanagan
Published in 2006

Other Books in the Series:
The Burning Bridge #2
The Icebound Land #3 (personal favorite)
The Battle for Skandia #4 (second favorite)
The Sorcerer in the North #5
The Siege of Macindaw #6
Erak's Ransom #7
The Kings of Clonmel #8
Halt's Peril #9
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja #10

If you love this series, he has a new series coming out this year:
The Outcasts (Brotherband Chronicles #1)
The release date hasn't been set yet, but I am excited.

The Hook: Chosen to be a Ranger's apprentice, 15-year-old Will is unsure about the mysterious occupation. He quickly learns they are the eyes, ears, and first defense against any threats to the kingdom. When strategic lords of the kingdom are assassinated, it is up to Will and his master to track the dangerous creatures responsible and determine the threat from the exiled Morgarath. (Shew. Yeah, don't ask me to pitch that in one sentence. I'm too tired to try.)

Why I uber love this series: Tension and style. Oh, and medieval spies. I'm a sucker for spies. The series is brilliant escapism. The story was a tiny bit of a slow start for me, but after page 20 I could not stop. So if you find yourself in the same boat, plug through, more than worth it. Great writing, fabulous storytelling and tension that rockets with each page.

My sister, who recommended the series, told me to buy more than just the first book. Definitely do this. As soon as I shut the book, I opened the second. Now I've only read through book 6, because I was waiting for 7-9 to release in paperback. My husband keeps nudging me to go get them. He blew through them faster than I did. And I probably read 1-6 in less than two weeks.

This series in 150% boy and perfect for reluctant readers. But not just for any boy. This is definitely upper middle grade/young adult. (Husbands love it too.) You'll find it in MG, but I wouldn't necessarily let my 8-yr-old read it. Why? The creatures they track (or are tracking them) are not for the faint of spirit and younger readers might get too scared. Girls who like adventure may enjoy the series but there really isn't a girl character till book 2.

I'm not a fan of high fantasy, but I licked these up faster than chocolate ice cream.

[Just talking about this series makes me want to start reading them again...right now.]


  1. I love this series! Thanks for the heads-up on his new series!

  2. Nice review, Brooke. Sounds exciting! This is one of those series I've been promising myself I'm going to read, and then I never get to it. Actually own the first three books, so I'm bumping them up near the top of the list now.

    Thanks for the linkage.

  3. I bought this book for my son and he told me he couldn't get into it so I'm glad that you pointed out it's slow in the beginning. I'll tell him to give it another try.