Ranger’s Apprentice (series)

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Time for another series!  This is a great one for ALL ages.  And if you are having trouble getting your son to read, hand him the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan, and go enjoy some peace and quiet.  You won’t be seeing him for awhile.  Ranger’s Apprentice has kingdoms and knights and adventure and spies and friendship and even a little bit of romance.  But just a little.

15 year old Will is an orphan, a ward of Baron Arald, the Lord of Redmont Fief, in the Kingdom of Araluen.  Tomorrow is Choosing Day.  He and the other wards of age will be either taken on by a Craftsmaster to apprentice under, or be sent to the fields as a farmer.  Will desperately wants to be assigned to Battleschool to train as a knight; being of small stature, it does not look promising.  He fears a life in the fields.  There is, however, another option he had not considered…

The Rangers Corps are a special group; they are the eyes and ears of the King, highly trained and dangerous.  They shoot longbows and ride shaggy ponies and move invisibly through thick forests.  Members are respected and feared by a superstitious population that assign many magical traits to the group that the Rangers themselves do not actively deny.

Will apprentices with Halt, the most celebrated of all Rangers.  The series follows their lives during his five year training, as well as Will’s assignments and adventures after his promotion to full Ranger.

Araluen appears to be based on Medieval England, with the surrounding Hibernia and Picta patterned after Scotland and Ireland.  The description of Fiefs could be of ancient London and Yorkshire and Cornwall, while the wild forests host creatures you know can only be hunted by brave knights carrying shields and spears.  Ally Skandia echoes the Norse countries, with wonderfully colourful characters, sea raiders and enthusiastic fighters all.

The fantastic thing about this series is Araluen seems real, almost historical, for those who long for the time of knights and chivalry.  But there is also enough supernatural to tempt those that want for a different kind of adventure, who yearn to fight monsters and legends.

It is a world where orphans can become Knights and Rangers, and maybe even marry a princess.  It is a world where everything seems possible, but you must earn your way.  And if those traits aren’t enough to convince you to read the series, would the thought of a mind-reading horse do it?

There are twelve books in this wonderful series, and you and your children (sons and daughters alike) will devour each, one after the other.

Ranger’s Apprentice series is written by John Flanagan and published by Puffin Books.

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