I am a big fan of series. There is something comforting about familiar characters. Each new book is like visiting with an old friend and catching up on their latest news and adventures. I am currently committed to a number of series and eagerly awaiting the next installments. Tops on the list are Plague by Michael Grant (book 4 in the Gone series), City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (book 4 in the Mortal Instruments series), Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (book 2 in Infernal Devices series), and Supernaturally by Kiersten White (book 2 in the Paranormalcy series). I am also anxious to get another Gallagher Girls or Heist Society book by Ally Carter, the next Flavia de Luce mystery by Allen Bradley, and I definitely want more Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. Gosh that is a lot of waiting (and 8 new series for you to get started on if you haven’t already. You’re welcome)! But luckily I have discovered a new (to me) series that will keep me occupied while I wait! All but the last two book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series have been published and books 10 and 11 will be out this year. I wonder if I can get caught up by the time they come out? What is this new-to-me series all about you ask? It’s an epic fantasy that has been described as a young King Arthur meets Lord of the Rings. Here’s the scoop on book 1:
Will is an orphan living as a ward on Baron Arald’s Redmont Fief. When he and the other wards reach the age of fifteen they are presented to the crafts masters as potential apprentices. Will has always dreamed of joining the Battleschool and training to be a knight like his father. Unfortunately, due to his small stature the battle master does not select him as an apprentice. His dismay quickly turns to confusion when the mysterious Halt, a member of the Ranger Corp chooses Will to be his apprentice. Will commences his grueling training with the grim and humorless Halt. Soon he is a skilled tracker, archer, and horseman. These skills come in handy when the Rangers learn that the kingdom’s sworn enemy, Morgarath, has gathered an army of half beast, half human warriors known as Wargals. The Rangers are in immediate danger and the greater threat of war looms close on the horizon. The dangers they encounter will test Will’s strength, courage, and loyalty.
I really enjoyed this book. The first part of the book really focuses on the characters. You get to know Halt, Will and another ward, Horace, quite well. The descriptions of the land and the training is rich and quite realistic. My only complaint about the start of the book was that I really wished that there was a map included. If you are thinking the same thing, you are in luck! There is a lovely map on the Ranger’s Apprentice website. Anyway, back to the book. As I was saying the first part of the book sets the stage for the action-packed adventure that comes at the end. Oh, the creatures! So hideous! The battle scenes are intense and will have you on the edge of your seat. The adventure is wrapped up nicely at the end with a surprise twist that basically guarantees you will be looking for book two. This is a nice beginning to what is bound to be an epic adventure. I am definitely taking the next book home with me.
Give this series to middle school boys who are into knights, quests, fantasy, and action/adventure. The book is short and should appeal to reluctant readers. Pair this with The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix, and the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale.