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THE RUINS OF GORLAN by John Flanagan

THE RUINS OF GORLAN

From the Ranger's Apprentice series, volume 1

By John Flanagan

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-399-24454-9
Publisher: Philomel

Sturdily competent fantasy from a veteran Australian screenwriter, this quartet opener introduces five teenaged orphans raised together in the medieval-like kingdom of Araluen, focusing on the apprenticeship of wiry, clever Will to a mysterious scout/spy, and on Will’s changing relations with oversized, rival-later-friend Horace. Though Will’s slight physique keeps him out of Battleschool, his first choice, it turns out to be just the ticket for Ranger work, which combines survival skills and keen powers of observation with the ability to move about unseen. As Will is learning these arts, Horace is finding Battleschool almost more than he can handle, thanks to a trio of particularly brutal bullies—and further afield, evil Lord Morgarath, being bent on conquest, has sent two kalkera, brutish bear/apes, out to assassinate Araluen’s most prominent war leaders. Flanagan does nothing to boost his typecast characters, familiar themes or conventional, video-game plot above the general run, but readers with a taste for quickly paced adventure with tidy, predictable resolutions (kalkera and bullies vanquished, Will and Horace heroes and buddies) won’t be disappointed. (Fantasy. 11-13)