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John Flanagan

book review: John Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice(1944- )
John Flanagan
wrote Ranger’s Apprentice for his son. A movie is in the works. You can learn more about the books and their country-specific release dates by visiting The Ranger’s Apprentice website.

Ranger’s Apprentice

Ranger’s Apprentice — (2005-2016) Ages 9-12. He had always wanted to be a warrior. The Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways, made him nervous. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now fifteen year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t realize yet is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…

John Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom book reviewJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom book reviewfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom book reviewJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom book reviewJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom 8. The Kings of Clonmel 9. Halt's PerilJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom 8. The Kings of ClonmelJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom 8. The Kings of Clonmel 9. Halt's PerilJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom 8. The Kings of Clonmel 9. Halt's PerilJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom 8. The Kings of Clonmel 9. Halt's Peril 10.The Emperor of Nihon-JaJohn Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice 1. The Ruins of Gorlan 2. The Burning Bridge 3. The Icebound Land 4: The Battle for Skandia 5. The Sorcerer in the North 6. The Siege of Macindaw 7. Erak's Ransom 8. The Kings of Clonmel 9. Halt's Peril 10.The Emperor of Nihon-Jafantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

The Early Years: Ages 9-12. The Tournament at Gorlan begins a prequel series featuring the older characters from the original RANGER’S APPRENTICE series. You could read it first.

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The Brotherband Chronicles — (2011-2016) Middle Grade. Publisher: They are outcasts. Hal, Stig, and the others — they are the boys the others want no part of. Skandians, as any reader of Ranger’s Apprentice could tell you, are known for their size and strength. Not these boys. Yet that doesn’t mean they don’t have skills. And courage — which they will need every ounce of to do battle at sea against the other bands, the Wolves and the Sharks, in the ultimate race. The icy waters make for a treacherous playing field… especially when not everyone thinks of it as playing. John Flanagan, author of the international phenomenon Ranger’s Apprentice, creates a new cast of characters to populate his world of Skandians and Araluens, a world millions of young readers around the world have come to know and admire. Full of seafaring adventures and epic battles, Book 1 of The Brotherband Chronicles is sure to thrill readers of Ranger’s Apprentice while enticing a whole new generation just now discovering the books.

John Flanagan The Brotherband Chronicles 1.The Outcasts 2. The Invaders 3. The Hunters John Flanagan The Brotherband Chronicles 1.The Outcasts 2. The Invaders 3. The Hunters John Flanagan The Brotherband Chronicles 1.The Outcasts 2. The Invaders 3. The Hunters fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

The Ruins of Gorlan: Felt like an old favorite

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The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Will, the hero of The Ruins of Gorlan, could probably have been taken in entirety from any number of authors who have written this sort of children's/YA stuff, but for me it was like I was 13 years old and reading Magician’s Apprentice by Raymond Feist. That is high praise because I read that book over and over until the cover literally fell off and the binding no longer held the pages together. Will is an orphan who has grown up around a nobleman’s keep and lived with his support. He is nothing special to speak of in his own estimation and he has goals of becoming a warrior and a hero. His history is touched on briefly and it leads nicely into later parts of the plot.

Will is not selected according to his wishes to ... Read More

The Burning Bridge: A little derivative, but I didn’t care

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The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan

This review will contain minor spoilers for the previous book, The Ruins of Gorlan.

The Burning Bridge is the second book in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series for middle grade readers. In the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan, we met Will, an orphaned boy who grew up as a ward of a baron in the country of Araluen. Thinking that his dead father was a warrior, he wanted to be one also, but instead he is assigned to be a Ranger’s apprentice. The Rangers, who Will knows very little about, are a secretive group of cloak-wearing men that serve the king and protect the kingdom. He doesn’t know it yet, but Will’s smaller stature, quick wit, and courage are pe... Read More

The Icebound Land: Just as entertaining as the previous books

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The Icebound Land by John Flanagan

I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series for middle grade / young adult readers. The Icebound Land is the third book and it’s just as charming as the previous books, The Ruins of Gorlan and The Burning Bridge. You need to read those books before beginning The Icebound Land, so expect spoilers for them in this review.

At the end of The Burning Bridge, Horace defeated Morgarath. (This both surprised and delighted me because Morgarath was a cliché and I was afraid that the series, which contains 12 books so far, was going to be a never-ending battle between the good guy... Read More

The Battle for Skandia: The enemy of my enemy…

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The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan

As usual, since The Battle for Skandia is book four in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series, you should expect spoilers for the previous books: The Ruins of Gorlan, The Burning Bridge, and The Icebound Land.

At the end of The Icebound Land, we left Will and Princess Cassandra hiding out in a cabin in the woods during winter in Skandia after they escaped from slavery. Cassandra has been nursing Will back to health for weeks. Now things are starting to thaw and they must leave before hunters arrive. Right away, though, Cassandra is captured by some Temujai warriors. (We haven’t heard of these folks befo... Read More

The Sorcerer of the North: World-building problems begin to show

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The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan

This review will contain minor spoilers for John Flanagan’s previous RANGER’S APPRENTICE books: The Ruins of Gorlan, The Burning Bridge, The Icebound Land, and The Battle for Skandia. The Sorcerer of the North begins a new story arc and new readers could start here, but for maximum enjoyment, I recommend going back and starting with The Ruins of Gorlan.

When we left Will and his friends at the end of The Battle for Skandia, our hero Will, a Ranger’s apprentice, had finally returned home to Araluen with the princess Cassandra after they had been kidnapped by Araluen’s l... Read More

The Siege of Macindaw: Fans won’t care about the flaws

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The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan

This review will contain a few plot spoilers for previous books in the series.

The Siege of Macindaw is book six of John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series and it’s a direct sequel to the previous book, The Sorcerer of the North. When we left Will at the end of that book, his girlfriend Alyss had been captured and imprisoned in Castle Macindaw by a man who has allied himself with the Scotti, invaders from the north who plan to use the castle to get a toe-hold in Araluen. Now Will must use all his wits and resources to get Alyss out of the castle while saving his country from the Scotti invaders.

The solution to Will’s problem seemed obvious to me right from the start, so the plot of... Read More

Erak’s Ransom: Goes back in time

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Erak’s Ransom by John Flanagan

Erak’s Ransom is the seventh book in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series, but chronologically its story occurs after the events of book four, The Battle for Skandia. I would recommend reading Erak’s Ransom after book four and before you read books five and six (The Sorcerer of the North and The Siege of Macindaw). Since I had already read those stories and knew what happened to the characters, it reduced some of the tension. This review will contain spoilers for books one through four.

Will, Halt, Horace and Princess Cassandra are back from overseas after helping Skandia, their former enemy, defeat a common foe. They help ... Read More

The Kings of Clonmel: Another adventure for Flanagan’s superheroes

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The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan

The Kings of Clonmel, the eighth book in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series, begins a new story arc that occurs after the events of book six, The Siege of Macindaw. (Book seven, Erak’s Ransom, went back in time a bit.) For the best experience, you’ll want to read all the previous books before beginning this one. Book nine, Halt’s Peril, is a direct sequel to The Kings of Clonmel.

As the story begins, Will, now a full-fledged Ranger, is at the annual Rangers meeting, overseeing the testing of other apprentices. During this process he is amazed to discover that some of his past exploits, such as the siege of Castle M... Read More

Halt’s Peril: Not much plot, like middle WOT

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Halt’s Peril by John Flanagan

Halt’s Peril is the ninth book in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series. It’s a direct sequel to the eighth book, The Kings of Clonmel, in which we learned Halt’s backstory while he, Will and Horace attempted to save the country of Clonmel from Tennyson, a cult leader who was planning a coup. They did manage to save Clonmel, but now Tennyson and his followers have left the country and our heroes suspect that they are on their way to Araluen with similar intentions. So, naturally, they plan to track down the bad guys and stop them before they can bring grief to Araluen. During the process, however, Halt receives a life-threatening injury. Will has to make a long detour to seek help for Halt.
... Read More

The Emperor of Nihon-Ja: The gang’s all here

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The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan

The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, book ten in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series, was supposed to be the “final adventure” for Will Treaty and his friends. (It wasn’t, but I’ll come back to that later.) I suppose that’s why “the gang’s all here” in this installment. Flanagan has to work hard to get them all to the same place, but he manages.

The story takes place in the country of Nihon-Ja, which is modeled after the Empire of Japan (if you couldn’t tell by its name). Horace and George had travelled there on a mission and Horace went missing. All of his friends, including Will, Alyss, Princess Cassandra, Pauline and Gundar, go to Nihon-Ja to find him. When they get there, they discover that so... Read More

The Lost Stories: Fun episodes from RANGER’S APPRENTICE

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The Lost Stories by John Flanagan

The Lost Stories, book 11 in John Flanagan’s RANGER APPRENTICE series for young readers, is a collection of short stories that fill in some gaps and give us supplemental information about Flanagan’s characters and world. The collection begins with a short frame story which takes place in July 1896 in the Republic of Aralan States which was formerly the medieval Kingdom of Araluen. An archaeologist and his assistant are excavating a site and looking for evidence of Castle Redmont and the Rangers of Araluen. They find a chest full of manuscripts that contain these tales:

“Death of a Hero” — (Takes place about 15 years before The Ruins of Gorlan.) Pauline has convinced Halt to finally tel... Read More

The Royal Ranger: A satisfying end to RANGER’S APPRENTICE

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The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan

The Royal Ranger is the twelfth and final book in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series for younger readers. Originally book ten, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, was supposed to be the last book — it wrapped up everyone’s stories nicely — but Flanagan decided to give us one more novel that takes place a few years later. I’m glad he did, since I thought The Emperor of Nihon-Ja was a weak installment.

I suspect that some fans of the series won’t appreciate some of what Flanagan did in The Royal Ranger, put personally, I loved it. Here’s what some fans won’t like: Flanagan gave us an “everyone lives happily ever a... Read More

The Tournament at Gorlan: A RANGER’S APPRENTICE prequel

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The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan

Well, I thought the RANGER’S APPRENTICE series, which I recently reviewed, was finished, but it’s not. The Tournament at Gorlan begins a prequel series which tells us what happened before we met Will on the day he became a Ranger’s apprentice. We already know some of the backstory — about how Morgarath became a traitor to the King of Araluen, destroyed the reputation of the Rangers, and tried to seize the throne. John Flanagan’s prequel series will fill in the details of those events and let us enjoy the youthful days of some of our favorite older RANGER’S APPRENTICE characters.

In The Tournament a... Read More