The Ranger’s Apprentice Series
By John Flanagan
This is the very first (and one of the few) times that I will ever review a series all at once. Usually most series contain books that are diverse enough to review individually, but in certain cases, with books like Deltora Quest, or the Royal Diaries, reviewing them en mass is a better route.
The Ranger’s Apprentice follows to the story of a boy named Will. He has always feared the Rangers– until the day he is chosen to become one. He soon discovers that they are (similar to Tolkien’s Ranger’s) a brigade of stealthy fighters that aim to keep peace in their kingdom, a job that has suddenly become much harder, for Morgarath, the banished king, is gathering forces, and plans to attack.
Will is soon whisked away into the secret ranks of the Rangers, where is trained in the arts of strength and stealth, skill’s he’ll dearly need, for he is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
After the first two books, this plot expires and new characters and places are explored as the books continue to follow the life of Will in all his Ranger glory.
Yup. So I went into this series knowing that the plot would pretty much be good vs. evil. I mean, that’s the plot almost all fantasy books have, both good and bad. In fact, it’s the plot most books have: the two opposing forces who cannot fathom existence together and where they touch, war erupts. Good vs. evil. Yeah.
I knew it was going to be like that. My brothers had told me that it wouldn’t be that good, that kids in their year who had awful taste enjoyed it. I went it knowing all this.
And the only thing that was left to surprise me was the plot. Which didn’t excite me at all.
I mean, I know that the good vs. evil thing happens a lot, all the time, everywhere. But the storyline that supports that basic plot can be so strong, so well conceived that good vs. evil doesn’t seem so mundane anymore. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and even books like Ender’s Game manage to achieve this.
However, this series didn’t get it.
I started reading and from the prologue I was disappointed it. The writing style was alright, the character names historically based. The setting wasn’t totally new. The dialogue was acceptable. I mean, this book was just sort of average, but I kind of hate it. So what pushed me off the edge?
I guess it was a lack of originality. From the very beginning, it was a story I’d heard before. And I’m not talking good. vs evil, I’m talking I’ve honestly read this story before. It was like this guy read Eragon and cheated off him which I find odd because Eragon kinda cheated off Tolkien and Star Wars. I mean, did the Flanagan realize how much Wargals sounded like Urgals, which are just Orcs? Okay, so he made his monsters bearish, but the concept is still the same.
And let’s not forget that Ranger’s have been around before. I’ll give him points for not making them the last of the Dúnedain, descendants of the Númenóreans, but still.
Now, I’m not going to waste my time bashing this story. My simple point is this: older, and more experienced readers will not enjoy this series. Not only is the overall plot for the whole series like a soap-opera with no strong link between all nine (soon to be ten) books, but it’s a story that has been told many times before. If you’ve read a lot of the books, chances are, you, like me, will be skimming these and reading just the bits and pieces that catch your eye.
However, if you are young and spry, I would say that this book is a good transition in the fantasy genre, especially for children between the ages of eight to thirteen, the kids who can’t quite make it through Eragon, or Lord of the Rings. The story then, will seem exciting and fresh, and will set them up to enjoy the Big Boys later on. The writing will probably fascinate them, though it was a little passive (he over explained things) for me.
My final thoughts? The books aren’t horrible. They’re just nothing new.
0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…
1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.
2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.
3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.
4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).
5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.
6 and above. What I want my book to be.