Ranger's Apprentice is volume one of a hugely successful and long running fantasy series, written by Australian literary superstar, John Flanagan. It starts out with a choosing. A group of young villagers are at the point of their young lives where they must choose their own destiny. It all goes according to plan, except for a young lad called Will, who is left high and dry by all interested parties when he lacks sufficiently obviously talents and gifts for his specified desired profession. An act of subliminal defiance leads him to more expected disappointment, but this moment in his young life proves to be the most pivotal so far. Will’s own background is shrouded in mystery. Orphaned and left for adoption at the local village, we still don't know anything official about his parentage, even though the alert reader should be able to come up with their own set of feasible theories as the story starts to take hold of their imagination.
Cutting to the chase, and without revealing anything that is not revealed by the book’s title, the young lad in question is apprenticed to the town’s Ranger, which is sort of like a combined spy, hunter, tracker and Sheriff all rolled into one. But that is the end goal. He is *apprenticed* to the Ranger for a reason, so he has got to learn the basics. And learn he does. And so does the reader.
And of course the book’s other principal characters all face the same choices, the same moments of excruciating tension, the same sets of failures and the same potential successes.
Evil resides everywhere, both in our world and in fictional ones. So naturally bullies have a role to play in this book, too. And play it they do. Who knows what effect their behaviour has on our hero’s friends? Read the book and see - and think about this - for yourself.
The story is taking shape, but i have to say it is not the fastest and most racy novel I have ever read. As i approach the book’s halfway mark the plot is starting to evolve and develop threads and its own set of potentialities and i am sure the second half of the book will both dazzle the reader and simply zing. But the first half hasn’t.
I like books that zing. I am hoping this one will. Judging by friends’ reviews and word of mouth the second half of the book is *awesome*. So based on this information I give this book a healthy four stars. If I am truly blown away by the ultimate reading experience, I will let you know. So watch this space if you are keen.
Book finished 24th August, 2015. The ending was *not* massively massive. It *was* however, satisfying, slightly emotional and action packed. The story ends here, in some respects, for those that don't want to read any more of this famous series. But that would be a mistake for fantasy lovers. Despite the target audience of these books being for YA they are definitely worth reading for adults, too. There is depth to the storytelling that just works on several levels, and your standard fantasy lover's yearning to step into a wormhole and find themselves in the book's rich setting definitely applies to this series. So the four star rating stays, despite the relatively anti-climatical nature of the ending. Now, onto book two!
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