Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan

27 Sep

I started a new experiment a few weeks back:  I decided to let my students choose the books that I’m reading!  First pick went to a boy named Chris who I was SURE was going to make me read The Red Pyramid.

That had me pretty nervous, considering I’d already burned like 473 pages of my copy lighting my grill this summer.  I didn’t want to spend any more money on a Rick Riordan book!

To my surprise, though, Chris chose The Ruins of Gorlan, which is the first book in a series titled The Ranger’s Apprentice.  “It’s my favorite book of all time,” Chris said.

That’s high-cotton!

The Ruins caught my attention from page one, introducing a villain named Morgorath who was training a group of bear-dog-freak type creatures called Wargals to take over the Kingdom of Aurlean.  Who DOESN’T like stories about evil villains training bear-dog-freak creatures to take over Kingdoms?!

While I love action books—and really love books about the Middle Ages—what really caught my attention as the story developed was the relationships between two of the main characters:  Will and Horace.  Both are orphans who were raised by the Kingdom and both are growing up.  Horace is chosen—at the age of 15—to go to Battle School, where he proves to be a super soldier.  Will—despite really WANTING to go to Battle School—-ends up apprenticed to the fief’s Ranger, who is essentially like a spy.

What I like about Will and Horace is that they’re both struggling with life.  Horace is being bullied in Battle School, but doesn’t want to show it.  Will wants to be brave and courageous—-traits that he thinks his father, who he’s never met, would be proud of.  Those kinds of themes resonate with me—-and I think they probably resonate with all boys.

We all want to be courageous.

We all want to be brave.

We all want to be strong—even in the face of bullies.

But that’s not always possible.

As the story goes on, both Will and Horace grow into their roles. Horace becomes one of the best young warriors in the Kingdom and Will ends up saving his Baron and his master from a freak creature called the Karakara—-lights him on fire with an arrow from 100 yards, to be specific.  And I liked that, too…seeing boys grow up into men is kind of a neat thing, especially because I liked both boys by the end of the book.

The only hitch is there isn’t quite enough fighting for me. While both Will and Horace become talented apprentices, they spend most of the book practicing their skills.  Horace is a master—-with a wooden sword when he’s hitting a dummy.  Will is a master—when he’s throwing his knives at stationary targets.  I kept finding myself wanting to see them take on real enemies in real battles—-instead of just the wild boar that they kill together in like the 18th chapter.

Overall, though, The Ruins of Gorlan was interesting enough that I bought the second book in the series:  The Burning Bridge.  It’s even better than book one.

Ruins of Gorlan Rating:  Way65


4 Responses to “Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan”

  1. Chris F. September 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm #

    Hey Mr.Ferriter I love your blog about “Rangers Apprentice” and i’m happy that you bought the second book in the series which I think is so much better.I liked how mentioned when Will defeats the Kalkara…one thing I didn’t like about this part the book was that when Will is on the journey to kill the kalkara it’s very slow.Which connects to the slow story of building the boys character but all this boring for alot of action second book,i’m sure that anyone who has read both books would agree with me.In my opion I think it deserves more than a way65 so I would give it a way70 because it has great detail,suspense and action scenes.
    -Chris F.

  2. Thomas S. September 29, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    I agree with Chris on this one. “The Ruins of Gorlan” has kind of a long boring part but hey, all books do. I do love it though when Will is practicing with his bow, knifes, and tracking.

    For example: Will has to track down the Kalkara so his practice does pay off. He also saves the Baron and his master from the the Kalkara.

    All in all I have to give this book

    way75 because the suspense in this book is so high…. Will he save the Baron?… Will he live to tell the tale?

  3. Peace out Zozo September 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    Hey Mr.Ferriter

    You know, that summary you wrote about “Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan” is really good!
    It makes me want to go read the book right now. You should, like, get a Job working for a magazine and do this for a living. Like I said earlier today, you should also write a book using all of your hilarious stories.


  4. alex27502 September 29, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    wferriter I was wondering if you have any books other than the hunger games that you would give a way100? If not read the book vixon 03 by clive cussler. If you don’t you are missing out on the best book ever! It starts with a mystery and gose to adventure and mystery.

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