Reading level: Middle Grade
Size: 272 pages
Release Date: June 8, 2006
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. There are twelve books planned for this series. Book 10, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, was released April 2011. This was a solid fantasy book, it is well written and engaging but not all that creative. I listened to it on audio book and the audio book was very well done.
Will is a ward of the castle and it is time for him to be apprenticed. While his ward-mates all have special talents, Will’s only special talent seems to be getting into trouble. Then he is made an offer of apprenticeship by Halt, the region’s ranger. Will has heard dark and scary things about rangers but he is about to learn that there is a lot more to being a ranger than he originally thought.
This book is well written and well put together. The characters are all very likable and fun to read about. The plot was predictable, but again well done. The world is very medieval in tone and reminds some of Lord of the Rings, or other classic epic fantasy. The biggest difference in this book is the humor throughout, which made it a fun read and lightened the tone at points.
Will is a great character, as are his mentors and wardmates. Will is smart but makes mistakes, proud but knows when to ask for help. He grows some as a character throughout the book and you can tell he has a lot more room to grow in future books. The same can be said of his wardmates.
This book is very much a set-up book. Most of the book is spent setting up the characters, training them, and setting the stage for the war that is set to start in the next book in the series, The Burning Bridge. The plot is predictable, which is to say it goes very much like other epic fantasies you have read before. There really isn’t anything new here. That being said it is well done, and is a good intro for the middle grade age set to epic fantasy.
Overall this was an excellent book, everything about it is very solid and well done. The plot is predictable and the book doesn’t really add to the epic fantasy genre, but the characters are likable and the humor throughout enjoyable; you can tell this book is setting up for great things to happen in future books. I recommend this for middle grade to young adult readers who love fantasy and coming-of-age tales. I think this book would be a bit boring for adults familiar with the fantasy genre because of the predictability of the plot; but future books will hopefully prove me wrong. I am going to continue reading this series and can’t wait to start the next book in the series, The Burning Bridge.