I'm not sure I can put into words how much I love this series. The writing is absolutely incredible, the characters feel like they are people you have known forever (and you get to know what their reactions will be to certain situations), and the adventure/excitement is completely different in every book.
Written by Australian author, John Flanagan, this series has 10 books in it:
My suggestion, if you decide to take on this series, is to read them in the following order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. Book 7 was written after 5&6, but actually takes place before them. If you read them in the order I have suggested, you will be able to fully enjoy the amazing story Flanagan created for the 7th book because you will not be privy to what happens next and who is present.
While these books would primarily be recommended for boys, I think that any child (or adult for that matter) of any sex could read them. There are a few female characters in the series who are very strong and have fantastic roles. As I said, the characters are absolutely wonderful. They are so easy to love, and you become so attached to them that your emotions go on a roller coaster ride anytime anything good or bad happens to them! It is really hard not to fall in love with them and want to know MORE MORE MORE!!!!
I do not want to give too much away about this series, so I have included the summary of the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan, below. I hope you think it sounds as interesting as I did, but let me tell you: IT'S WAY BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't yet realize 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. . . ." (Penguin Canada)
It is bitter-sweet for me that I have finished the series. I always feel good when I have completed a series because I hate it when they go on for too long, but when there are 10 books and you love them ALL, you kind of wish it could continue. Flanagan did, however, write another book called The Lost Stories (which I have yet to read.)
"The secret history of the New York Times bestselling Ranger's Apprentice
Unconfirmed accounts of a group of Araluen warriors - tales of adventure, battle, and triumph over evil - have spread for centuries throughout the known world. Most notable is a clan shrouded in mystery, phantom warriors known as the Rangers.
Two names pass the lips of every storyteller: Halt, and his apprentice, Will. They and their comrades in arms are said to have traveled throughout the kingdom and beyond its borders, protecting those who needed it most. If true, these rumors can be only part of the story.
Only now, centuries after these men and women walked the earth, do we have confirmation of their existence. Behold The Lost Stories." (Penguin Canada)
Flanagan has also started a new series, The Brotherband Chronicles, which I have yet to start. Just released in November, I'm sure this will be a great follow-up series. I can't wait to read it!
"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." (Penguin Canada)
I really really really hope you will give this series a shot. I promise, it will NOT disappoint. Even if you are not a fan of reading kids books yourself, please give it to someone you know. I think children could learn a lot about being a good person, what it means to have courage, etc. from this series and the characters in it. And if you DO decide you are interested and read it, PLEASE let me know! I could talk about this series all day long! I hope this blog has not come off as gibberish, but if so, that is a sign of my love for it.
THANK YOU JOHN FLANAGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!