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Book Review: Ruins of Gorlan book one of the Ranger’s Apprentice

This is a review of the book: Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Overall, a great story with great characterization that definitely contained Tolkien vibes, which I loved. 

I really loved Horace’s character arc especially and the friendship between him and Will. It was very organic and well done and really added depth to their characters. I also found that really evoked a lot of emotions for me as a reader. 

I enjoyed the head-hopping (it was executed well so that it was not disorienting and I felt added depth to the scene and how different characters reacted within that scene) and I also liked the multiple POVs. I felt seeing Horace’s POV esp really gave the story so much more depth, putting some reason behind some of his bad behaviour at the start.

Some qualms I had that aren’t in detail:

A scene where the main character is basically rewarded for doing something that’s against the rules.

A scene where an adult encourages undue violence toward boys of weaker character 

There is some telling of character’s emotions, etc. where I feel showing would’ve been far more powerful. Some info dumps too, although that may have been unavoidable.

It would’ve been nice for the love interest to be more fleshed out. The kiss between those two wasn’t as exciting because we know almost nothing of the girl and the interest was hardly touched on before that moment. 

The qualms in detail (contains spoilers. Skip if you want):

The main character, Will, is basically accepted as a ranger apprentice because of his bad deed of sneaking into the Baron’s study to look at the letter about him. 

There is a scene where Halt reprimands bullies and it’s a bit overdone in my opinion. He gets Horace to battle them individually but then when he beats them, instead of letting that humiliation be enough, he, the adult, encourages him to continue beating them. I am all for justice being panned out, but I felt this was a bit unnecessary even if they deserved it in a sense. I felt like it would’ve been better had they all been the better people and even showed the bullies mercy, and turned them over to the authorities. 


The epilogue was superb. Even though there was a tiny bit of a cliffhanger/expectation for the next book, I felt the end was complete and I liked how the mystery of Will’s lineage was at last revealed. 

It was a great story that overall I recommend although I'd probably have some conversations with my kids regarding certain scenes.

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