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Book Review: Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

The Ranger’s Apprentice is a series of amazing fantasy novels written by Australian author John Flanagan. The series takes place in a fictonal world, based upon medevial Europe and follows the adventures of Will, an orphan of Castle Redmont who is taken as an apprentice Ranger, as he strives to keep the Kingdom of Araluen safe from invaders, traitors, and threats. He is joined on his adventures by his mentor Halt and his best friend Horace.

Growing up as a ward of the castle, Will dreams of becoming a knight and fighting for the honor of his king and kingdom. However, as his 15th birthday approaches and the time for choosing a path arrives, he is devastated when he is selected by Halt, the Kingdom’s head ranger, as his apprentice.  Because of Will’s diminutive size and uncanny ability of stealth and unseen movement, Halt believes that Will has the chance to become one of the Kingdom’s greatest Rangers.

The Rangers are typically viewed as magicians by the villagers for their ability to seemingly appear out of nowhere and are masters of unseen and unheard movement, camouflage, knife throwing, knife fighting skills and long-range weaponry, specifically the long bow.  And despite Will’s initail disappointment of not being selected as a knight, he quickly realizes the vital importance the Rangers play in the safety of the kingdom.

I really cannot say enough good things about this series.  As of now, Flanagan has published 10 books and 1 collection of short stories and states that he has a couple more in the works.  The author originally wrote these stories for his son and had no intention of publishing them and I think it’s really cool that years later these books have sold over two-million copies and we’re looking at a possible film series.  I picked the first book of the series up on a whim and have loved everything about the series ever since.  Neither the cover or title give you any indication of the greatness held within, and needless to say that 10 books so far is not enough, there could be 50 books in this series and I’m sure I would love every one.

The battles are intense, the characters and comaraderie are amazing, and in nearly every book Flanagan introduces the reader to another land, filled with it’s warriors, culture, schemes, and battle plans.  I really think that the author struck a great balance between character development and action, the plot is descriptive, without getting bogged-down.  And the battle scenes are fantastically detailed; tactics, troop deployment, and all the other minutae that goes into war-waging are described in detail and puts the reader right on the front lines, dodging arrows and swords along with the heroes.
Karen’s editorial note: This series has been super popular with my teen guys in two different libraries now, I highly recommend it.
Reviewer Chris Dahl is a life-long resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  He has aspirations of world domination, but lacks the resources, ambition, and over-all managerial style to accomplish his goals.  Anyone who believes that “still waters run deep” has never met Chris. He believes that there IS crying in baseball and blubbers like a baby every time he watches “Field of Dreams.” He has never been in a fist-fight, but has almost bowled a perfect game.  In addition to reading he enjoys getting sun-burned and the occasional rant about how nobody listens to good music anymore.  To the best of our knowledge, he is not in any way related to Roald Dahl, but we think it would be cool if he was.


  1. I adore this series. That is all.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I have a few of the books but I find the rangers apprentice greats to read but right after I read the others books I want to read rangers apprentice really good books

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