Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

 

The Ranger's have always made Will feel uneasy. The way they can move unseen. Their uncanny accuracy with their bow. And the dark cowl that surrounds their face hiding their features from view.

But now, Will has been selected to be an apprentice to a Ranger. And not just any Ranger. Ranger Halt. The same Ranger who had caused the evil Mogoroth to flee Araluen, sixteen years ago.

Now, Will must learn the skills of the mysterious Ranger Corps. Unseen movement. Tracking. Archery. And hundreds of other things that keep the evils that wish to attack Araluen away.

His training is going well, until intelligence comes back saying that Morgorath is staging an attack. And that he has released two fearsome beasts, knwon as the Kalkara, into Arauen. Now, Will, Halt, and Ranger Gilan, must stop it nothing to destroy these evil creatures. And if they fail,, it could mean the end of Araluen.

 

 

 

/*** THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***\

**/** SPOILERS ARE PRESENT **\**

 

Before I begin the review for book one, I would like to say that these books are wonderful. While not breaking Harry Potter, which is the standard by which I grade books, it comes very close. The books don't have a lot to do with each other (exceptions 1-4, 5-6, 8-9) other than the characters, and that keeps the book interesting, because almost all of them could act as a stand alone book. And it doesn't tie the reader down to a story line which can start to get monotonous.

I have to say that books one is one of my least favorite books of the series (its up there with 2, 3, 11, and 8). But I kept on reading the series because I has books 1-4 and didn't want to stop at the first book of the series. Thank god I continued because the series got good at around book 3. I read books 1-4 in order straight through. Then for wahtever reason I waited four or five years and then read books 5-11 during this last summer (2013). Then I had to wait for the Royal Ranger to be released for to finish the series (see my review of the Royal Ranger for infromation on the end of the series).

 

But I'll start with the review of book 1, The Ruins of Gorlan, now.

 

I am going to mostly skip the giant synopsis, because a lot of this book was introducing the reader to the Ranger's lifestyle and skills.

I have to say that the Ranger's appear to be incredibly skilled at almost anything. It seems like Halt could shoot a quarter out of the air from a hundred yards, and pin it to tree. Meanwhile, Gilan can move like a shadow when there's no sun. Et cetera. It seems like it would be pretty fun to be a Ranger of Araluen.

On the otherhand, Battleschool sounds likes it miserable ....

One person misbehaves, everyone is punished. Fall on an obstacle course, shortened dinner. Meals ... 20 minutes. Sounds like fun. Not. And then Horace those three dumb asses to put up with. But Halt takes care of those for him doesn't he.

And that brings us to one of the more humorous parts of the story. Our dumb asses, think it might be a good idea to go and attack Will, then tell Halt to stay out of it when he catches them. That was probably the stupidest thing they had ever done. Halt, acting like the trained Ranger he is, lays one out completely, and has other two fight Horace. which was a stroke of brilliance. No pun intended (Get it 'stroke' ... like a sword 'stroke'). But lets not forget the reason behind this funniness, the boar hunt.

The boar hunt, in the end, may actually be the single most important event in the entire series, and in the history of Araleun. When Will defends Horace from the board that attacks, he gains Horace's respect and they end up becoming good friends (thank god for Araleun). Without this one event tking place, it is highly possible that a) Morgoroth would have suceeed in an invasion b) there would have been no apprentice for Will in 'The Royal Ranger' c) the cult known as 'The Outsiders' may have conquered Hibernia and d) Halt could have died (these are spoilers to what happens in future books (2, 12, 8, 9)). So that is a pretty significant event.

And let's finally discuss our climax: the battle with the Kalkara.

First, brilliant idea by Halt to light the fire and shoot burning arrows at the Kalkara. If only ha had started sooner though. I know he killed one of the things single handedly, but any quicker and he probably would have gotten out of Gorlan unscathed. But of course, a book can't be that straight forwards, and so Halt proceeds to go into hiding for a while, while the remaining Kalkara looks for him.

Luckily, Sir Rodney, Baron Arald, and Will arrive at just that time (even though they should have been ahead of him) and begin their battle with the beast. Now, I have no idea how two trained knight and an apprentice ranger could not take down a single powerful beast. They could have just used the same idea behind the beating a Gorgon, don't look into their eyes and they should have eventually been able to beat the damn thing.

But of course, it has to be Will. With Arald incapacitated, and Rodney frozen, Will has the brilliant idea that shooting the creature in the chest with a fire arrow and do the trick. And sure enough, the creature catches fire and dies, just like that. Kind of anticlimatic if you ask me. There were a lot more exciting ways the Kalkara could have been killed, but no, it just had to be shot with fire.

That's all for this book. Continue the adventures of Halt, Will, and Horace in book two: The Burning Bridge.