Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2 reviews in 1

Because it's not fair to just review the 2nd book in a series.

1. The Ruins of Gorlan
by John Flanagan
New York : Puffin Books, 2006, c2005.

The Ranger's Apprentice series is a young adult fantasy series that has been flying off the shelves at both my libraries, so I figured I should familiarize myself with it. In the first book, we meet Will and other orphan wards who are to become apprentices on Choosing Day. Will wants to go to Battleschool, but while he is too small for Battleschool, his particular skills make him perfect as a Ranger's Apprentice.

I could see why teenage boys would gobble up this fast-paced series. Stylistically, I was not impressed by the narrator telling more than showing, and thought that the characters could have been fleshed out. Knowing that it was a series took away some of the intensity when main characters found themselves in mortal peril. But all in all, I was game to read more. We're mostly given Will's training, but some chapters deal with Horace, a boy who did enter Battleschool, and I especially enjoyed those sections.

2. The Burning Bridge continues right where The Ruins of Gorlan left off, with King Duncan, Halt, and other advisers to the king preparing for war with Morgorath. Another Ranger, Gilan, asks that Will and a Battleschool apprentice, Horace, help make up a group of ambassadors to another country. Halt agrees, knowing that this will be a test of Will's skills and, perhaps, a way of increasing the boy's confidence. But he has no idea what it will take for both boys to come back alive.

I liked this one even better than the first. This was the first book read on my new Sony e-reader, and I thought it worked well in that format (though there were few rough patches where I had to figure out some mis-spaced words). It's an incredibly fast read, with a constantly building pace. My only real complaint this time was that I felt the ending was a bit rushed. I was, however, left with a strong desire to read the next one, and I've already put the e-book on hold.

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