Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan, is first in a fantastic fantasy series for youth.

At the ceremony where Will and his peers will be chosen as apprentices to several different schools, Will longs for the battleschool. But because of his small size, he is denied. In fact, none of the schools want him, except for the mysterious Ranger Halt. When Halt agrees to take him on as an apprentice, Will is hesitant. He has heard strange things about the Rangers. Some say they dabble in magic. But as Will soon realizes, he has special gifts that make him specially suited for the trade.

The Ruins of Gorlan is an amazing story with vivid characters. It was easy to get caught up in the realistic nature of the characters, especially what the young boys go through in their training. Friendships are made, character develops, and mysteries are revealed. With plenty of suspense and immanent danger, Flanagan has shown his mastery of superb storytelling.

As a “light” fantasy, this series should appeal to a broader range of young readers. Read in just a few short hours, I had to pick up the next in the series immediately – The Burning Bridge – which I’ll be posting my review of tomorrow. The Ranger’s Apprentice has definitely found a place on my list of top children’s series.