The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1)The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

I had mixed feelings about this fantasy/adventure title – on one hand, it’s a straightforward story with plenty of appeals for readers who like action and quest stories, but on the other hand it never rises above that. The style is occasionally clunky, the premise and characters are unoriginal, and the action predictable. Would I recommend it to kids looking for a story heavy with descriptions of training (sword fighting, horseback riding, archery, stealth), fighting (and physical revenge on bullies and enemies) and a fantasy world that doesn’t require too much imagination – yes, definitely. There’s nothing wrong with a story like this and the series definitely has its fans. But would I recommend it to readers looking for great characters and original fantasy worlds, with maybe a bit more subtlety? Probably not. I’m revealing my personal biases in terms of what makes a great story, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking of kids I could suggest it to. I am curious to know how the series progresses, but not curious enough to read them all myself.

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