The Tournament at Gorlan
Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years—Book 1
By: John Flanagan
What: A baron seeks to overthrow the king, but he won’t succeed if the king’s elite special ops forces have anything to say about it.
Recommended to those who like: Fantasy, archery, middle-grade/teen, clean
So, John Flanagan may be almost single-handedly responsible for the sore state of my bank account.
He’s gotten far too good at writing spin-off series. Let’s face it, the books would have to be terrible before I refused to pick any more up. However, this new series was especially intriguing to me, as I love origin stories.
He didn’t disappoint! Unlike The Royal Ranger (Book 12 of Ranger’s Apprentice, which I would almost say I regret reading), this book made me very happy. It hearkens back to the feel of the original quartet and promises some interesting tidbits of backstory.
Furthermore, we spend quite a bit of time with Halt’s sarcastic, sharp-edged wit, which makes everybody’s day. We follow him and some banished Rangers as they attempt to overthrow Morgarath and restore King Oswald to power. There’s archery, coffee-drinking, sharp wit, and everything I love about Ranger’s Apprentice. (There’s also John Flanagan’s signature head-hopping, but I can deal with that because Halt makes up for any writing flaws).
Unlike so many spin-offs, this series seems to be holding its own weight fairly well. If I had picked up this series prior to the original series, I feel that I would like it just as much. I look forward to reading the next book.
The Bottom Line: If you like fantasy adventure and don’t mind a bit of head-hopping, I’d recommend this book, even if you haven’t read the original Ranger’s Apprentice series.
Have you read The Ranger's Apprentice or any of the spin off series?