Review: Tournament at Gorlan – By John Flanagan

Cover image and summary from

TitleTournament at Gorlan  (Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years, #1)

Author: John Flanagan

Rating:  ★★★★★ (6 of 5)

Genre/Pages: High Fantasy / 364

SummaryWhen Halt and Crowley discover that the ambitious Morgarath has been infiltrating the Rangers in order to corrupt the Corps, the young Rangers travel north to find Prince Duncan, seeking a royal warrant to stop Morgarath before it is too late. By weakening the Rangers, the most powerful force in support of the King, Morgarath plans to steal the throne.

Yet when Halt and Crowley arrive in Gorlan, they discover just how close Morgarath’s scheme is to success. Morgarath has a plan to discredit the Prince and alienate him from his father. At the same time, the Baron of Gorlan has been conspiring to win the trust and admiration of the Council of Barons to further his plan. If the young Rangers are to prevent the coup from succeeding, they will have to tread a dangerous path, which leads them to a thrilling climax at the annual tournament at Gorlan, where a series of bitter duels must be fought and won.

This origin story brings readers to a time before Will was an apprentice, and lays the groundwork for the epic battles that will culminate with The Ruins of Gorlan and The Burning Bridge—Books 1 and 2 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

My Review: It’s John Flanagan. It’s Ranger’s Apprentice. IT’S HALT O’CARRICK. Need I say more? Of course I adored this book!!! Also, I went to a release party for this book. Check it out, me as Alyss, with the creator himself (He personally apologized to me for what he did to Alyss):

Screenshot 2016-02-04 at 10.41.11 PM

Hero/Heroine: Halt and Crowley. HALT. AND. CROWLEY. They are the dream team! Partners in Sass and Coffee and Crime. They are perfect in every way. The banter and team work is wonderful. And getting to better understand the characters and their back stories was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

Plot: Halt and Crowley. Rogue Rangers. Prince Duncan. Araluen. Archery. Humor. Battle. Heroism. Laughter. Tears. THIS BOOK IS PERFECTION. Seriously. One would think that after having read 17ish of John’s books, his plots would get repetitive, predictable, or boring. But they haven’t! And they don’t! Not many prequels live up to the original series, but this one certainly did. Getting to better understand the characters and world that I already know and love was an incredible experience.

Content Advisory: Death, violence. Not graphic. 

To Sum It Up: If you’re wondering: Who’s Alyss? What’s with that weird dress? What is a Halt? Then don’t start with this book. The first in the series is called The Ruins Of Gorlan, and it’s phenomenal. Now, if you HAVE read the RA books, then you have GOT to read this one, because it is worth every single moment you will spend on it. I recommend it for ages 10+.

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