Review: Tournament at Gorlan – By John Flanagan

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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):

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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+.

Eragon – By Christopher Paolini

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Title: Eragon

Author: Christopher Paolini

Genre/Pages: Fantasy/503

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

Summary: When young Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his adopted family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of inescapable destiny, magical forces, and powerful people. With only an ancient sword and the instruction of an old,mysterious, hermit storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a Emperor whose evil and power knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands….

My Review: Eragon is your average farm boy of Carvahall, that is, until he finds a mysterious blue stone in the forest. At first, he tries to sell it, but to no avail. No one will buy it. When it hatches a baby dragon, however, people become a bit more interested. Too interested. When Eragon’s uncle is murdered, and farm destroyed he realizes he must leave, if only to protect those left behind. What begins as a ‘simple’ quest for revenge, soon turns into much more and thousands of lives rest in his hands. Can Eragon do what is necessary to save Alagaesia? If not, many will die.

It took me a long time to finally pick up this book, but I’m really glad that I did. See, I watched the movie first, and frankly, I hated it. So, despite all my friends telling me it was amazing, it was really hard for me to pick up Eragon.

This book is a bit difficult to get into, and it took a while, but once I did, I really liked it! Paolini is an incredible author, and created a intriguing, believable, dangerous, high fantasy world. I love how much detail Paolini puts into his work, it really makes you feel like you’re there, fighting, side-by-side with young Eragon.

His characters were incredibly well-written, and you really grow to love them and feel as if you know them personally, and, well, I’m not going to spoil anything, but it gets pretty emotional in a couple scenes. This book, once it got started, was very-fast paced, and, all in all, quite an enjoyable read.

To Sum it up: Paolini masterfully wove many different aspects and feelings into this book, and I’m really looking forward to reading the second one! I would recommend this book for 11+.

The Ruins of Gorlan – By John Flanagan

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Title: The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice #1)

Author: John Flanagan

Genre/Pages: Fantasy/249

Rating: ★★★★★★ (6 of 5)*

Summary: They have always scared him in the past — the Rangers, with their dark cloaksand shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…

My Review: When 15-year-old Will is turned down as an apprentice for the Battleschool, he is heartbroken. Then mysterious and grim Ranger, Halt, chooses him as a Ranger’s apprentice. Soon Will is being trained in unseen movement, wicked-fast archery, and much more. Just as Will’s getting adjusted to his life as a Ranger’s apprentice, he gets thrown into the middle of a large battle. Could Will, just a Ranger-in-training, change the course of the battle and save his friends? If not, it could prove catastrophic to the fate of Araluen…

I’ve been meaning to read this book for quite some time, but nothing about it ‘spoke’ to me…so, it just sat there. Finally, late one night, my stack was gone. All that was left was The Ruins of Gorlan. So, I picked up, I was desperate.

Where do I even start with this book? The characters. Probably the reason this book drew me in as quickly and easily as it did. Flanagan is masterful with his creation and writing of his characters, they were incredibly well-written, and had so much depth, it was hard to believe they weren’t real! Especially Halt. Halt was my favorite. He was so hilarious, but so serious, and, well, grim. I absolutely adored Flanagan’s characters, they really were amazing.

The whole writing style of this book, the dialogue especially, was beautiful.  I loved the plot, it kept you excited and tense, it was constantly changing, and you could never predict the outcome of anything! Along with the high-speed battles and fighting, there was also a huge moral aspect to it as Will learns more about friendship, and what it means to be Ranger of Araluen.

To Sum it up: This book was incredible. Really a great story, with amazing characters, plot, and setting; however, this book may be kind of scary to young children, there are some pretty intense battle scenes (not bloody or gory, just intense) and big bear-like monsters. I would recommend it to about 9 +

*A 6 out of 5 review? Yes I realize that doesn’t add up. Check out the My Rating System page for more information. :)