This family are all solid fans of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice and Brother Band books, so we all quickly turned to these two new books set about 15 years before the Ranger’s Apprentice books. For those who have come to love the story, characters and writing as we have, they do not disappoint. They fill in some of the gaps of the younger Halt, with the first book The Tournament at Gorlan, showing how he came to be a Ranger and the early story of how Morgarath tried to steal the throne. It also follows on from a shorter story found in Book 11: The Lost Stories.
The second book The Battle of Hackham Heath, continues to fill in the story of Morgarath and the Wargals, laying the groundwork for understanding more of books #1 & 2 of the original series.
Flanagan writes a great story, and he appeals to 9/10-year olds right up to adults. Almost all the kids we know who like these books have parents who also like them and seek them out to read on their own – high praise indeed and not always a given. His writing is witty, accessible, intelligent and not condescending. Upon re-reading them to Miss 9, I have been pleasantly surprised to rediscover the wide range of vocabulary he uses - it will definitely extend your kids! So, if your kids (or you) haven’t tried them yet, it may be time. I’d still suggest starting with Ranger’s Apprentice #1 – The Ruins of Gorlan, and then look forward to 20 books awaiting your reading pleasure! I reviewed them about 4 years ago when we first discovered them, and since Miss 11 has devoured them (at age 9-11) and as I said, Miss 9 is now just discovering their delights for the first time.