John Flanagan grew up in Sydney, Australia, hoping to be a writer. John began writing Ranger's Apprentice for his son, Michael, ten years ago, and is still hard at work on the series and its spinoff, Brotherband Chronicles. He currently lives in the suburb of Manly, Australia, with his wife. In addition to their son, they have two grown daughters and four grandsons.
Gr 4-8-A strong debut in a new fantasy series. Will hopes to become a knight; instead, he winds up as a Ranger's apprentice, joining the secretive corps that uses stealth, woodcraft, and courage to protect the kingdom. His aptitude and bravery gradually earn the respect of his gruff but good-hearted master. When the kingdom is attacked by evil magic forces, Will helps track down and defeat a couple of particularly nasty beasts. This closing episode sets the stage for a good-versus-evil war that will likely be at the heart of future volumes. In this opener, though, most of the story focuses on the learning process that Will goes through as an apprentice. Descriptions of Ranger craft are fascinating. Exciting confrontations with bullies and wild boars help to establish the boy's emerging character. Side stories involving a rival Battleschool apprentice and the identity of Will's father are woven in smoothly. The author occasionally spells things out more than is needed when actions demonstrate them clearly enough. However, the well-paced plot moves effortlessly toward the climax, letting readers get to know the world and the characters gradually as excitement builds. The public adoration Will gains at the end seems slightly overdone given the established distrust people feel for Rangers, but it's still a pleasing finish and should leave readers eager to share the future adventures of the Ranger's apprentice.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"The last few years have seen the publication of many fantasies, but few have the appeal of this original story. Rather than creating a host of strange creatures and magical powers, Flanigan concentrates on character, offering readers a young protagonist they will care about and relationships that develop believably over time.Readers will look forward to the next adventure in The Ruins of Gorlan series." -Booklist, starred review