The Ranger's Apprentice Series

erakCindy: While strolling the ALA exhibits last week we were in the Penguin booth and Lynn noticed a poster about John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series. She loves the series and said, “Oh, there’s a series I’m all caught up on. I’ve read all six.” We picked up a few galleys they had out on the table and moved out into the aisle to talk to some colleagues. While she was gabbing, I turned back around and realized that the galley stacks had been refreshed. It’s a character flaw, I know, but it was with some perverse pleasure that I handed Lynn book 7, Erak’s Ransom (Penguin/Philomel, 2010), and said, “Not so fast, Lynn, you’re not caught up after all.” In defense of my buddy, though, I should fess up that she is WAY ahead of me. This series is so popular with my middle school students hand selling it to each other that I haven’t even read the first one. Shame on me.

Lynn: See what happens the minute I get a little smug? I’m glad Cindy found this though. I’ve really enjoyed the series and was excited to see a new one. I knew once our teens discovered this it would be constantly checked out, so I read it straightaway. (It makes a good excuse, don’t you think?) This is book 7 but chronologically it comes between books 4 and 5, filling in a time gap right before Will earns his Silver Oakleaf as a graduate Ranger.

Two of my favorite characters, Erak and Svengal are involved here. Erak has already grown restless with all the administrative chores an Oberjarl must handle and he sneaks off with his crew on one more raid to the desert land of the Arridis. The Arridis are waiting, in force, and capture the Skandians, sending Svengal home with a demand for a huge ransom for Erak. Suspecting treachery, Svengal goes instead to King Duncan asking for help and once again the Rangers spring into action.

This was a fun read with lots of action, intrigue, danger all laced with clever banter. The desert setting offers new challenges but Will, Halt, Evanlyn and the whole intrepid cast triumph in style. And Cindy – NOW I’m all caught up!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "The Ranger's Apprentice Series"

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  1. scopenotes@gmail.com' Scope Notes says:

    Thanks for highlighting this series – its popularity at the 5th and 6th grade building where I work is exactly like the response you’ve experienced. It’s one of those “word of mouth” series that kids are recommending to other kids. Always cool to see that. I’ve also seen it have a trickle-down effect to some of my 4th graders as well.

  2. kvorhis@wanee.org' Kel says:

    The Ranger’s Apprentice series is also popular at the high school where I teach in Northern Indiana.

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