They have always scared him in the past — the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and 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… -Goodreads
A simple start
I’ve been trying for several days to come up with a cohesive review, but in the end The Ruins of Gorlan simply suffers from a huge dose of First Book Syndrome. It’s well done, but left me feeling a little unsatisfied.
Like with other first books, there’s lots of introductions happening: Will, the three other orphans with whom he grew up, Halt the Ranger, Morgarath and his minions, and the larger world in general. There’s a great deal of setup, and the action builds rather slowly.
This slow beginning makes more sense when I learned that Flanagan’s series currently stands at 10 books. I’m not sure of the span of time covered in the novels, but it would be interesting to see Will grow from a 15 year-old into a full-fledged adult and Ranger.
Will is a likeable character, intelligent and forever asking questions. I’m interested in seeing more of Morgarath (his only appearance is in the prologue), and definitely want to learn more about Horace, one of Will’s fellow orphans who appears to be preternaturally good with a sword.
The Ruins of Gorlan was a little slow, but don’t let that turn you off. It’s a quick read, and leaves you curious enough to want to dive further into the series — where I hope the action will be a little more fast-paced.
(I read this book as part of The Mount TBR Challenge. Here’s to a shorter list!)