Title: Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan
Author: John Flanagan
Genre: Fantasy (MG)
Quality Rating: 7
Content Rating: PG
I love middle grade books - just in case you haven't realized that yet. So when I was perusing the Independent Reader section of B&N and I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. High Fantasy without dragons doesn't happen a lot in the MG section, so we have to support it. And this book didn't disappoint. It follows the story of Will, a fifteen-year-old orphan who is apprenticed to a Ranger (essentially a spy, but high fantasy style). It has all the rich detail one would expect from a high fantasy novel. It also does the unexpected for "kids" books. The adults play a large role, an important role, and they act like real adults. I know, I was shocked to. I'm so used to heroes having to break the rules to save the world, or stupid adults who need kids to save them. This was a pleasant and lovely surprise. I highly recommend this book for young readers who don't want to feel patronized (the book has small font!) and who like to read fantasy.
This books gets a PG rating for some fantasy violence, a couple of pretty intense hunting scenes, and harsh bullying. It's definitely still ok for our upper elementary school crowd.