Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan
Ruins of Gorlan: Young boy Will wants to be a knight but, like me, he is small, wiry and weighs less than the armor he longs to wear. He does however have some skills; he climbs trees to hide from his bully, he can move unseen in the shadows, and he is able to make friends easily for an orphan. He does not know what happened to his parents other than his father died a hero and his mom died shortly after Will was born. He assumes that means his dad was a knight, hence the knightly aspirations. When he and his fellow wards must choose professions, he is tested by the strange Ranger, Halt, and proves he has the skills to be a ranger, but now he must hone those skills. He gets to ride the shortest ponies of the land, his mount is named Tug, learns marksmanship with a bow, as well as fighting with a short blade called a Saxe knife. There are bully situations and solutions, classic good against evil, and redemption. The end of this book wrecked me.
There are twelve Rangers Apprentice novels: Ruins of Gorlan, Burning Bridge, Icebound Land, Battle for Skandia, Sorcerer of the North, Siege of Macindaw, Erak’s Ransom, Kings of Clonmel, Halts Peril, Emperor of Nihon-ja, Lost Stories, and The Royal Ranger.
He also wrote The Brotherband Chronicles. These are the stories of a group of young Skandian kids fighting against a traitor with cameos of characters from Rangers Apprentice.
These books are Outcasts, The Invaders, The Hunters, Slaves of Socorro, and Scorpion Mountain.
This fall he also is starting a series of Prequel novels about Halt’s youth. The First book is called The Tournament at Gorlan.
This series is amazing for both kids and adults, fans of everything from J. R. R. Tolkien, to Brian Jaques, to George R. R. Martin. The story switches point of view with shared chapter narration and has plenty of witty banter to keep me happy. The friendships are truly what make this series both heartwarming and devastatingly heart breaking. It deals with identity, addiction, trust and new friendships. As the series progresses, we see young Will become a hero as well as a man, and Halt go from a dower brooding loner to a loving, caring, loveable Harrison Ford like scamp. Halt is amazing, in one book he convinces Horace to joust against lesser lords in a foreign land to oust a tyrant and in the same book convinces him that the friendly girls working at the dockside establishment wearing short skirts were messengers. Another cool part of the series involves the big scary bad guy and his monster legions. The book starts with him in mid monologue to his nonverbal minions and terrorizing the land but then shortly after he and his goons are gone. By the end of Book Two, the heroes have a much greater and scarier foe to face, Humans. Humans are more monstrous than any imaginary monster we will ever face. Read it and be hooked. Also Flanagan got back at his readers for badgering him to write more books after Book Ten. Book Eleven was short stories showing cool parts of post Book Ten bliss between the characters. Again the fans emailed him relentlessly. Book Twelve started with the death of a main character and heartbreak of the worst kind.