For a series that has grown immensely popular in the last decade, it seems very fitting that John Flanagan’s The Ranger’s Apprentice series has recently received a makeover with print and eBook reissues. The first book in the series, The Ruins of Gorlan, was originally released in 2004, and the full series now comprises twelve novels that have inspired a related spinoff series and forthcoming prequels, and that has now been published in eBook editions. The new digital editions are handsomely designed and contain never-before-seen features.
These YA fantasy novels follow the adventures of plucky orphan Will, an apprentice Ranger, as he strives to protect the Kingdom of Araluen from all manner of threats, both external and internal – invaders, traitors, and slavers. He is joined in his adventures by a range of characters, including his grizzled but lovable mentor, Halt; his ever-so-knightly best friend, Horace; the tomboyish princess Evanlyn, and others. Between the witty characters and the subtle and humorous writing, the series is a classic YA fantasy quest.
When I first picked up The Ranger’s Apprentice, I was captivated by the concept of the mysterious Rangers, serving up justice with little but a longbow and a healthy dose of sense. Each new adventure that the ranger’s apprentice and his friends face seems even more unbeatable than the last. Whether they are picking off an army outnumbering them 10 to one with a hastily trained band of archers, dismantling a charismatic cult with a Prince and the Pauper switch, or invading an impenetrable fortress with a pack of pirates and a trick magician, the ingenuity of the Rangers’ schemes is awe-inspiring and ever-surprising. It’s always a treat to see the victorious underdogs, but even more so when the odds seem insurmountably stacked against them. And while there are a fair few more books in the series now than when I first discovered it, these books have continued to fascinate me.
Now, with these newly reimagined editions coming out, the series can boast a newfound continuity across the board in terms of aesthetics as well as content. Complete with character profiles for series regulars, an eloquent description of the Ranger Corps, sneak previews of subsequent titles and beautiful new covers to complement the stories within, The Ranger’s Apprentice series is all set to win over readers new and old, in both print and digital.