The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

The Ruins of Gorlan, written by John Flanagan published on November 1, 2004, is the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. The series is made up of a total of 11 books. There is a sequel series of 5 books as well and also one other series that take place in the same world and has some connections and some of the same characters, as well as a few others. In total the three series make up a total of 26 books, so if you enjoy it there is plenty to look forward to.

The book takes place in a medieval-like Europe-like place, with some fantasy of some monsters showing up. The story is set around 15 years after a large-scale war. The book focuses on an orphan Will, it is unknown who either of the parents is but assumed the father is assumed to have died in battle. He lives in an orphanage that the lord runs for children whose parents died in the war. Now that he is 15 he is expected to learn a job or become a farmer. Failing to become get into knight school and become a warrior in his father’s image. He instead gets chosen by an unexpected person. He learns the skills of a ranger in a mysterious job.

This book while slow at the begging as it sets up the story for the series does eventually pick up and bring in some action. It is more about Will learning the skills of his position and surviving. It is nicely written and one of the best of its kind. If you give it a chance past halfway you’ll get to the point that you can’t stop if you like this type of book. I give this as a great recommendation to anyone who likes medieval-era with slight fantasy types of books.

-Luke G.

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

A Game of Thrones, the first novel of A Song of Ice and Fire, is a fantasy novel by George R. R. Martin. It is considered an adult novel, with explicit scenes, so it should not be read by younger readers. The majority of A Game of Thrones takes in Westeros, a vast continent that spreads from a warm south to a freezing, mysterious north. In the north is a massive wall, manned by an organization known as the Night’s Watch, designed to keep an alien, zombie-like race known as the Others out, while the country’s center of power is in King’s Landing, a city in the South that contains the Iron Throne. Upon the Iron Throne sits the King of Westeros, who supposedly has the support of the seven Great Houses.

A Game of Thrones has three main plot lines. The first focuses on the fight for the Iron Throne in King’s Landing. Here, King Robert Baratheon and his Hand, Eddard Stark, attempt to keep Robert in power as they struggle to determine who is friend and who is foe. Robert and Eddard are surrounded by enemies, bystanders, and traitors, all while the country’s Great Houses wage war for control over the Iron Throne.

The second significant plot line is that of Bran Stark, Robb Stark, and Jon Snow. Bran Stark, Robb Stark, and Jon Snow are all sons of Eddard Stark, but Jon is an illegitimate son. While Bran and Jon defend the Wall from northern invaders, like the mountain men and Others, Robb Stark focuses on becoming the ruler of Winterfell, in place of his father’s absence.

Finally in the far east, upon another continent across the sea, is the plot line of Daenerys Stormborn, daughter of the Iron Throne’s previous king, who had been overthrown by King Robert. Daenerys and her brother Viserys Targaryen focus on reclaiming their rightful inheritance, as they begin to gain power in the east.

A Game of Thrones is a complicated mess, with main characters scattered throughout the globe. It can most similarly be compared to The Lord of the Rings, but with more complexity, more characters, and more explicit scenes. A Game of Thrones should only be read by a dedicated reader, or by a person who has the time, due to its length and large amounts of characters. Readers desiring a quick read should definitely not check out A Game of Thrones.

-Josh N. 

A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library