Up next on my list of books to review is another series. The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan is a kids’ series based on the classic knights in shining armor and castles and such. No, there are no dragons. But there are plenty of pirates, adventure and chivalry.
I think the thing I struggled with most in this series is that Flanagan clearly used maps of Europe and stereotypes about different European cultures to create his world. While I don’t mind using what is already there – i.e. Europe – the obviousness combined with the use of stereotypes – i.e. the Skandians are a seafaring, marauding, almost pirate group. You can guess which area of Europe they are based off of.
That being said, it is a kids’ series. From that point of view, many of the criticisms I’ve read about the series I think are overly harsh and unfair. Kids are not as interested in a character’s growth or perceived lack of movement in the relationship between the main character, Will, and his love interest. They will love the way Will ends up haring off all over the known world to help, how he has his best friend with him, that there are princesses and pirates and plots to overthrow kingdoms.
If you like older kids’ series – this is a good one. I would put it on the list of really need to read for most kids ages 10-15.