First, I must admit that I am a huge fan of John Flanagan. He is one of my top 5 go to authors for reluctant readers, fantasy lovers, and adventure seekers. His Ranger Apprentice books are very well done and I have enjoyed all of them.
The Tournament at Gorlan is a prequel to Ranger’s Apprentice. It follows the story of Rangers Halt and Crowley as they take on the Dark Lord Morgarath who is trying to steal the throne. With the King a Prisoner, the Prince in disgrace, and the Ranger Corps disbanded, it will take all their strength and cunning to defeat his evil plan.
Things I liked:
This is a interesting prequel to the original series. It was fun to read about Halt as a new Ranger. The best part is when he gets his new horse (very classic to the story). I also enjoyed the banter between Halt and Crowley. There was lots of laugh out loud snark and witty commentary.
Getting to see how evil Morgarath really is and getting that backstory helps define the series as a whole. It also introduces some of the history and people briefly mentioned in the main series. It even has Pauline! (fangirl squeal)
Lastly, the battle at the end and the horrible twist (ugh.. why???!!!! Rip my heart out) makes me want to read the next book right now!
Things that were disappointing:
While this is another great addition to the story-line, it was a bit slow. I think that it compliments the series as a whole but I doubt I would recommend it to a reader who is not already a fan of the series.
There is a lot of camping, cooking, conversation, riding, thinking, descriptions… etc .. etc.. It really started to drag on a bit. While I love how Flanagan describes things so you feel like you are there, I got a bit bored with the constant mentions of the food and camping. (I actually feel terrible writing this. Like that I am going to be struck by lightning for not giving a glowing review) The summary made me think that this would be an action packed story that was fast paced and full of adventure. Unfortunately the action didn’t really start until the last few chapters of the book. Then it was non stop and had some twists that I was not expecting!
Like I said before this is a good addition to the series and it does build the story. I won’t recommend it as a first introduction to the series but I will recommend it to fans who will enjoy the backstory. I will definitely purchase this for the library and recommend it in my fall book talks to readers familiar with the tale. I also am excited to read the next in the series since this ended on such a tragic cliffhanger!!