This is the first book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. The Ruins of Gorlan follows the life of a young boy named Will who was orphaned shortly after his birth and became a ward in a fiefdom. At a certain age, the wards are able to choose a profession that they want to pursue and Will becomes a Ranger. Taught by his mentor, Halt, Will is taught the art of stealth and tracking and practices constantly with his bow.
This is a story that I would have loved to read as a child, and am so glad that I finally read it. The characters were very well-developed, and I felt connected to them. They are relatable to many young adults and are realistic, even in a fantasy setting.
Thesis note: The book takes a lot of time to develop the characters and backstories. The action part of the book didn’t come until the latter half, but it works really well. In my own draft, I felt that I needed action sooner, but developing the characters and making the readers care about the characters is a great place to start. The action won’t matter as much if the readers don’t care for the characters’ safety.