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Finding good stuff to read after consuming countless hordes of zombie, end of the world apocalyptic tales wasn’t too difficult. Still, the stories I stumbled upon were stunning in how quickly they captured my interest, even though I felt they were written for teens and young adults.

The two series include the following:
Let me start with the last series first, since it has had me enthralled for about 7 books now, I can honestly say I’ve seldom been captivated with such a simple, straightforward “never-ending” story featuring a wide range of characters. From Wikipedia:

Ranger’s Apprentice is a series of fantasy novels written by Australian author John Flanagan. The first novel in the series, titled The Ruins of Gorlan, was released in Australia on 1 November 2004 and in the United States on 16 June 2005. As of 2011 all eleven books have been released in Australia and New Zealand, with other countries following behind. The series follows the adventures of Will, an orphan who is taken as an apprentice Ranger, as he strives to keep the Kingdom of Araluen safe from invaders, traitors, and threats. He is joined on his adventures by his mentor Halt and his best friend Horace. Author John Flanagan has stated that he will be writing a total of 12 books for the series, and is currently working on a new series in the same world, but with new characters and taking place in Skandia, called Brotherband.

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I’ve always been a sucker for Robin Hood, sword-n-sorcery kinds of books, and though Ranger’s Apprentice is low on the sorcery stuff, it’s definitely engaging in the other! When I googled Ranger’s Apprentice, I was also pleased to find a web site with an interactive game (sure to capture my middle schooler’s attention), as well as downloadable wallpapers and Teachers’ Guide!

I heartily recommend the entire series! Often, the quality of stories diminishes as you move through a series. I am in the grips of Flanagan’s books well into the seventh book so far, and I’m looking forward to the books I have yet to read.


The other series of books that have caught my attention include the Young Samurai series. To be honest, the first book in the series tapped into my fascination with James Clavell’s Shogun, which you may recall features a ship’s pilot navigating the secret route to “the Japans,” a route strictly kept secret by the Spanish and Portuguese. The making of Shogun into a mini-series featuring Richard Chamberlain caught my attention when a youngster, and Young Samurai has similar beginnings.

Instead of working from the perspective of a grown man serving as a pilot on a ship bound for Japan, the story unfolds from the point of view of a the son of a pilot. As events unfold, the boy is stranded in Japan and adopted by a powerful samurai, who treats him as his own son. It’s a great story and I recommend it. For me, though, it’s not at the level of Ranger’s Apprentice, but if you enjoyed Shogun or the idea of samurai and Japanese culture (lite), then you’ll find pleasure in this series.

Since my children and I share books, they are undoubtedly tired of listening to me encourage them to read these two series.

So, for those of you wondering why I haven’t been blogging as much, now you know. Too many awesome authors out there NOT writing about school reform.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure