The Ruins of Gorlan Book Review

The Ruins of Gorlan Book Review

ISBN Review
Published: 1998
Greetings and welcome to my review of The Ruins of Gorlan!
4.8Overall Score

ISBN Review

Greetings and welcome to my review of The Ruins of Gorlan! Read the Review

  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Pacing
  • Themes
  • Setting


An orphaned ward of the baron, Will has spent his whole life dreaming of joining Battle School and serving as a knight as his father did. The three other wards he has grown up with are chosen as apprentices for their preferred professions, but Will finds he doesn’t qualify for Battle School and is made the apprentice of Halt, a mysterious Ranger. The adventure that ensues changes his life from an era of chivalry, castles, and medieval weaponry comes a suspenseful tale of friendship, courage, and coming-of-age.

The Ruins of Gorlan Book Review–Content Review:


-A couple uses each of h— and d—n

-Some implied cursing


-While characters are wounded and get beat up, and (minor spoiler) a creature is set on fire (end spoiler), nothing is grotesquely described. 


-The occasional reference to magic




-Some characters drink alcohol.

-Some intense moments with monsters that might scare younger readers, including a monster and a battle.


Personal Review:

Plot and character-driven, the pacing is intentional. Some might call this story boring, but in an age of teen books filled with angst and violence for its own sake, more plot twists than necessary, and writing trying too hard to be gritty, raw, relatable, and symbolic, Ruins of Gorlan is refreshingly simple.

Delightfully witty and humorous, this book has no agenda to push, only a story to tell. I caught myself caught up in the characters’ struggles and stories within the first few chapters. 

While relatable, the main characters are still genuine and kind. The good guys may stumble, but in the end, they are honorable and pure-hearted. And in classic fantasy form, the bad guys are downright evil. Its simplicity does make me wonder if at some point the series will become formulaic and predictable (since it is a rather long series). But for now, I am eager to read the next installment.

A fun, (mostly) clean read, this book would be a great family read-aloud. I would also recommend it for lovers of middle-grade, and this series would definitely be engaging for boys – reluctant readers and otherwise. This series is also long enough (and with a couple of split-off series) that fans will have plenty to enjoy.