I assure you that both Will and Halt are worthy of my love...and yours. They are the kind of guys that middle school boys want to be like and middle school girls can admire. (I know you're thinking, "Wait. Ummm, middle school?") Actually, every man should want to be like them and every woman should want to admire them...but the Ranger's Apprentice series is written for middle school students.
Now, before you jump ship or think the series is only for middle school students, hear me out...
Once upon a time there was a twelve-year-old boy who hated to read. There was only one series that he liked. Well, needless to say, when this boy 'who hated reading' told me that I just had to read The Ranger's Apprentice series, I did exactly that. I was hooked and in love long before I got to the end of the first book! With each book in the series, I kept thinking there was no way the author could continue to make the next one as good as the one before it - but he does! While there isn't one single book that I could pick as my "most favorite" (because I love them all), I am a little sentimental. Like a first love, I am partial to the first book The Ruins of Gorlan where I met Will and Halt for the first time. You know, when we were all a little younger, a little more naive, and a little less weary from our battles and travels and adventures.
There are "officially" eleven books in the series, and I say "officially" because I fell in love with the first ten - which completes the story line. The author, John Flanagan, came out with another book The Lost Stories which is composed of ten short stories that let you know what eventually happened to all the characters. I own that book, but haven't had the courage to read it yet. I am aware that it tells how they lived out the rest of lives which, like all of us, means their lives eventually ended. I like keeping them alive for now. (Don't laugh, I have a friend of mine who feels exactly the same way and, no, she isn't a middle school student. :)
If you read it and you are an adult, I don't need to prepare you for what you're going to read. Just enjoy! If you give it as a gift to a reluctant middle school/high school reader, tell them to be patient through the first couple of chapters. Tell them they shouldn't let the names of the bad guy or the towns/countries throw them in the beginning. They'll get the hang of it, I promise. (By the way, the author wrote these books from stories he wrote for his son when he was young because his son didn't like to read.)
A note about any book series: A series has to be really good for me to invest my time. I don't like reading a series until it is completed, when I can help it. Once I start one, I like to read straight through without reading anything else in between. I do not recommend series very often, but I do highly recommend this one.