The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan has been out for several years, and finally, at the recommendation of the elementary school librarian, I picked it up and had a very nice time with The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1). There is a small group of orphans raised together, although we only really care about the two boys who learn how to fight -- Will, the ranger, and Horace, the warrior apprentice.
Both boys have strenuous apprenticeships where they learn important things about life and friendship, and then Will goes on to an adventure that starts the war that will kick off the series. Nothing is very surprising, but the prose is solid and the characters endearing. I'll pass it around to my 6th and 4rth grade boys, and I'll go looking for the next ones in the series. B
By the way, I'm working along in MotherReader's comment challenge -- I got my five comments yesterday and I'm on track for today.