But nothing about her quest will be easy. Because not everyone is on her side. Her brother, Sebastian, is the most powerful sorcerer the world has ever seen. And he's fighting for the empire.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
The Ranger of Marzanna
Series: The Goddess War #1
Author: Jon Skovron
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Page Count: 454
Cover Artist: Magali Villeneuve
My Rating: ★★★★
I received an ARC of this book from Orbit Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Profanity, Death, War, Adult sexual content, Gore
Hunters might strike with efficiency, thereby sparing their prey undo pain and suffering, but creatures of the wild did not take into account such things. And certainly Lady Marzanna, Goddess of Winter and Death, was not a creature that could ever be tamed.
In a Russian-inspired fantasy world of cold tundra and warring nations, The Ranger of Marzanna brings an action-packed, complex story about the ultimate sibling rivalry.
She was doing the work she had vowed to do as a Ranger, protecting the people of Izmoroz and undermining the empire that had outlawed the worship of the great Lady Marzanna.
The kingdom of Izmoroz is a diverse one, full of rich culture and people. Since it was overthrown and became part of the Empire, it has been the goal of many to return it to its original state. Multiple forces working singularly discover that many collectively work towards restoring Izmoroz, Sonya being one of them.
One of the last Rangers of Marzanna, Sonya has been trained in combat to serve and protect the people of her nation. The Rangers are an unusual lot. They serve the Lady Marzanna, and in return, she gives each “gifts” slowly turn them into something other than human. Sadly, the Rangers were mostly killed off in battle. Crafty Sonya still found her way to Lady Marzanna through a family servant who disguised his identity in order to elude the Empire after the war.
Sonya’s father, ironically, was one of the most renowned warriors in the Empire’s army but didn’t exactly discourage Sonya’s path. He did, however, not allow Sonya’s younger brother Sebastian, to enlist in the army as he had. Sebastian possesses elemental magic, a rare ability in the realm. It is soon apparent that he is sought out by the Empire when his father is killed in a raid on their home one night.
After Sonya discovers her family’s home ransacked and her father’s body, she decides to go after her mother and brother to free them. She breaks into a garrison, only to find out that both her mother and brother have come to terms with their position, and even embrace it. Her mother, a woman from a long line of nobility, is comfortable back in court. Sebastian is immediately enlisted into the Empire’s army. Desiring more knowledge and freedom with his abilities, he quickly gains the approval of this commander and is placed in a position of power.
Sonya and Sebastian find themselves sitting on the opposite sides of the bank–one, desiring for the freedom of her homeland. The other–enjoying his station of power, despite its downfalls.
What a terrible thing was love. What a dreadful weapon it could become.
With the siblings at odds, each finds their own allies amongst the ranks of their enemies. Sonya seeks out the clan of undead warriors and enemies of the Empire. Her journey to them is daunting, and she loses more of herself along the way. Despite her transformation, Sonya started out lacking in character since her life is driven by the Lady Marzanna’s plans. I’m curious to see at what cost her lack of humanity will lead her in the future.
Not unlike his sister, Sebastian also sacrifices his innocence and eventually his betrothed for esteem and power. Called to kill his own people with his powers forces him to make “examples” of wrongdoers and elicit fear to those trying to thwart the Empire.
”Just as the fate of all snow is tho melt, the fate of all mortals is to die.”
Atmospheric, complex, yet slow-paced, The Ranger of Marzanna is an enthralling read and a promising start to this series. (I must add that I wish Sonya’s loyal horse Peppercorn had a bigger role than he ended up with. But, that’s my personal preference.)
Sexual content: Moderate.
My Rating: ★★★★
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