Book Highlight: The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron

book highlight the ranger of marzanna on skovron
Book Review: The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron - the first book in a new fantasy series based on Eastern European folktales

Title: The Ranger of Marzanna (The Goddess War #1)

Author: Jon Skovon

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

When their father is murdered by imperial soldiers, two siblings set out on opposite paths–one will destroy the Empire forever and the other will save it–in this thrilling new epic fantasy.
Sonya is training to be a Ranger of Marzanna, an ancient sect of warriors who have protected the land for generations. But the old ways are dying, and the rangers have all been forced into hiding or killed off by the invading Empire.
When her father is murdered by imperial soldiers, she decides to finally take action. Using her skills as a ranger she will travel across the bitter cold tundra and gain the allegiance of the only other force strong enough to take down the invaders.
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.

Why This Book

The Ranger of Marzanna is the first in a trilogy that puts a brother and sister on opposing sides. Where her brother would rather bow down to the Empire and do their biding, Sonya would rather take to the old magic to protect their home country from the invading Empire. I really liked Sonya. She’s not the most well-bred woman, but she was trained to protect her home, and will do so at all costs, even if it means giving up a part of herself to gain animalistic abilities. She’s brave and cares about her country, and life is continually difficult for her. But she does what she must to save and protect her home at any cost and with a great deal more courage than I could, because many of the things she gets herself tangled up in are quite incredible.


My review: “Sonya was a lot of fun. She always seemed good-natured and in high spirits, even in serious situations. I also found her unique speech pattern to be refreshing and just as much fun as her”

Blogging with Dragons DNF’ed this one, saying “Sonya slaughters men without a second-thought, and fights for what she believes in without any second thoughts. But she’s not very likable or convincing–having virtually no worries–and seems to be good at literally everything. Everyone who meets her immediately likes her, despite the fact that she has no trouble murdering people or serving a goddess of death”

L’Antre de la Fantasy gave this 3 stars, saying “She is the character I’ve enjoyed the most throughout the book. She is lively, strong, has a good sense of humour, and deeply care about her culture, her family, her friends and her kingdom. But sometimes, she has a tendency of switching from being happy to wanting to kill anybody because of rash thoughts. Compared to her brother, she is more fleshed out and had more presence. Her character has a lot of room to grow. However, I deplored her lack of development”

Feminist Quill gave this 4 stars, saying “As the story progresses, Sebastian becomes more of a city kid, his crisp military uniform and elite society balls an absolute contrast from Sonya, who spends her time wandering around alone on her horse, hanging out in obscure villages and helping them with tithes and food stores. Sebastian embodies conformity, while Sonya is rebellion personified”

Powder & Page gave this a 4, saying “Sonya is determined to use her powers as a Ranger to kick out the empire and Sebastian is just happy to be able to display his elemental magic and have people tell him he’s doing a great job. Basically, he’s a golden retriever. He just wants to please everyone and get pats on the head and be loved. Sonya is honestly a bit tougher – she has her Ranger gifts, which she’s paid a great price for and she’s a feisty devil”

Black Forest Basilisks gave this 2 stars, saying “Sonya is committed to liberating her homeland, Izmoroz, by any means necessary. She’s pledged herself to Lady Marzanna, goddess of death, in pursuit of this goal. In exchange for the Lady’s gifts, she finds herself being slowly but surely stripped of her humanity. Each boon the Lady grants comes at a price.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t entirely impressed with how that price was presented. While Sonya has a few brief moments of horror at the way her inner, animalistic nature manifests, it does not seem to impede her day to day life much at all. Generally, it actually helps her. It felt less like a price and more like a change, which I found to be less compelling’

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | IndieBound | Powell’s | Target | Walmart | Waterstones (UK) | Booktopia (Australia) | imusic of Denmark | Books-A-Million | Flipkart (India) | Kobo | Google Books | Apple Books | Thrift Books | Book Depository | Abe Books | Dymocks (Australia) | Dungeon’s Gate | Copper Dog Books | Angus & Robertson (Australia) | Kinokuniya (Singapore) | Foyles (UK) | Kogan (Australia) | WHSmith (UK)

Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.

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