Hae is the daughter of her clan’s historians and her parents want nothing more than for her to follow in their footsteps. But why follow in someone else’s footsteps when you can forge your own path? A life spent among parchments and books studying the adventurous tales of heroes from the past is not for her. She wants to live her own adventures and maybe someday have tales told about her exploits. She wants to become a Ranger.
The final step to become a Ranger is to spend two weeks with a veteran who will assess your skills and knowledge in the field. Hae is selected by the notorious Bae-Jin, a ranger who long ago left the clans to travel the world. It doesn’t take long for Hae to discover that Bae-Jin has more than just her training in mind as they cross the wild lands full of monsters and spirits. The two-week field test becomes more treacherous than Hae had ever feared, but also more incredible than she could ever hope for.
Michelle: Hae is young and adventurous but also the daughter of the tribe’s historians, so her bravery is combined with a keen intellect. She has just the combination of characteristics I adore! However, while she is learned and skilled in many things, in terms of matters of the heart she is very naïve. Enter Bae-Jin, a veteran Ranger who is also adventurous but far more experienced in life as well as matters of the heart.
While the two women share an adventurous nature, their different traits pair well and make for a killer mentor/mentee dynamic. The relationship begins with a rocky start and underhanded intentions that lead to some bumps in the road. However, the more time they spend together relying on each other, the more they realize they are falling in love whereupon the relationship takes a lovely and very steamy turn.
Valden: I agree with Michelle about both women. I particularly loved Hae’s habit of overthinking things to her own, and at times, both their detriment. She is also a product of her upbringing (aren’t we all?) and thinks in terms of clan, ritual and expectation. Bae-Jin having been out in the world, knows that being open to outside influences leads to wider experiences and tries to impart that to Hae.
The relationship between the women takes Hae’s naivety and Bae-Jin’s ability to completely disarm her and mixes them together with a small amount of magic. The result is a really hot romance. The building of the relationship between the two women and their individual character journeys move along a pace throughout the book and is not always what you expect, nor when you expect it.
The Writing Style
Michelle: This is a classic quest narrative with all the tropes you’d expect from the genre. The journey is both physical and internal for Hae and is rife with magic, epic battles, challenges and of course, romance. The world building is intricate and exciting with a well woven history and mythology. I felt the pacing slowed a bit in a few places particularly the beginning of the book, but I am glad I pushed through it because it gets so much better after the first few chapters.
Valden: Garrus has a very readable writing style. I understand the need to present the world that Hae lives in at the start, but I wanted to get into the story much more quickly and found it a little slow in the beginning. However, perseverance pays off. The world building is exquisite and carefully done ensuring that whether you are on rolling hills, in overgrown buildings, being chased by mythological creatures or fighting with bows and arrows you are there with Hae and Bae-Jin. I loved it.
My Favourite Parts
Michelle: I just love delving into new and creative worlds when I read fantasy and the world and its mythology in this book blew me away. It is super interesting and full of fantastical entities, both in terms of the adversaries and allies that they encounter on their quest and had me entirely rapt.
Valden: The action sequences were so well done. Garrus has the ability to get you, the reader, fighting and moving fast and finally standing in front of a mythological creature and thinking, ‘OMG! What do I do now?’ and know that is what the character is thinking. I loved it. Oh, and did I say the love and romance is good (and hot).
Michelle: Oh yes, the heat factor is high in this one!
Michelle: There are on page descriptions of Hae having intercourse with a male in the beginning of the story. If that bothers you, you can skip ahead a couple of chapters and the remainder of sexual encounters are f/f. I don’t personally have an issue with f/m encounters in books, but in this instance, there was an appeasement quality to them that left me a tad uncomfortable.
Valden: What she said.
Michelle: This book had me at Ghost King and Rangers. If you’re into epic quests and looking for an original fantasy that is both spooky and steamy (what a killer combo!), this book will make your adventurous reader soul very happy.
Valden: I love those words Michelle. You’ve nailed the conclusion. The Rangers of Yeon has everything. The epic quest and the journey of Bae-Jin and Hae as mentor and mentee. The mythology, the adventure, the romance. What more could a girl want?
Excerpt from Rangers of Yeon by April Garrus
“So you really did leave, then.”
Bae-Jin turned and smiled, “The stories are true.”
She put a hand to her chin, looking at the stars.
“That’s a big question. The easy answer, I suppose, is that something piqued my curiosity. After that, Yeon wasn’t enough. And I never wanted to come back.”
“But now you are back.”
Something moved in Hae’s stomach.
“What more could you want? You get to serve your clan and live on your own skill. It’s one of the most fulfilling and prestigious jobs available to a clansman outside the head family.”
“And yet…” Bae-Jin opened her palms, freeing imaginary ashes to the wind. “Is that why you want to be a ranger? Prestige?”
“I lean more towards fulfillment.”
“So you’re an adventurous spirit?”
“I just don’t want to be a historian.”
Hae stood, steadying herself on the table. The older woman offered a hand. She pulled away. “I’m going to bed. It’s late.”
“It is. For me.”
“Sleep well, then. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Hae left, trekking across the dark field to the pair of tents that had been erected and designated for her and Jong. Her breath seemed loud in her ears, and she swore she felt the woman’s eyes on her back. Inside the tent, she removed her tools, aligning them on the floor. She opened her pack and did the same, taking inventory of everything she was meant to have.
Through it all she heard the soft birdsong of Bae-Jin’s voice. And as she went to sleep, she was followed by visions of her strong collar and squinting eyes.
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Bits and Bobs
- Publisher: Indie author
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