« 𝗗𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵 𝗵𝘂𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗿𝗲𝘀 𝗗𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗼 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴. 𝗧𝗼 𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗽 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗰𝘆𝗰𝗹𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗼𝗱𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗰𝗮𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗰𝗿𝘂𝗲𝗹𝘁𝘆 »
- Release : April 21st 2020
- Publishing house : Orbit
- Series : The Goddess War
- Number of pages : 454 + extras
- Illustrator : Magali Vileneuve
Sonya is the last Ranger of Marzanna, an ancient sect of warrios who have protected the land for generations.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.
Sonya Turgenev Portinari : Being a Ranger of Marzanna, her path is to free Izmoroz from the Imperials coming from the Aureum kingdom. 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.
“It was said that with each ‘gift’ of the Lady, a Ranger became less human, both in body and in mind.”
Sebastian Turgenev Portinari : As a child, he was told by his family to practise his magic but never let anyone see it because they knew the Empire would try to take advantage of it to consolidate their position. However, seeing his magic grow, Sebastian wants more, wants to show his power to do good things with it. When his father is killed by soldiers looking for him, he accepts their invitation, only because he is told that his magic will be of great use and because he was not that close to his father.
Her brother is completely different from her. While Sonya embodies what is left of her culture and has been fighting to drive the Imperials away, Sebastian embraces the Aureumians and becomes a captain. He is the one who experiences the most changes throughout the book. At first, he was just a nice, impressionable and concerned young man trying to find a purpose in life. But as the story goes on, he becomes more and more cruel and short-tempered. While he is portrayed as someone intelligent, he does not seem to know what to do, he just stands there and someone comes to help him by telling him what to do. Will he change during the next book ? Let’s see !
Galina Odoyevtseva Prozorova : I think she was one of the most interesting characters in the book. She is strong-willed, kind, clever, knowledgeable, dependable. As determined as her father in preserving Izmorozian culture, she has a key role in doing so.
At first, her connection with Sebastian was really great to see. Their alchemy was powerful and they made a great couple. But as Sebatian and Sonya’s loyalties became divided, so did Sebastian and Galina’s. I was definitely not expecting this turn of events ! Neither was she because she was planning of using him to get rid of the Empire by making him fight for them. Instead, she uses her connection with him to get information from him to help the rebellion and undermine the Empire’s influence.
The story takes place in an Empire ruled by the Aureumnians. Since then, the empire has been ruled with an iron fist. The Izmoroz were told to forget about their culture and to embrace the Aureum’s. But the Ranger of Marzanna have been trying to keep their culture alive to fighting off the invaders. With only a few remaining, it has become difficult for them to do so. On the north-east side lies the Uaine Empire, the only power left which could pose a threat to their great empire.
« Identity is never isolated. We are defined not only by our own thoughts and actions, but also by our relationship to the world around us »
Every Ranger worships The Lady of Marzanna, Goddess of Death and Winter. If a Ranger dies without fulfilling the Lady’s purpose, she will let you live again but she’ll strip you of your humanity by giving you a boon. Sonya embodies a fox, and so far, she can smell, hear, and see like a fox giving her an edge over her enemies.
Concerning the pace of the story, it was so-so. All along the book, I had the impression that parts of the book were removed because there was little background to everything. One moment, Sebastian is a lively and good man then he is hateful and violent. We don’t really know what’s happened to him except that the commander’s influence over him is too great. Overall, it felt a bit rushed. However, the author knows where to end a chapter and when to switch to another character.
On another note, the descriptions were really compelling. I could picture myself in the tundra, surrounded by forests, snow, ice and icy winds.
By and large, I’ve found it to be underwhelming. There are some good things here and there but not enough to counterbalance the downsides. I may buy the second book, The Queen of Izmoroz though, we’ll see !