Where Honesty Never Ends.
Note: This title was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Greetings! The Review Board here to give our thoughts on A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker. Before we get each reviewer’s take, let’s check out the blurb, courtesy of Amazon:
In the high elf city of Leogard, an elven noblewoman longs to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wants nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done… Caliphany Aranea, nearly a century old, leads an enviable life as high elf King Leopold’s niece and daughter of Sirius, Leogard’s most famous wizard. She is expected to follow in her father’s footsteps to lead the Mage Academy and to marry a man she doesn’t even like. Yet, she craves a taste of life outside the city walls.
As a young boy, half-elf Galadin Trudeaux witnessed his parents’ death at the hands of pirates. After being raised by those same murderers and forced to do their bidding, he escaped and now lives an honest life as a sea merchant and ranger.
When two brutes at Leogard Harbor attempt to kidnap Caliphany while she dreams of faraway lands, Galadin comes to her rescue. Impressed by his skills, she asks him to train her as a ranger. Though he is hesitant at first to train a woman of her class, Caliphany’s hefty sack of gold finally persuades him.
Unfortunately, her father is not amused, and the two must escape before Caliphany faces a forced marriage and Galadin faces a noose. From that moment on, to the finale, where Caliphany must decide where her heart truly lies, she and Galadin embark on a fateful journey that will change their lives forever. Can they survive the trials and tragedies ahead to find a love that stands the test of time?
First to give her thoughts, Wordsmith Andi.
A Ranger’s Tale is an enchanting read blending elements of fantasy, romance, and adventure. Told in alternating first person format, Parker brings us right into the characters’ mind, emotions, and motivations as they navigate a fully imagined world of high elfs, wood elfs, dark elfs, and Halflings, Trolls, and other fantastical beings. As a result Caliphany, Galadin, and Jayden come to vivid life on the pages and succeed in ensnaring the compassionate and understanding heart as their story unfolds.
Like most heroines of recent, Caliphany, high elf and niece to the king, begins the story somewhat lost as to her identity and place in life. Akin to her controlling, overbearing father, she is headstrong, determined to get her way, and her way doesn’t match her father’s goals for her. This puts her at extreme odds with her father, leading to her imprisonment and subsequent escape, fleeing into a series of questionable choices that serve as the vehicle for her development over the course of the story.
Galadin Trudeaux is only one of those questionable choices. A rogue, pirate and ranger, as well as being a handsome half wood-elf, Galadin embodies all the aspects of life foreign to high born royal Caliphany. As such, she is drawn to him, over and over, caught in an emotional flux between attraction and dislike. First he represents a source of knowledge as he trains her in the arts of weaponry and the hunt, and then, as their relationship progresses and she flees her father’s wrath, a route to physical freedom and safety aboard his sailing vessel.
Stubborn and as headstrong as Caliphany, Galadin struggles with his own inner demons from a past he is not proud of and constantly strives to make amends for. His attraction to the high elf battles with his guilt over his shadowed past, and as much as he battles against admitting and allowing a romantic connection between them to develop, Caliphany too wages war with her feelings for Galadin, her reasons for desiring him, and what it means to love someone like him.
Parker develops the romantic connection and relationship in what feels like an almost natural unfolding, setting the stage for imminent loss and further life changing events for Caliphany. I didn’t see this coming or the subsequent choices she has to make but Parker delivers with aplomb, weaving for us an unexpected love triangle that explores the painful choices we (as human or elf) often make out of misplaced sense of duty and honor, guilt and penance for it.
I enjoyed the fantasy element, which at times almost felt like a backdrop to this tumultuous romance while the story narrowed focus to Caliphany’s relationships with Galadin and Jayden. Fortunately, Parker doesn’t let the broader picture get lost in examination of the elements comprising it. Interwoven throughout are adventurous moments of battle and chase, the action serving to illuminate Caliphany’s physical realizations of self as her body gets stronger and she hones the skills Galadin has taught her, experimenting with combining her innate magical skills, bringing magic back to the battlefield after years of its restriction to practice only within the nation’s Academy.
I was pleasantly surprised by the sultry, sensual moments in Parker’s storytelling, as she paid homage to the carnal aspects of romantic entanglement. Parker gives us believable love scenes that deliver just enough elegant detail to spark illicit flame yet also gracefully, and respectfully, illuminates the often-muddled reasons for abandoning ourselves to sensuality in maintaining connection with self and others.
In reading this, it was clear that Mysti Parker writes with eloquent honesty, regardless of the character, highlighting both positive and negative aspects of behavioral and emotional motivation when making the choices that guide us down the path of life.
My only critique is that with such a lush, fully imagined world of fantasy creatures and mythical beings that the marital ceremonies might have been less human-culture derived in the exchanging of vows and rings. Adding an element of ritualistic meaning more mystical, perhaps exploring the elfen connection to their God, Omri and why two beings are called to one pair with one another, might have made this particular detail less human and more elfen.
I did note a few editing misses:
Page 69: If I’d have known he would do this to you… (bad syntax, if I had have known, should be If I had known)
Page 121: I’d never loved anyone so much, and I doubt (doubted) I would ever again.
Page 127: When I reached the village, I screamed, “Yura!” (Unnecessary quotation mark) “Bear attack,” I said as she, Keevo, and several onlookers ran toward me.
Page 193: I bit my lip and attempted a smile. “I won’t. Jayden is a good man. He’ll make a goodgood (repetition, formatting break in sentence) good husband.”
Page 245: “But my runes” (missing punctuation)
A Ranger’s Tale earns 8 out of 10 stars for me, and a passing interest in reading the remainder of the series.
I liked the opening; it was full of action and plonked the reader right into the story line. Caliphany, the young elfin heroine, has magical powers and is due to marry, but clearly doesn’t want to. So begins her struggle to break free of her planned destiny to become a mage, and train to be a Ranger instead. The story is set for Caliphany to embark on her journey to find love and fulfillment.
Although the setting and characters aren’t all that original, I was taken in by the lively narrative and the often vivid descriptions that helped me to visualize the fantastical elf city of Leogard and beyond.
Caliphany is a well defined character, spunky and often headstrong, she gets into a lot of trouble due to her fiery nature and her desire to forge out her own path in life. When she leaves her home to find adventure, she is set upon by brutes who try to kidnap her, this when she falls for the half elf, sea captain and Ranger, Galadin, who rescues her and takes her to train as a Ranger. But their romance isn’t easy. I won’t spoil the story by revealing too much, but suffice to say, they have to overcome a lot of bother before they eventually get it on. When they do, there is a bit of steamy sex to liven up the long passages of day-to-day training stuff that a lot of the book deals with.
The other two main characters, Galadin and Jayden, are also fairly well drawn out. Galadin is portrayed as sensitive as well as a fighter, which helps the reader to warm to him. I wasn’t too fond of Jayden; he came across as well, just plain boring. He loves Caliphany, but not with the same fire and rawness as Galadin.
Most of the actual conflict or drama is internal as Caliphany has to make crucial decisions about her life and whom she should end up with. Her romance with Galadin is by no means clear-cut and it is their ‘will they won’t they’ relationship that is at the core of the story. I would have liked a little more of a gritty plot line perhaps, but it is a romance so I guess that is what the story is really about.
I wasn’t too sure about the multiple viewpoints though. It is a style quite difficult to get right, and I think the author doesn’t quite make it work for me. It was somewhat jarring on occasions, this shifting back and forth between places and action. I didn’t really see the need to do this, as although written in the first person, the narratives were a little detached. All three ‘voices’ Caliphany, Galadin, and Jayden, weren’t strong enough to set them apart individually.
On the whole, the story and the character’s responses to what happens to them are convincing, except for what Caliphany decides to do after the shipwrecking with Jayden. It didn’t seem to go along with how she had been portrayed previously. However, I see why the author chose to make Caliphany do this, since it further accentuates the position the heroine has in her world and her true feelings for Galadin.
It is a tale of war, life choices, struggles for freedom and ultimately love and forgiveness. All set in an imaginary world filled with the usual fantasy creatures. For me, that is what let the story down – lack of originality in characters and plot. However, it is such a well-written book with very engaging central characters, Caliphany, and her love, Galadin that I decided to forgive Mysti and for the most part, I enjoyed reading the book.
Vision Verdict: 6 out of 10 TRB Stars
I have a few niggles about originality and character motivations, but nothing that prevented me from getting embroiled in the conflict. Maybe a little editing to get rid of a few of the longer descriptions, especially when Caliphany is in training, would crisp up the narrative and make it more exciting and dramatic. I think that it is a great read and should entertain anyone who enjoys fantasy romance that is written well.
Caliphany Aranea (niece of the King Leopold Vaeloria of the Leogard Kingdom), Jayden Ravenwing (lead scout of the L.I.O. for the Leogard Kingdom), and Galadin Trudeaux (son of a merchant father and an elf mother in the Southern Sea) are the main characters in Mysti Parker’s 313 page read, “A Ranger’s Tale.” The story is told from their points of view as the story progresses, which is an intriguing approach from Mrs. Parker. RISKY (due to keeping track of 3 in depth personalities), but intriguing.
Callphinay is the niece of King Leopold who yearns for more in her life than just being something that her father wants her to be in regards to his “perfect image.” A chance (and unexpected) meeting of a young man named Galadin Trudeaux would send her life into a tumultuous whirlwind where each decision she makes will either help or harm not only the lives around her, but her very own life.
This story has several familiar elements throughout:
Final Fantasy IX (for time setting purposes, as well as the cast of colorful character reminiscent of those in the story),
Star Wars (for certain story elements, not the futuristic aspect), and
Coming to America (specifically, Calliphany’s parents)
There is great detail in the description of the surroundings, environmental changes, characters’ presence, appearances, mannerisms, and personalities. I actually felt the air during the changes in the seasons, the emotions on the faces of everyone in the book, the vivid colors of what the characters saw during their travels.
Even with some of the characters, you can tell for whom you felt sympathy, those who are humorous, the advice givers, and those who make your ass itch (ARVEN).
I know that there is a cream for that, and No: I need no cream, thank you!
While reading the pages in certain situations, I asked myself CONSTANTLY, “HOW LONG UNTIL THIS OR THAT HAPPENS?!!” Mrs. Parker did an EXCELLENT Job in keeping the pages turning as far as build up to those scenarios.
Mrs. Mysti Parker did an AMAZING JOB with the introduction and utilization of the Minor Characters, which is one of my BIGGEST GRIPES in stories. If the Minor Character(s) are used properly, they can move the story in ways ANY excellent writer would be proud. Mrs. Parker did the utilization of these characters a Great Service!
As always, an extra pair of eyes is needed during the proofreading and editing process (my colleagues picked up on a few more errors than I, and they are AMAZING for picking up on what I have missed):
–All right (everything is correct) v. alright (confirmation). All right is used in this spelling and context several times.
-A missed opportunity on pg. 124: “The bear are starving, since the plunderers kill off their prey,” where it should be “The bears are starving, since the plunderers kill (or killed for past tense purposes) off their prey.”
–Page 193, paragraph 3 is offset, possibly a slip in hitting the “ENTER” button prematurely, as well as the word “good” used three times:
“I bit my lip and attempted a smile. ‘I won’t. Jayden is a good man. He’ll make a goodgood good husband.’”
Mysti Parker’s “A Ranger’s Tale” is a Renaissance lover’s dream! I love stories about kings, noblemen and noblewomen, mages, wizards, and the like as well as things related to the era. I love them more when a talented writer with an incredible imagination can turn it into a work of art.
Well Done, Mrs. Parker: I am DAMN PROUD to place “A Ranger’s Tale” on my “Good List” of books!
Overall, A Ranger’s Tale scores 7.83, rounded up to 8 TRB Stars.
Thanks for stopping by The Review Board. Feel free to like, share, and subscribe. Have a fantastic day!