Sonya is a free-spirit Ranger of Marzanna; sworn to the Goddess of Winter and death, she lives off the land and protects the people of the Empire from evil. It comes at a cost, though, one that Sonya is willing to pay.
Sebastian is a powerful magician who believes in order and wishes to join the Empirical Army, something his father would never allow. When soldiers murder his father for crimes against the Empire and take Sebastian and his mother into custody, he takes the opportunity to enlist in order to keep his family safe.
When Sonya discovers what has happened to her family, she decides it is time for the reign of the Empire to come to an end and attempts to unite allies and rebels who are part of a budding underground revolution into one army. The goal is to drive the Empirical Army out of her homeland and free the people.
As Sebastian hones his magical skills and becomes the Empirical Army’s greatest weapon, what will happen when the two meet on the battlefield? Who will win, and will each have the determination needed to kill the other in a face-to-face battle? How far will each sibling go to protect their own beliefs? The first book in The Goddess War Series seeks to answer those questions.
The Ranger of Marzanna is a story about imperialism and a people uniting against a dictatorship. That is the backdrop for a story that on the surface is a sibling rivalry: a powerful magician who has chosen to fight for the Empire, and his God-chosen sister who has decided to lead an uprising. They each take their own path, with the impetus being that eventually they are going to meet on the battlefield and will have to make tough decisions.
For me, this book has two big bright spots, the first being the cover. It is absolutely amazing, from the color scheme to the tone and the artwork itself, the publisher killed it. There is so much intrigue wrapped into it that I would have probably purchased a copy myself had I walked by it on a shelf in a store, knowing nothing about the book itself. That is a huge compliment, as I am not often that impulsive.
The second part of the book that I really enjoyed was Sonya’s character. She is a total badass, living life her way and making her own rules. Sonya eats what she wants, sleeps where she wants, beds who she wants. She is a Ranger of Marzanna (the only one left after they were eradicated during the war, as far as we know), and her skills are unsurpassed. A good portion of this book is Sonya going around the Empire kicking asses and not apologizing for it. Sonya carries this book, and I really enjoyed her journey.
There were parts of the plot that did not connect so much with me. Sebastian’s story felt rushed to me, and with him being the second main piece that was half the book that I did not really get into. In fact, there were a lot of pieces of the book that, in my opinion, were kind of skimmed over and not developed as much as I would have liked. There was so much more to explore, and I think the story would have benefitted from going in-depth on some topics. Sebastian is the only magician or wizard in the story. Why? There must be a reason. The Goddess of Winter and Death makes an appearance, but what of the other Gods? Or is there only the one? I think there is a possibility this is looked at more closely in Book 2 of the Series, but I think adding a little explanation into this book would have created more anticipation for that part of the story that is to come. I look forward to reading the second book in the series, and hopefully having some of these questions answered.
Overall, I found the Ranger of Marzanna to be a decent read with a few major flaws that took me out of the story too often. If you are into badass female leads, I recommend this book to you, as Sonya makes it all worth it.