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The Ranger of Marzanna

(The Goddess War #1)

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  120 reviews
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 Russian inspired epic fantasy from Jon Skovron.

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 t
Paperback, 528 pages
Published April 21st 2020 by Orbit
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Ashley (BooksViaAshley) Depends on how much you wash it.

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Start your review of The Ranger of Marzanna (The Goddess War, #1)
ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

2.5/5 stars

Atmospheric, slow-paced, and well-written, but I have mixed feelings.

I haven’t read the series, but I’ve heard many great things about Jon Skovron’s Empire of Storms trilogy. When I saw that Skovron’s newest book, The Ranger of Marzanna, is a Russian inspired fantasy that has Magali Villleneuve as the cover artist—look at that cover art, it’s stunning—I immediately put this book on my radar. The result of the content
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much to Orbit Books via NetGalley for the e-ARC of The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron. The book was provided in exchange for an honest review and all opinions are my own.

I was looking for some awesome new fantasy books to review this spring and summer and couldn't resist this title based off of my favorite thing ever...horses on the cover. An other-worldly looking woman on a gorgeous horse, plus a description based off Russian and Polish legends did it for me. I also love sibling
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.


* GORGEOUS cover!
* Sibling rivalries!
* Magic… but at a price
* traitorous lovers

Full review

I had a few frustrations with The Ranger of Marzanna. There were many things I ought to have enjoyed more than I did - I love the idea of magic coming at a price of your own humanity, for example. Unfortunately, I struggled to connect with the characters and found the prose to be mediocre at best. The dialogue in particular tended
Traveling Cloak
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it

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 en
Rating: 3.5 stars

The Ranger of Marzanna is the first in The Goddess War series by Jon Skovron. This is a character driven epic fantasy with heavy Slavic influences. The story focuses on a pair of siblings that end up on separate paths after their father is murdered by Imperial soldiers.

The nation of Izmoroz has been conquered by the Aureumian Empire for many years. Sonya Turgenev Portinari - a Ranger and devotee of Marazanna, the goddess of winter and death - has vowed to remove the Empire's inf
Holly (The GrimDragon)
"As their carriage rattled down the road, the snowfields slipped past the barred windows, gleaming luminous in the moonlight. Mounted imperial soldiers surrounded the carriage, riding in perfect formation. Again Sebastian could not help feeling awe at their precision. His father had often spoken of the ruthless efficiency of imperial soldiers, but had neglected to mention their almost serene discipline. Every one of them seemed to know exactly what to do at all times. Sebastian envied them that ...more
Jason Aycock
Mar 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
When The Ranger of Marzanna arrived in the mail I was thrilled. Orbit had sent me an ARC, one of the first I’ve ever received unasked for, and it was gorgeous! Just opening up the package and seeing that beautiful cover illustrated by Magali Villeneuve and designed by Lisa Marie Pompilio took my breath away. Then I flipped it over to read the blurb on the back…(see Goodreads blurb)...

Imperial intrigue
Sibling rivalry
Tundra setting in winter

It’s safe to say after seeing the cov
Kenzie The Dragon Queen

First of all I would like to thank the publisher, author, and NetGalley for so graciously providing me with a free digital advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

I'll start this review off with stating that I didn't finish this book. I wasn't enjoying my reading experience, and I wasn't able to force myself through the process of finishing this book either. I thought it would be more important and professional to submit my review to NetGalley before my three months to read
Elizabeth Dragina

I got like 15% through this book . . .

I would have continued or tried harder to give it a chance, but I am reading so many ARC's right now and I just don't have the time. :P


- The world building was amazing. 😍
- The MC's were enjoyable.
- The foreshadowing and tension within the beginning. *sings* BEAUTIFUL.
- The culture!!!!!


- Content (which I'll get to in a minute)
- Lack of explanation behind the MC's father's death?? Like ... bas
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

Siblings can be a pain. Whether it’s the inability of the youngest ones to understand the lessons passed down by their elders or the refusal of the oldest ones to allow their little brothers and sisters a chance to forge their own identity through trial and error, there’s nothing easy in this bond tied by blood. While some continue to love each other despite the omnipresent hate, others let go and move on without second thoughts. Having debuted
Sheila Goicea
I received an ARC of this book from Orbit Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.


All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

Content Warning: Profanity, Death, War, Adult sexual content, Gore

Hunters might strike with efficiency, thereby sparing their prey undo pain and suffering, but creatures of the wild did not take into account such things. And certainly Lady Marzanna, Godd
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy, arcs
This book was... Okay. I wanted to love it, I wanted the contents to match the beautiful cover, and to prove the other reviewers wrong. And while there was lots to enjoy - the worldbuilding, the relationships between characters, the magic - the writing just felt very... juvenile to me. It read more like a debut, which I know this is not. However, like I said, there were aspects I enjoyed, and I enjoyed them enough to want more, and to want to read the sequel when it's released next year. Hopeful ...more
Review for The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron

Thank you so much to Orbit for sending me a copy of this to read and review! All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warnings (TW): For a lot of violence/murder scenes. Stay safe, friends!

“ 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 Russian inspired epic fantasy from Jon Skovron.

Sonya is training to be a Rang
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
With complex characters, a unique setting, an intriguing mythology, and an even more complex morality, The Ranger of Marzanna is one of those books that managed to exceed even my high expectations.

This is the story of two siblings, two families, two empires, and two armies – a gripping tale of conflicting loyalties told in chilling shades of grey. Sonya and Sebastian are Portinaris, children of an Aureumian father and an Izmorozian father, caught between the conquering Empire and the country it
May 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-adult

Thank you to Angela Man and Orbit books for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book is available now.

Before getting into my thoughts on the book itself, I have to mention the gorgeous cover. Before even reading the blurb, I was interested in this book, based on the amazing artwork. The blurb made me want to read it all the more.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. The idea was a great one: two siblings who find themselves on opposite sides of a war, told from
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was really excellent! Can't wait for more!

I docked a star because I feel like there could have been a bit more emotion and connection to the characters. That was lacking. But the story and world building were excellent!
Joanna Bennett
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

You know what I dislike? When a book that has an amazing cover is a letdown. Sure, there are things that I liked about this one but the bad reasons overshadowed them for me.

This book is split into many point-of-views. There are times that I quite enjoy this because it gives us a glimpse into other plot points or the means to them but for this one I could care less about a couple of the point-of-views we got.

My bigge
Marie -The Reading Otter

I received this book from NetGalley for review.

I really enjoyed the setting and the plot, based on Russian folklore. I liked the dynamic of siblings on opposite sides of the same war. I like that the brother seems to not really know at that he is being manipulated, that his decision isn't because he's "evil", but because he's told what he's doing is for the good of the people.

Sonya's path is to serve a goddess and along the way, she starts to lose some of her humanity. Where her brot
Calvin Park
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
The Ranger of Marzanna was a highly anticipated read for me. The back-of-the-book blurb, referencing ancient sects of warriors, siblings on opposite sides of a conflict, and powerful sorcerers, is basically everything that could get me excited. Couple this with a Russia-inspired setting, and it has all the ingredients for a book that I’m highly likely to enjoy. Unfortunately, in the end, those elements didn’t come together for me.

Even in a novel that didn’t end up working for me in the end, the
Georgi Nikolaev
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This is spoiler free:

I liked the pacing. It is maybe the best part of this book. Because it is so good the book reads unexpectedly fast and is actually quite entertaining.

I did not like the blatant use of Russian words and names. Particularly the names. Most of them seems really lazily chosen. If the author wanted to give the book a Russian or Slavic sounding, ok, but please do not use historical names completely out of context. It really breaks the immersion (Zhukov is a general from the Grea
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5* Russian folklore inspired fantasy. Ive read Skovrons previous trilogy and it was fun without being oringal. It did have a YAish feel to the writing and I felt although this was a little darker the writing still had the same feel.

Overall the world building was great. Cold bleak landscapes with a solid magic system which wasnt overly complicated. My issues were really in the plot and characters.

Plotwise it was too simple plus limited. Really not alot occurs. I wouldn't go as far to say its a
Jun 02, 2020 rated it liked it
More like a 2.5 out of 5.

I was pretty jazzed about The Ranger of Marzanna - I loved Skovron's Empire of Storms and loved the idea of this one's connection to Polish folklore. I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed with this (especially since I bought a copy). While the world building was cool I struggled to be invested in the characters, especially Sonya and her brother, Sebastian, both of whom are on the opposite sides of an impending war. Which is ironic since these two are so similar
DNF @ 10% in.

This was an ARC I had gotten from the publisher.

I didn't finish this book. I think the problem I had was that the characters are very, VERY modern. Which didn't really make sense since it was a fantasy-esque setting. Not only that, it had a very juvenile way of storytelling.

I had tried reading a book by this author a few years ago and I thought that with a change of location and or plot themes this would be a better fit. Now I know that I truly cannot connect with this author's work
Jan 11, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm so excited for this!!!!

I hope I like it as much as Hope & Red! :D
Jessie Sedai of the Black Ajah🥀🐍
Review to come.

Sooooo good!!
Melissa Mitchell
“‘There are many ways to conquer a people,’ said Yuri. ‘You can force them to submit by the sword, but that will only get you so far. To truly conquer them, you must make them forget who they are. Little by little, they chip away at what it means to be Izmorozian.’”

This immersive epic fantasy will leave you questioning your allegiance. It will have you rooting for two siblings on opposite sides of a war. Sonya and Sebastian are two very different siblings on different paths. Sonya is one of the
Beth Cato
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, fantasy, netgalley
I received an advance copy of the book from NetGalley.

The Ranger of Marzanna is a Russian-inspired epic fantasy that pitches two gifted siblings against each other, with the fate of an empire on the line. Sonya is the title character, the Ranger. Her strong connection to the Death goddess gives her incredible sensory skills, plus the opportunity to make some pretty dark bargains. The empire thought they killed all Rangers a generation before, but now Sonya is back to deliver vengeance. Then ther
J. D. Roberts
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
For more reviews check out our blog

I received an ARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. Views are my own and are not influenced.

I have Jon Skovron’s Empire of Storms series on my TBR, which I haven’t got to you. So, when I saw Ranger of Marzanna on NetGalley I was excited to read it… especially because of that cover. Isn’t it stunning? The cover is also a great example of the atmosphere you can expect to envision when reading this book.

Ranger of
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an arc of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
The first half of this book I thought that this was a standard 2.5-3 star book. The storyline wasn't particularly unique and I didn't feel that invested in the characters. However I found myself really enjoying and connecting more with the characters in the last half. The stakes were raised and there was more action. At first I didn't actually like Sonya much, she was strong-willed and badass but I found her distanc
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Jon Skovron is the author of several Young Adult fantasy novels, including Misfit, Man Made Boy and This Broken Wondrous World. His first adult fantasy series, The Empire of Storms, began last June with the release of Hope and Red, published by Orbit Books. The Barnes and Noble SF&F blog said "Skovron’s briskly-paced story doesn’t skimp on the world-building—and thank goodness, because it’s quite ...more

Other books in the series

The Goddess War (2 books)
  • The Queen of Izmoroz  (The Goddess War, #2)

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