Petrik's Reviews > The Ranger of Marzanna

The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron
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it was ok
bookshelves: arcs-and-review-copies

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, however, isn’t as likable as I hoped. I’ll keep this review briefer than usual; there were several factors that I enjoyed reading and parts that didn’t work for me in almost equal measure.

The Ranger of Marzanna follows the tale of two siblings that finds themselves fighting for a different side. Sonya is training to be a Ranger of Marzanna, and she’s fighting for Marzanna—her goddess of winter and death. Her brother Sebastian, on the other hand, is a powerful sorcerer fighting for the invading empire that Sonya hates. These two characters are probably the biggest reason why this book didn’t work for me. Not only they’re not likable, but I also found their motivations for their actions throughout the book aren’t too well fleshed out. Sonya—as someone who’s training to be a Ranger of Marzanna—tends to constantly switch between happy-go-lucky to an instant killing mode done based on being very emotional and ridiculously rash. The goddess she’s fighting for doesn’t seem to bring any joy but suffering for her devotee. Also, at the beginning of the book, Sonya and Sebastian had their father killed, Sebastian ends up joining the killer side. Why? Because the killer appreciates his talent for magic, and Sebastian was never close with his father anyway. This is such a stupid reason, even for a kid. These two main characters needed more exposition and characterizations for their actions to make sense. Plus, except Jorge and Galina, almost all of the characters were utterly difficult to care for.

“Every father longs to save their child from the suffering they themselves endured. And I won’t lie and tell you there won’t be suffering somewhere along this path. But there is always suffering. On any path. That is an unavoidable part of life, regardless of what you choose to do with it. Suffering is what makes us who we are.”


Admittedly, although the characters failed to compel me, they do have a distinctive voice from each other. This is a well-written book, and the contrast between each character’s POV—especially between Sonja and Sebastian—was well done. Skovron’s world-building felt atmospheric; The Ranger of Marzanna is a Russian-inspired fantasy, and the environmental description implement made me feel cold. It was as if I was there experiencing the whiteness of the scenery and the coldness of the weather. Also, check out this—probably—nod to Assassin’s Creed:

“Apparently one could survive a jump from sixty feet into a wagon filled with straw, but not without great cost.”


The Ranger of Marzanna is a good start to a trilogy, but I seriously have no idea how the content of this book will be able to stand out among countless amazing books in the genre right now. I truly believe that we’re living in the golden age of fantasy at the moment, and it will be challenging for The Ranger of Marzanna to earn its spot inside it; it’s a good read to pass the time, but in my opinion, there aren’t enough noteworthy features in this novel. Overall, I'm a bit disappointed with this one.

Official release date: 23rd April 2020 (UK) and 21st April 2020 (US)

You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Devin, Hamad, Joie, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas.
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Reading Progress

November 18, 2019 – Shelved
March 1, 2020 – Started Reading
March 2, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by David S (new) - added it

David S Meanderings) Good review Petrik! I am gonna read this in March most likely do its nice to know your thoughts beforehand


message 2: by Audrey (new) - added it

Audrey Great review Petrik I’m not very surprise by your rating , I always heard that’s he was an average writer. I never read hope and red too.


message 3: by Maja Ingrid (new) - added it

Maja Ingrid Great review, Petrik! I enjoyed Empire of Storms. While nothing standing out with it and still feeling YA even though it was labeled as "adult" it was a fun ride. Will still give this one a try :)


message 4: by Zitong (new)

Zitong Ren I've never heard of this book or author before, but it almost sounds interesting, though it is likely I will never get around to it. Great review as always!


message 5: by Kenzie (new) - added it

Kenzie The Dragon Queen A very good review! The ARC for this book was provided to me via NetGalley, and upon reading and reviewing it, I felt very similarly as you seem to.


Petrik David S wrote: "Good review Petrik! I am gonna read this in March most likely do its nice to know your thoughts beforehand"

Thanks, David! Best of luck to you. I hope it will work better for you!


Petrik Audrey wrote: "Great review Petrik I’m not very surprise by your rating , I always heard that’s he was an average writer. I never read hope and red too."

Thanks, Audrey! I actually heard many good things about his Empire of Storms series, i might give it a go one day! But this one is a miss for me.


Petrik Maja Ingrid wrote: "Great review, Petrik! I enjoyed Empire of Storms. While nothing standing out with it and still feeling YA even though it was labeled as "adult" it was a fun ride. Will still give this one a try :)"

Thank you, Maja! Yeahh that's what I've heard! I probably will give Empire of Storms a try in the future, despite what I feel about this one. I hope you'll love this one more than I did! :D


Petrik Zitong wrote: "I've never heard of this book or author before, but it almost sounds interesting, though it is likely I will never get around to it. Great review as always!"

Thank you, Zitong! Check out his Empire of Storms series, that one has garnered plenty of positive reviews! :)


Petrik Kenzie wrote: "A very good review! The ARC for this book was provided to me via NetGalley, and upon reading and reviewing it, I felt very similarly as you seem to."

Thank you, Kenzie! Argh it's such a shame, i really wanted to love this one. The cover art looked stunning and the premise sounded good, but the execution really didnt click with me. Oh gosh the character's decision and actions are so inexplicabaly dumb... xD


message 11: by Audrey (new) - added it

Audrey Petrik wrote: "Audrey wrote: "Great review Petrik I’m not very surprise by your rating , I always heard that’s he was an average writer. I never read hope and red too."

Thanks, Audrey! I actually heard many good..."


So I will wait you read hope and red before lol i considered to read it. Trust your judgment more


ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω Informative review. Sorry to hear this book fails to really stand out in the genre & the characters are kinda meh. This was one I was really excited about, but now I won't set my expectations too high when I read this. Hopefully the next book in the series will be stronger on all fronts :)


Petrik ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω wrote: "Informative review. Sorry to hear this book fails to really stand out in the genre & the characters are kinda meh. This was one I was really excited about, but now I won't set my expectations too h..."

Thanks, Lynn! It' unfortunate for me, but who knows, maybe you'll love it more than me! :)


message 14: by Travis (new)

Travis Great review, bummer about the mixed feelings but it happens


Petrik Travis wrote: "Great review, bummer about the mixed feelings but it happens"

Thanks, Travis! Yeahhh it's such a shame, but hey it happens sometimes! :D


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