Title: Ranger’s Oath (Fall of Radiance #1)
Author: Blake Arthur Peel
Published: February 28th, 2020 – Aethon Books
Format: Ebook – 305 pages
“But I also know that even when the sun sets, we’re never completely in the dark. We can make our own light, and help others become lights as well, and continue to do that until the sun rises again in the morning.” – Ranger’s Oath
Hello Hello! How are you today? I can’t believe it’s already nearly the weekend. A lot of people are saying that their days are going by so slowly, but I feel like time has sped up so much since lockdown!
Anyway, on to today’s post! A few months ago, I started talking with Victoria J. Price, I did an interview with her about relationships between authors and bloggers and we’ve kept in contact ever since. Victoria was kind enough to tell me about a Facebook group called YA Book Stop (YABS), where loads of authors post about their upcoming books in search of ARC readers, so I joined the group and I’ve been keeping my eyes open for something that I would like when this book popped up. The cover and the blurb totally drew me in, so I commented that I was interested and Blake was so kind to send me the book for review. There are some awesome books in the group and some lovely authors looking for us readers, so go check it out!
Thank you so much, Blake, for letting me read your book, I enjoyed this experience so much and I look forward to working with you again soon, you were so kind, top-notch author-blogger experience (wink wink to Victoria)! Keep reading this review to find out what I thought of Blake’s book.
The barrier between worlds is broken. Only he knows the truth…
Magic has protected Tarsynium for a thousand years, shielding its people from being ravaged by bloodthirsty demons. When a young ranger’s apprentice named Owyn Lund discovers that the Arc of Radiance has been breached, he tries to warn anybody who will listen.
But legends aren’t supposed to be real.
When a village is mysteriously destroyed, rangers, mages, and rebels all point the finger, blaming each other for the demons’ brutality. However, Zara Dennel, a mage’s ward, has heard Owyn’s tale—and she’s inclined to believe him.
Together, they must prove that friendship is greater than intolerance, unity is more important than division, and that even the most powerful magic can sometimes not be enough.
Failure means the end of all things. A second—and lasting—Doom.
Experience the beginning of a thrilling Epic Fantasy series suitable for all ages. It’s perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas, and Brandon Sanderson.
Ranger’s Oath is the first book in a new Epic Fantasy series written by Blake Arthur Peel. In book 1, we follow both Zara Dennell, an initiate mage, and Owyn Lund, a ranger’s apprentice as they both come together to try to work out what is happening in Tarsynium. Throughout the book, they learn to respect each other, becoming friends when once they would have been enemies, putting their differences behind them to be able to help their people, protect their lands and destroy the evil that has appeared in their lives.
I was so excited to read this book, and I can honestly say that I was not disappointed one bit. This book was so easy to read but had all the detail and elements you would want from a fantasy novel, it was fast-paced, with great characters, but it wasn’t info-dumpy or clunky in the least.
We first meet Owyn while he is out on a hunting trip with his master apprentice Elias. This is the first we see of the woods, or more generally the “countryside”/wilderness of the Emberwood where these two rangers are stationed to protect the kingdom. I really liked having the story start off in the country, it directly puts you in this wild setting, and it really gave me Robin Hood vibes!
We then meet Zara in the next chapter, in the city of Tarsys, where the Circle (the Mages) look after the Arc of Radiance, a protection spell to keep demons out of Tarsynium. We only get to see the city for the duration of Zara’s first chapter, but I really enjoyed this setting too, it was very realistic and it felt a bit futuristic too, I can totally imagine some place like this existing one day.
I loved how the rest of the book was set in the Emberwood and the different characters travelled to different places like Forest Hill and Haven, Dagger’s Point and into the forest, it was really well developed and I really felt that I was there with them.
I really do like books set in the wilderness, where characters have to survive thanks to their wits alone, and I adored how this was giving me medieval vibes at the same time as being very modern. I loved all the detail we got from the environment around the characters and I’m looking forward to reading book 2 where I hope we are going to get a bit more of a city setting at times, although I do love having this story entirely set in the Emberwood.
There were so many great characters in this book, but I’m only going to talk about the 3 characters that I consider to be the main characters of this story.
Owyn: He is the first character we meet, and right from the start I liked him. He is a very solid character, he is determined to protect the kingdom and become a great ranger like his father. He looks up to Elias and follows his orders, but he also is determined to follow his heart when it leads him towards something that no one has heard of for the past century and that everyone thinks is merely a children’s story. Owyn came across as a very kind-hearted, caring, dutiful character and I loved reading about his exploits with Elias, but also how he and Zara came together to fight off what was threatening their country. We don’t learn much about his past, so I’m hoping to get a bit more insight in book 2, but I’m really looking forward to seeing him again.
Zara: She is an initiate mage, living in the city of Tarsys where the Circle of Mages look after the Arc of Radiance which is (supposedly) protecting the realm of Tarsynium. As soon as I met Zara, I likened her to Hermione Granger, she is very determined to become the best mage Tarsynium has ever known, she is hard-working, respectful and she knows what she wants. She hesitates before following Elva into the Emberwood, but she decided that she can’t pass up this incredible chance, however, she still feels like something is not quite right. I adored getting to know Zara, she is always on point and quick to test things that don’t seem right. She has a very strong personality and I loved seeing her relationship with Owyn develop, I’m looking forward to reading more about her in book 2 as her responsibilities are completely different now and I can’t wait to see what she will do next.
Elias: He is Owyn’s apprentice, and even though we don’t see much of him, except through Zara and Owyn’s perspectives, I think he is a really important character in the plot and I also think he will be very prominent in book 2. He also comes across as very dutiful and although he doesn’t say much, he is a bit of a gruff character and doesn’t show any emotion, I did really enjoy reading about him. I’m not going to say what, but something happens at the end of the book and I just really need to find out what, so I can’t wait to see how Elias ties into the story.
There were also a lot of mages in this story, but I didn’t want to include them, because although they are important (and frustrating), I think that these three are more so, and I enjoyed my time with them so much.
Mages/magecraft: I was really interested to see how the mage’s magic worked, it’s not like you would expect (Harry Potter wizard and witch magic), it’s a lot more elemental and it really made me think of more Celtic/druid witchcraft that we might see in some other fantasy books. The mages use source energy through a crystal tied around their necks to pull in their power and release in through magefyre by casting a spell. I was really enthralled by all of the magecraft in this book and it was fascinating reading Zara’s experiences when she used her source energy.
Rangers: I’ve already said that this made me think of Robin Hood, but it’s also a lot more than this. I really loved seeing how the rangers went about their daily lives, patrolling the Emberwood, hunting, following trails and searching for clues. It was really interesting and more so because I rarely read books such as this one. I love reading about more “medieval” lifestyles, and I suppose that the use of arrows, hatchets, short swords, and other weapons are quite ancient and it really helped to create this very mystical world.
Demons/creatures: We don’t get to see much of these demons/creatures until further into the book, but I have to say, they were spooky aha! I don’t want to give anything away, but I actually enjoyed this, that the enemies were demons, instead of another group of people, it made the storyline very unique and I’m so excited to find out what happens further on in the series.
Survival/battle: There are a lot of instances where Owyn, Elias, and Zara have to survive in the wilderness, sleeping on the group, riding by day, eating in the saddle, and it really helped to make this book really unique and interesting. But there is also a lot of instances of battles, if this is not your thing, I would steer clear of this book because it is quite vivid and graphic, but I don’t mind a bit of battle, so I really enjoyed this. It was fast-paced and I was reading the words as quickly as I could to find out what would be the outcome.
Blood/gore/death: Again, if you do not like blood, gore, or death, I would stay well away from this one because there are A LOT of these elements in this book. I have nothing against this, so it didn’t bother me in the least. You get to see a lot of death in this book, and it is quite graphic, but it really helped to set this book in more medieval times, going hand in hand with the mages’ and the rangers’ way of life.
Friendship: As the book advances, you get to see Zara and Owyn being kinder to one another. At the start they were clearly enemies, rangers and mages do not mix apparently, but I liked how as the story progressed, we got to see how they left behind their prejudices and their feelings and worked together to help each other. At the end, you know that they are friends and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series to see if this changes at all and where it will go if something happens between the two. I also feel like Elias offers Owyn a lot of friendship and wisdom, he is a big part of Owyn’s life and it was lovely to see him looking out for his young apprentice.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
This book was so different from what I was expecting, but I loved it so much. I knew that I would like this because I’ve not yet read a fantasy/epic fantasy that I did not enjoy, but Ranger’s Oath was so different and unique that I can’t help but gush about it. It really was a breath of fresh air. I feel that a lot of times, in fantasy, it is either much too info-dumpy, bogged down by so many details and so much information that it takes you all your time just to picture one sentence, but this book had detail, information, but it also had flow. That’s something I really like in a book, because I do usually read fast, but I absolutely flew through this book.
I also adored the characters and I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series to hopefully find out a little bit more about the characters’ past. I think we are going to get to know Elias a little more and I’m so glad because I think he is a really important part of the plot, but we don’t know too much about him just yet.
Overall, I adored this book and I had such a fun time reading it. I was invested in the story and the characters grabbed my attention and didn’t let it go till the last word (and by the way, the last chapter totally shocked me and now I need to know the rest of the story behind what happens in this chapter, but I won’t spoil you aha!)
I gave this book 4 stars because I am keeping my 5-star rating for book two. I think book one was an incredible start to the Fall of Radiance series, but I also want to know so much more. I had so much fun reading this book, it was a solid story with well-developed and relatable characters and I urge you to go read it. Also, the cover is just so beautiful (just in case you are a cover-buy type of person like me 😊).
Thank you so much to Blake for letting me read and review your book, I really liked working with you and I had such a great time reading your book. Thank you for sending it to me and I’m looking forward to reading all about your characters again!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this review, go read this book, it’s great. See you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – BLAKE ARTHUR PEEL
Blake Arthur Peel has been coming up with stories ever since he was a kid. He inflicted his scribblings on family members and friends throughout his youth, always drawing maps in the back of notebooks and daydreaming when he probably should have been paying attention. It wasn’t until he was out of college that he finally decided to get serious about pursuing his career as a fantasy author.
His favorite stories have always been about good conquering evil, about fantastic worlds and wondrous magic systems. The works that have most inspired him are The Lord of the Rings, The Dragonlance Chronicles, The Riftwar Saga, The Stormlight Archive, and The Wheel of Time, among many others. Blake was born and raised in Hemet, California. Nowadays, he lives in Tennessee with his wife and two sons.