TITLE: A Ranger’s Tale
AUTHOR: Mysti Parker
PUBLISHER: Melange Books, LLC
MAIN GENRE: Paranormal * Fantasy
SECONDARY GENRE: Romance * Adventure
TERTIARY GENRE: Fairy/Fae * Magic
LENGTH: 187 pages
HEAT LEVEL: Boiling
OTHER: M/F * Multiple Partners
ROSE RATING: 4 Roses
REVIEWED BY: Anya
Once upon a time an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done...
In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, the high elf, Caliphany Aranea, nearly a century old, has never been allowed to travel farther than a few miles out of the capital city of Leogard. Her father, Sirius, leads the Mage Academy, and after losing his only son, he expects Caliphany to take his place one day. The trouble is, she doesn't want to study magic and doubts she'll ever be as good a wizard as her father. She dreams of leaving Leogard to explore the world and strike out on her own--lofty goals for Sirius' daughter, who also happens to be King Leopold's niece.
When two brutes at Leogard Harbor attempt to kidnap her while she dreams of faraway lands, half-elf ship captain and ranger, Galadin Trudeaux, comes to her rescue. From their first chance encounter, to the finale, where Caliphany must decide where her heart truly lies, she and Galadin will face more adventure, more love, more heartache, than they ever thought possible. Through it all, they discover the power of forgiveness and of a love that stands the test of time.
And they lived happily ever after…It’s what everyone expects from a fairy tale. But what happens before THE END? The journey there is what makes the story truly exciting.
As the only remaining heir of Sirius Aranea, one of the last great wizards in Leogard, Caliphany is expected to fill her father’s shoes and become a powerful mage. But Caliphany wants more out of life than useless magic and boring scenery. She wants to see the world and the amazing creatures in it. Unfortunately, her father doesn’t share her enthusiasm. The loss of her older brother many years ago has changed her once loving, doting parent into a cold, cruel man. His determination to mold her into his wishes borders on abuse. While her mother tends to disagree with his behavior, she isn’t bold enough to stand up to him, leaving Caliphany to suffer his unmerciful wrath.
But Caliphany isn’t one to just let others tell her what to do. She’s always been what some might consider a difficult child—having her own ideas, speaking her mind, and other things that normal, well-behaved elven noblewomen didn’t do. A chance meeting opens a doorway to an escape out of her situation, and the possibility to experience life as she so desires.
Galadin had everything he once loved ripped from him by the cruelty of pirates. He spent years as nothing more than a slave to the ones who destroyed his life. He learned how to steal and pillage, but he never could accept the killing of innocents. When his captor/mentor invaded a place he once called dear, he decides to leave the carnage behind and change his life. As a mercenary, he trades goods and devotes his life to making up for all the wrongs he’s committed. So when a high elf comes and asks for his help, he feels obligated to assist. Of course, the fact that she’s beautiful and has a handful of gold to offer him helps make his decision a little easier. What he never anticipated is the feelings Caliphany evokes in him. Falling in love was never in his plans.
A Ranger’s Tale is a wonderfully realistic version of the journey of life and love. Despite the characters being fae and a world filled with magic and other non-human beings, the trials and tribulations they go through are easy to relate to. Both characters experience some major emotional and developmental changes. They recognize their own flaws and strengths and slowly grow as individuals. The plot subjects both Caliphany and Galadin to painful life lessons, but it only makes their character development that much stronger.
The tale is written in first person, but the viewpoint changes from chapter to chapter. I’ve never read a story like this and it took a little time to get my bearings. Ms. Parker does a good job of keeping things straight. She clearly specifies whose point of view you’re in at the beginning of each change, typically at the start of a new chapter. If I ever got confused on whose point of view I was in, I’d just go back to the chapter beginning and reorient myself.
I do want to caution the reader on some of the plot changes. There are things that occur that most readers might shy away from. However, that being said, it’s worth sticking with the story until the end. There were points when I felt like it had all just gone downhill, but I can honestly say, it all works out as it should. Despite the bumpy road there, the characters reach a happy ending that’s both acceptable and satisfying.
If you like a story that’s nonconventional, one that doesn’t follow all the rules, then you’re bound to love A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker. Get ready to take a deeply moving trip through the turbulent lives of Caliphany, Galigan, and the people closest in their lives. It one destination that definitely provides a satisfying ride.
North Leogard, the Aranea Estate, 15 Xaviel, LV 259 (The 259th year of King Leopold Vaeloria’s reign)
Fresh hay tickles Caliphany’s nose, and she stifles a sneeze. Hide-and-seek is her favorite game, except Aelendyl is allergic to hay, and she knows it. Below the loft, he runs and calls for her. He starts to climb the ladder and breaks into a sneezing fit. Caliphany giggles and picks a ladybug off her pointed ear. She watches it crawl along her finger and catches her breath when it opens its wings and flies away.
“Come on, Caliphany, I know you’re up there!”
A spark of fire springs to life in Caliphany’s hand. She knows she shouldn’t, but Aelendyl’s been making her play Mage Academy for three hours. If he wants to see magic, she’ll show him magic. She crawls to the edge of the loft and peeks over. Aelendyl’s headed for the stable door. She flicks the flame down toward him, and it lands at his feet with a loud pop.
He screams, “I’m telling!” Then, he runs from the stable.
“No. Please!” Caliphany hurries down the ladder, but trips on the hem of her dress. She lands with a thud on the dirt floor. A spark flies from her hand when she lands, straight into the dry hay at the rear of the stable.
The fire spreads like a plague, and smoke fills the stable. Coughing, she hurries to the stalls, opens them, and shoos their three horses out. By the time she escapes, flames have engulfed the structure, and the heat has scorched her skin like a too-hot bath. Her mother, father, and Aelendyl come running from the manor.
Father’s voice booms, “Caliphany! What have you done?”
Mother rushes to her side. “Oh, my darling, are you hurt?”
“We were playing hide-and-seek. I just…I’m sorry!”
She looks at the little high elf boy. He trembles and rubs his nose on his sleeve. Her parents keep talking of their future marriage. She’d sooner marry a goat, but she never wanted to hurt him.
Father grabs her by the shoulder. “You could have killed Aelendyl, or our horses, or yourself. Stand back!”
The great wizard lifts his hands, chants a familiar spell, and the wind whips above the stable, spinning the fire into a cyclone. A dark gray cloud materializes, heavy laden with rain. One more chant, and the cloud releases its torrent over the inferno. A few minutes later, the burned-out shell of the stable smolders in front of them.
Aelendyl nods and bows to them. “I should go home now.”
When he leaves, father bends toward Caliphany. “Your behavior was inexcusable.” He yanks Caliphany up, tucks her under his arm, and heads for the manor. She screams and kicks.
Mother runs behind them. “Sirius, what are you doing?”
“We’ve coddled her too long, Ellawen. It’s time she learns her place before we lose another child.”
Inside the manor, he puts Caliphany down, grasps her arm, and drags her downstairs. He opens a storage room door. She wails and pulls against him, nearly knocking them both down. With one last burst of strength and a blast of wind from his wizard hands, Father hurls her into the small room, and shuts the door.
The wooden bar slams down, the sound of it sealing her fate. She runs to the door, pounds on it, tiptoes to peek out the window.
Father turns Mother around leads her up the stairs. “Stop crying. I won’t leave her in there forever.”
Caliphany turns, rubs her arms, slides down the door. Lamplight from the hallway makes flickering shadows in the room. Behind the crates, jars, bags, and stored furniture, she imagines ghosts lurking, hairy spiders, and unimaginable things with mouths watering at the thought of feasting on her flesh. She buries her face in her hands and cries, wishing she had never been born.
Be sure to stop by Ms. Parker's blog to find out more about her writing.