A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker

A Ranger's Tale (Tallenmere, #1)A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Ranger’s Tale is an enchanting read blending elements of fantasy, romance, and adventure. Told in alternating first person format, Parker brings us right into the characters’ mind, emotions, and motivations as they navigate a fully imagined world of high elfs, wood elfs, dark elfs, and Halflings, Trolls, and other fantastical beings. As a result Caliphany, Galadin, and Jayden come to vivid life on the pages and succeed in ensnaring the compassionate and understanding heart as their story unfolds.
Like most heroines of recent, Caliphany, high elf and niece to the king, begins the story somewhat lost as to her identity and place in life. Akin to her controlling, overbearing father, she is headstrong, determined to get her way, and her way doesn’t match her father’s goals for her. This puts her at extreme odds with her father, leading to her imprisonment and subsequent escape, fleeing into a series of questionable choices that serve as the vehicle for her development over the course of the story.
Galadin Trudeaux is only one of those questionable choices. A rogue, pirate and ranger, as well as being a handsome half wood-elf, Galadin embodies all the aspects of life foreign to high born royal Caliphany. As such, she is drawn to him, over and over, caught in an emotional flux between attraction and dislike. First he represents a source of knowledge as he trains her in the arts of weaponry and the hunt, and then, as their relationship progresses and she flees her father’s wrath, a route to physical freedom and safety aboard his sailing vessel.
Stubborn and as headstrong as Caliphany, Galadin struggles with his own inner demons from a past he is not proud of and constantly strives to make amends for. His attraction to the high elf battles with his guilt over his shadowed past, and as much as he battles against admitting and allowing a romantic connection between them to develop, Caliphany too wages war with her feelings for Galadin, her reasons for desiring him, and what it means to love someone like him.
Parker develops the romantic connection and relationship in what feels like an almost natural unfolding, setting the stage for imminent loss and further life changing events for Caliphany. I didn’t see this coming or the subsequent choices she has to make but Parker delivers with aplomb, weaving for us an unexpected love triangle that explores the painful choices we (as human or elf) often make out of misplaced sense of duty and honor, guilt and penance for it.
I enjoyed the fantasy element, which at times almost felt like a backdrop to this tumultuous romance while the story narrowed focus to Caliphany’s relationships with Galadin and Jayden. Fortunately, Parker doesn’t let the broader picture get lost in examination of the elements comprising it. Interwoven throughout are adventurous moments of battle and chase, the action serving to illuminate Caliphany’s physical realizations of self as her body gets stronger and she hones the skills Galadin has taught her, experimenting with combining her innate magical skills, bringing magic back to the battlefield after years of its restriction to practice only within the nation’s Academy.
I was pleasantly surprised by the sultry, sensual moments in Parker’s storytelling, as she paid homage to the carnal aspects of romantic entanglement. Parker gives us believable love scenes that deliver just enough elegant detail to spark illicit flame yet also gracefully, and respectfully, illuminates the often-muddled reasons for abandoning ourselves to sensuality in maintaining connection with self and others.
In reading this, it was clear that Mysti Parker writes with eloquent honesty, regardless of the character, highlighting both positive and negative aspects of behavioral and emotional motivation when making the choices that guide us down the path of life.
My only critique is that with such a lush, fully imagined world of fantasy creatures and mythical beings that the marital ceremonies might have been less human-culture derived in the exchanging of vows and rings. Adding an element of ritualistic meaning more mystical, perhaps exploring the elfen connection to their God, Omri and why two beings are called to one pair with one another, might have made this particular detail less human and more elfen.
I did note a few editing misses:
Page 69: If I’d have known he would do this to you… (bad syntax, if I had have known, should be If I had known)
Page 121: I’d never loved anyone so much, and I doubt (doubted) I would ever again.
Page 127: When I reached the village, I screamed, “Yura!” (Unnecessary quotation mark) “Bear attack,” I said as she, Keevo, and several onlookers ran toward me.
Page 193: I bit my lip and attempted a smile. “I won’t. Jayden is a good man. He’ll make a goodgood (repetition, formatting break in sentence)
good husband.”
Page 245: “But my runes” (missing punctuation)

A Ranger’s Tale earns 4 out of 5 stars for me, and a passing interest in reading the remainder of the series.

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