DiscoverYoung Adult Fantasy

Rangers of the Rift

By

Loved it! 😍

A fast-paced YA paranormal fantasy that reads quite literally like you're watching a television series.

Synopsis

Born of blood. Tested by fire. Fueled by courage.

Emily Mars has one duty: ferry lost souls trapped in purgatory to whatever lies beyond. If that means falling behind at school, loving a boy she can't have, and watching friends go to college while she stays behind, then so be it.

Because being a Ranger also means that when all hell breaks loose―think demons and ghosts and everything creepy―it's her job to stop it.

But the shatter hits without warning, releasing fire and fiend. And with the shatter comes a curse and a kidnapping, and soon Emily must harness all her strength, risk everything she holds dear and break every oath, to save the boy she loves.

For fans of The Mortal Instruments, Ninth House, and Slayer comes an unputdownable YA contemporary fantasy, the first book in an epic, three-season series, about a world threatened by forgotten magic and a girl forged by dark power; her memories hold the key to not only her own survival, but the fate of all the living and the dead.

Young adult fantasy and I have a strange relationship. On the one hand, much of what I read and review is YA, and I enjoy them to bits. On the other hand, sometimes I spend too much time with young adults on a normal basis that I don't really need to have to deal with the YA tropes in fiction as well. Especially those romance tropes, goodness me the romance tropes...


And yet, here I am, drawn to YA like a Vagari to a human soul.


I will say that Rangers of the Rift fits in with the typical YA I would be reading and enjoying. I will also say that there were things in the collection of stories that did make me cringe; I mean, come on love triangles! Not to mention the fact that here's another female main character who disparages herself, thinks she's "plain Jane," yet there's at least two attractive boys she almost can't make her mind about. I do hate love triangles. And don't even get me started on Emily being a potential Chosen One and boy, do I have just a teeny issue with that.


BUT!


After each story, the characters grew on me, and I found myself utterly invested in the plot. That's saying something.


Rangers of the Rift: Season One plays out like a television series. I don't know if there's any plans on trying to make it one, but I'd watch the heck out of it if that's the case. The stories collected in Season One include four "episodes" and an extra preview with a fifth. Each episode builds up on the story of Emily Veronica Mars (hah, I see what you did there, River K. Scott!) as she solves several violent paranormal cases around town.


As an amateur/training Ranger, it is up to Emily to help ferry restless ghosts--or Waifs--from purgatory (or the Limen) to the afterlife. If Waifs get too restless, they have the potential of turning into Vagari, which is another way of saying "evil, evil spirit, nope nope nope!" As a Ranger, Emily cannot do the tracking and dispelling by herself. Along for the ride is her Sight, Tad Beasley, a formidable Seer who is tasked to work and protect his Ranger from the demons within the mortal realm.


The first episode, "Dying Ember, Olden Ash" gave little preamble to the worldbuilding and situation. As a reader, I was pretty much thrown into the middle of a place--which I hadn't realized was a small town in Florida until I re-read the blurb--during a conflict I knew little about. It was as though I was reading the middle of an already established world and characters, and while I did appreciate that the story started out running, I was thrown in for a loop. At least, up until the later episodes where mysteries begin to unravel.


I will admit that it took the third episode, "Dark Moon Rising," to really cement the stories for me. While I did understand the importance of the second episode, "Salt and Silver" to moving the plot forward, it was a very uncomfortable read, as it involved a situation that I more or less avoid in ANY fiction for trigger warning reasons. Moving past episode 2 took some time.


Funnily enough--and despite my general complaints of YA romance tropes--it's the third and fourth episodes, "Dark Moon Rising" and "Dagger at Dawnlight" that became my favorites, mostly for the character-driven story that the whole series became. Both episodes had me bingeing the rest of the book in true Netflix-worthy fashion (which was definitely the author's intent), and now I'm left wanting more.


I enjoyed the characters Emily interacts with in epis 3 and 4. I definitely freaked out a little bit when light was shed regarding Garrett and the whole Ranger business with the Limen. Good necromancy is hard to come by, you know (just ask any Abhorsen created by Garth Nix, they could tell you that).


I also loved that there were other narratives that were shown in the story; Tad and Garrett are absolute gems and we MUST PROTECT UNICORN TAD AT ALL COSTS.


Also, I think I am definitely partial to talking ravens.

Reviewed by

It goes without saying that reading is my jam and reviewing is a way for me to rant or rave about a book to anyone who will listen. I've been a steady book reviewer for the past several years on my blog, though I've kept a Goodreads account even longer than that.

Synopsis

Born of blood. Tested by fire. Fueled by courage.

Emily Mars has one duty: ferry lost souls trapped in purgatory to whatever lies beyond. If that means falling behind at school, loving a boy she can't have, and watching friends go to college while she stays behind, then so be it.

Because being a Ranger also means that when all hell breaks loose―think demons and ghosts and everything creepy―it's her job to stop it.

But the shatter hits without warning, releasing fire and fiend. And with the shatter comes a curse and a kidnapping, and soon Emily must harness all her strength, risk everything she holds dear and break every oath, to save the boy she loves.

For fans of The Mortal Instruments, Ninth House, and Slayer comes an unputdownable YA contemporary fantasy, the first book in an epic, three-season series, about a world threatened by forgotten magic and a girl forged by dark power; her memories hold the key to not only her own survival, but the fate of all the living and the dead.

Someone has died in these woods. Dread prickles between my shoulder blades.

“Not here. Don’t you dare.” Muttering to yourself makes you look crazy. But I’m not talking to myself. I wish I were.

I hang back as my family continues along the dry, pebbled streambed. The maple leaves are ablaze, the air chilly. This should be an exciting evening. Mom and Dad, everyone rooting for me. I should be able to breathe—not this sipping at the air, spooked by shadows.

Ahead, my family chatters; my sister sings and giggles.

“I’m here to run a race. That’s all. I’m just a girl this weekend.”

The prickling eases.

I sigh in relief, but my attention stays riveted to the ground as I continue slowly along the course. I’m watching for hazards: smooth river stone can twist an ankle; loose sandbank can cost precious seconds; snaking tree roots can take me out of the race altogether.

There it is. The tight curve where last nationals I gave up first place. Someone has removed the partially hidden log. I guess they don’t want another runner out for the season. My left Achilles twangs in reminder.

I squint through the trees into the dying sun. Leaves sift over the arid creek bed, whisper of another loss.

“Uphill, Em! Starts here!” My dad calls out from ahead where the track winds back into the forest. He toes the orange pin flag and pumps his fist into his open hand. His game face is flushed. He always gets embarrassingly enthusiastic about my track meets. And this is nationals. His adrenaline must be popping. Mine is. Just not for the same reason.

He gestures at the hill.

“Got it,” I yell back.

Coach calls this reconnaissance. Usually, I arrive a few hours early to walk the 5K track and get the lay of the land. For nationals, Dad drove us up two days in advance.

Of course, I know this track already. Walking it again only flings the doors open for more accidents. I told my parents that; they said I was being superstitious. But they don’t understand. As long as my mind doesn’t take over, my body knows what to do. It’s what I love most—the way all thought washes away in the heat of pumping blood, pounding feet, oxygen deeper than bone. Wind and earth. Knowing the track too well can make you rely on that knowledge. That’s when you’re in real danger from hazards you don’t know are lying in wait.


***


As we reach the forest I stay back once more. Yes, here’s the steep incline. The last hill to the finish.

Up ahead, Lillie’s and Mom’s conversation is muffled by trees. Alone, I inhale the sweet, woodsy softness of turned earth and try to feel optimistic. This is paradise compared to being home in Sand Dollar, swamped by the humid fishiness that pervades beachfront Florida. They don’t tell you that in travel brochures.

Come on, Em. You can conquer this track for good.

It’s my chance to overcome the fall that has haunted me every race since.

The forest is hushed. I peel a scab of paper bark from the trunk of a birch tree, close my eyes, and listen to the silence. It’s weird, but it’s almost like the forest is holding its breath. Almost as if it’s been waiting for my return...

No way. I told you, not now.

My eyes flash open and dart between trees, searching through the golden haze of sunset for that familiar watery outline. The first time I ever saw such a thing—against the blacktop of Interstate 95—I thought it was a heat mirage. I quickly learned better.

It’s here. The wind brushes my neck, chilly now. The right kind of chill for autumn, but not the kind I’m looking for.

“Em!” Dad’s disembodied voice comes from over the hill, probably from the lot where we parked. “Emily, you coming?”

Leave it to Dad to utter my name. That bond is strong as eternity. I can only hope it didn’t hear.

—Emily.—

Ah ha. So it did.

“That’s me.” I can’t hide the annoyance from my voice. This track meet is supposed to open college doors for me. It’s about me being stronger and faster than last time—and, honestly, a shoe-in for first if I don’t screw it up—and not about releasing some poor, stranded soul back into the beyond.

—Emily. You have to find her.—

Gorgeous. Just effing grand.

On top of everything else, now I have to find some chick, dead or alive, and I’ve got two days to do it.

That’s the thing about being a Ranger: the age-old cliché of unfinished business. And wind, rain, or national cross country meet, when a Ranger meets a Waif in the middle of the forest, she can’t just ignore him. There, by that tree: ghostly, ethereal silver, with the black, marble eyes of the eternally Lost.

Even if it’s not her sector.

Even if she’s been banned from running solo missions.

I grit my teeth. The words of my Praeses thump my conscience: Your job, Ranger, is to be ruthless. Save the Lost; expel what can’t be saved.

A year ago in a training exercise, I hesitated. Because the difference between good and evil? Not a whole heck of a lot. Sure, sometimes it’s cut and dry, but there’s always the possibility a Waif is still fighting the descent into darkness. Looks like Vagari, smells like it. But that soul is still holding on by the barest threads of their will. I’ve read the texts. There are outliers to the Order. You can’t just go destroy someone without taking the time to find out who they really are.

According to my Praeses, taking that time was exactly what got me benched. What, are you Anubis, now, weigher of souls? Is it your duty to judge, Ranger, or only to vanquish the darkness?

I know the answer.

But my Praeses is back in Sand Dollar...

“Ugh.” I’m not just a normal girl. I don’t get to just run a race. I have a duty. No matter how benched I am, I can’t leave him here, haunted and confused.

The Waif’s otherworldly outline gutters in the careless breeze. If I don’t help him, who will?

“All right,” I tell the anxious spirit. “I’ll find her. And then we’ll send you home.”

About the author

River K. Scott writes heroic SFF that inspires hope in readers to choose their own lives and make a difference in their community. Her books take readers across the megacosms of sci-fi and the imagined lands of YA urban fantasy, usually with a blush of romance. When not writing, she's rock climbing. view profile

Published on May 01, 2020

Published by

110000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Reviewed by

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