Rise Of The Ranger: Tropes and Grit Sans Heart


Book Review: Rise of the Ranger by Philip C. Quaintrell

I’m trying to set some quick thoughts down about this book, and I’m finding it nearly impossible. Mainly because I’m trying to remember the story. That’s not a good sign, I only read the book two weeks ago.

First Things First

Rise of the Ranger by Philip C. Quaintrell
Rise of the Ranger by
Philip C. Quaintrell

One thing I do recall is the way the young knight, a female by the way, is introduced in the book? Something in that introduction just screamed disposable character. She might as well have been wearing a red shirt. Because it was obvious, from her first appearance, that her sole purpose in the novel was to become a tragic loss at the end. Because her demise was imminent, telegraphed from the very beginning, it seems that the author paid no attention to developing a personality for this character whom we are supposed to miss. Too bad. It robbed the story of emotional impact because when she did meet her end the emotional reaction was rather, ok and done with that. And of all the characters, she was one that I would have liked to see developed.

As is the fashion with fantasy novels these days several storylines are woven together. The primary storyline is that of the Ranger. A secondary storyline is of an expedition of elves to dark uncivilized parts to find a dragon. The third storyline is another elven group on the quest to free a dragon from Hogwarts a magical school. About three-fourths of the way through the novel, storylines two and three converge.

And I just remembered, in story line number three, there was another female character who I swore from the very beginning, should have been wearing a red shirt. Again, this was a character whose sole purpose was to drive a male character forward with their death. I could have forgiven that trope once in a book. But twice?

Percolating behind all the current events of the novel are events which happened a millennia ago. The Great Evil, generic brand megalomaniac ACME 2000/A, was banished from this continent, essentially trapped.

And of course, the trap is wearing thin. It doesn’t seem like anybody can really build a permanent cage for these guys. And that pretty much goes right across the fantasy spectrum. Anyway, onwards, no use quibbling with one of the foundational tropes of the genre.

In addition, there are questions of diaspora, abandonment, slaughter of the innocent (which in a nice twist the innocent happened to be the dragons this time), near extinction, and the promise of future extinction for everyone if our various heroes can’t all get it together.

The Bottom Line

What it all boils down to is that our protagonists from these various enterprises must join forces in order to defeat the undefeatable, big bad, which is slowly corroding his way out of entombment.

One nice twist. I will give the author credit for is that near the end as you are expecting the big bogeyman to jump out of the shadows, you will discover that…

Do I really want to do that to you. Oh, well, I’m going to do it anyway. So, if you don’t want to read it, if you don’t want to read any spoilers, just skip the next paragraph.

So, at the end, when you’re expecting the big, bad bogeyman to jump out of the shadows, our intrepid team arrives at his prison and guess who isn’t there? That’s right. The big, bad boogie man is nowhere to be seen.

At the end of the book, we’re down a couple of gratuitous characters. With one interesting twist thrown in, which I haven’t mentioned. Although it too was telegraphed early. The usual messiness of prophecy, and some promised politics that could turn out to be interesting.

Where will it go from here? Who knows?

Am I going to read the rest of the series? Hand me a coin.

You can find Phillip C. Quaintrell on the web at https://www.philipcquaintrell.com/

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