Title: Rangers of Yeon
Author: April Garrus
Publisher: God-Empress Media
Publication Date: August 24, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Well now, if this wasn’t an unexpected surprise! I already knew April Garrus could write strong characters, compelling sci-fi, and sexy erotica, so it’s almost unfair that they can pull off novella-length fantasy as well.
Rangers of Yeon seems like a simple story at first, a standard high fantasy quest with two young woman seeking to make a name for themselves outside the rigid structure of their clans, but then we get deep into the mountains and suddenly we find ourselves in sword-and-sorcery territory, complete with monsters, immortals, and forbidden magic. Along the way, this wonderful relationship between two women slowly evolves from that of mentor/apprentice to something more akin to friends or partners . . . before, ultimately, becoming a romance between lovers.
The way Garrus structures the story is half of the charm here, lulling us into a false sense of complacency and seducing us into thinking romance is the only thing we’re chasing. When it switches deep within that mountain, with the fiery gate ahead of Hae and Bae-Jin, it’s as disorienting for us as the characters, and when it switches again with the discovery of who is fighting (and, more importunately, for how long) it suddenly becomes something epic and significant. This is the kind of solid, action-packed, thrilling fantasy that fans of the genre will appreciate, with the romance between the two rangers rounding out the physical journey even while it drives the emotional one.
That brings me to the other half of the charm, the personalities of Hae and Bae-Jin. Nothing between them is simple or straightforward. They have different goals and motivations, different personalities, and very different experiences with life. That journey from strangers to lovers, especially once tragedy strikes in the mountains and their roles become reversed in so many ways, is beautifully done.
Rangers of Yeon was far more than I expected it to be, and all of it wonderful.
Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀
My sincere thanks to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.