Book Review: Rise of the Ranger (The Echoes Saga, #1) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Book Review: Rise of the Ranger (The Echoes Saga, #1) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath

Rise of the Ranger by Philip C. Quaintrell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #1 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 538 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 5th May 2017 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)

Rise of the Ranger is a promising beginning to another classic fantasy series told with a modern voice.

The Echoes Saga by Philip C. Quaintrell has been sitting on my radar for more than two years now. My attention towards this novel initially appeared after I saw the gorgeous cover art of each book in the series by Chris McGrath. As far as I know, this is a series of nine books divided into three sub-series, and Rise of the Ranger is the beginning of it all. If you take a look at the average ratings for each book in The Echoes Saga on Goodreads and Amazon, you’ll see just how positive the reception is. Seriously, the last book in the series currently has a 4.78 average rating out of 1.2k ratings on Goodreads. That is INSANE. It’s also why I’m so curious why so few people in bookish social media talk about this series. Now that the series has been completed, with a prequel series in the works, I figure it’s the right time for me to check it out, and I’m glad I did.

Rise of the Ranger is the first out of nine books in The Echoes Saga by Philip C. Quaintrell. The story takes place in the land of Illian, where human has ruled for a thousand years by building on the ruins left by the elves. The elves are immortal and superior creatures. Physically, they’re stronger, faster, and connected to the magical realm. While the six kingdoms of man are fractured and unallied, the elves are rising. War is coming, and individuals and factions around the world will clash. As you can probably predict from the premise, Rise of the Ranger is Quaintrell’s take on a modern epic fantasy series while retaining everything good about classic fantasy. As I constantly said, I have a soft spot for classic fantasy books with a modern voice and the author’s own twist to them. A few examples of my favorites being The Faithful and the Fallen quartet by John Gwynne, The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding, and The Raveling trilogy by Alec Hutson. Rise of the Ranger is showing promises that I will love this series more and more as I make my way through it.

“Pain leads to anger, and anger never wins in combat. Only when pain feels like an old friend will you free yourself from the shackles that bind so many men.”

Do note that Rise of the Ranger does, however, take its time to be great. I hope future readers of this novel will be patient enough to read through the first 35% of the book. Believe me, it gets better and better. The beginning section can feel a bit rough here and there; it felt like Quaintrell needed some time to find the right footing for his epic fantasy series. In a similar way to Malice by John Gwynne, Quaintrell used almost the first half of the novel to focus on the character’s introduction and world-building carefully. I will admit that I did find the pacing in this section slightly too slow. Here’s the thing, my expectation is not without guilt. The cover art and premise of Rise of the Ranger have led me to think that this epic fantasy series will be heavily centered on Asher, and yes, Asher is indeed one of the main characters of the series. But I totally didn’t expect Rise of the Ranger would feature more than 8 main POV characters to follow. This, eventually, works in favor of the scope and narrative of the book. I’m damn sure it will be beneficial for the rest of the series as well.

From the get-go, I quickly took a liking to Asher and Galanor’s POV chapters, but I honestly wasn’t sure about all the other POV characters at first. However, as Quaintrell’s prose gets more accessible and well-polished as the book progresses, the characterizations for all the other characters and their interactions with each other definitely ended up winning me over. Seeing Asher’s continuous developing friendship with Nathaniel, Faylen, and Elaith was heartwarming. And I also loved reading the complex dynamic between Galanor and Gideon. Quaintrell used his POV characters effectively to tell the themes of duty, bravery, and friendship incredibly well. Plus, there’s also Alidyr, the villain in Rise of the Ranger. I don’t know about you, but I tend to find having a villain as one of the main POV characters compelling for the overall story. And having Alidyr as one of the POV characters heightened the tension for me.

“Pray that you never discover the true depths of duty. Men and elves alike are capable of great atrocities if they can do it in the name of another, be it gods or kings. Duty can give you courage and a sense of honour, but it can give you cause to act without thought.”

Speaking of intensity, I must say that I am so impressed by Quaintrell’s action scenes. Lately, especially in classic epic fantasy novels, it’s getting harder for me to discover authors who write vivid battle scenes that flow so easily. We have humans, elves, dragons, magic, and the Arakesh—one of the coolest groups of assassins I ever encountered in a fantasy series visually—fight each other, and I was utterly engrossed. I mean, just check out this passage:

“From the day you’re inducted, the order’s alchemist puts you on a regime of Nightseye elixir – one vial every day until you’re twenty-five. After that, you’re permanently affected. But the elixir was developed for elves. In humans, the potion only works if the user is in complete darkness.”
“That’s why the Arakesh use blindfolds…”
Nathaniel looked at the red cloth hanging from Asher’s belt. “When completely blinded, you can see, hear, taste, smell and feel everything. Your reactions are heightened as your senses tune you into the world in a way you can’t imagine. It becomes addictive though.”

So badass, right!? It felt like watching a group of Daredevil with swords in epic fantasy! And I won’t lie, despite a few rough starting points, I finished the final quarter of Rise of the Ranger in one sitting. I simply couldn’t put it down; the climax sequence was explosive, and it made me ridiculously excited to read the rest of the series. So yeah, overall, this was pretty good. My journey in The Echoes Saga has just begun, and if this is the weakest volume of the entire series, then I may have just found a new epic fantasy series to add to my favorite series of all-time list. I look forward to reading Empire of Dirt as soon as possible; quite likely within next month. I recommend this to the fans of classic epic fantasy told in a modern voice with Tolkienesque world-building and great action scenes.

You can order this book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Rise of the Ranger (The Echoes Saga, #1) by Philip C. Quaintrell

  1. Hi Petryk!
    I follow you on GoodReads and now I’m a subscriber to your channel and a follower of this blog. I loved your review. This book is a “must to read”. It’s on my TBR now.

    1. thank you so much for your support across my social media, Phelipe! I truly appreciate it, and I hope you’ll enjoy Rise of the Ranger! 🙂

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