Series: Tallenmere #1
Published by Melange Books on December 18, 2010
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
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In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done...
High elf Caliphany Aranea leads an enviable life as King Leopold's niece and daughter of Sirius, Leogard's most famous wizard. Yet, being forced to follow in her father's footsteps and being betrothed to a man she doesn't even like makes her want a taste of life outside the city walls.
As a young boy, half-elf Galadin Trudeaux witnessed his parents' death at the hands of pirates. After being raised by those same murderers and forced to do their bidding, he escaped and now lives an honest life as a sea merchant and ranger.
When two brutes at Leogard Harbor attempt to kidnap Caliphany while she dreams of faraway lands, Galadin comes to her rescue. Impressed by his skills, she asks him to train her as a ranger. Though he is hesitant at first to train a woman of her class, Caliphany's hefty sack of gold finally persuades him. Unfortunately, her father is not amused, and the two must escape before Caliphany faces a forced marriage and Galadin faces a noose.
From that moment on she and Galadin embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Only if they can survive the trials ahead, will they find a love that stands the test of time.
My review: A sprawling, emotional fantasy romance
A Ranger’s Tale is an emotionally charged story about a beautiful high elf in search of adventure and an ex-pirate sea merchant falling in love. Told from multiple perspectives, I experienced a flurry of emotions as I followed Lady Caliphany and Galidan on their adventures.
Caliphany is the King’s niece and a high elf who will do anything to escape the life her father has planned for her. As a mage in training, she is expected to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a wizard and wed another elf. While she can wield the power of fire, Cali wants to escape her gilded cage in search of adventure and independence.
One day, she is rescued by a half-elf and ranger called Galadin, who she pressures into training her how to fight. Unable to resist her charm, the Galadin succumbs and before long the two can’t hide their attraction to each other. As the two begin to learn about each other, we’re swept up in a sweeping romance between the two.
I thoroughly enjoyed the world of Tallenmere, a fantasy world full of high seas, elves, villages, goblins, magic and inns. The author has built an amazingly evocative world where we have the pleasure of experiencing the emotions of two strong, independent protagonists who go through some character developments and unresolved feelings. I loved Mysti’s follow through and the way she tied things together, from bringing up Jayden, Cali’s childhood love to Cali wanting to become a ranger later in life. Cali’s relationship with her parents was both touching and heartbreaking at times as they are experiencing difficult emotions themselves with having a rebellious daughter.
I took a star off for the corny “want to be with him/her” lines and the way they suddenly decided they loved each other but hey, it’s a romance so I guess that’s to be expected. I’ve seen worse where it’s completely unjustified and at least these two have gotten to know each other beforehand.
I didn’t expect to love this book like I did when I finished it, as there was a difficult moment in the middle when things didn’t seem to work out. With several unexpected twists and turns, I won’t spoil the surprise but it’s definitely a journey worth experiencing. The book features heaps of action, fantasy, romance and steamy bedroom scenes and I highly recommend it. Thanks Mysti for providing me with this review copy, in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 stars
Serenya’s Song (Tallenmere #2)
A broken-hearted secret agent finally meets the woman of his dreams, compatible to him in every way, until he discovers she may be the catalyst for an apocalypse. No one ever said love was easy…
Hearts in Exile (Tallenmere #3)
Ten years ago, Loralee Munroviel was sent against her will to a hidden island to be the next Dragon Keeper. A freak storm reunites her with the man she loves. As they discover the secrets that kept them apart for a decade, they must also quell a dragon rebellion before they lose everything all over again.
Author Interview with Mysti Parker
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jeann!
1. Tell us about the Tallenmere series and what inspired it.
I got sucked into the massive multiplayer online games Everquest I & II for a long while, before becoming introduced to The Elder Scrolls series of roleplaying solo games. I’m currently on TES IV: Skyrim and love every minute of it! But, back in my Everquest days, I started writing little stories about the characters I created there, and I realized how fun it was to give them adventures apart from the game. I decided to take characters similar to those and try my hand at my own fantasy world. The first novelette I published set in Tallenmere was based off one of those roleplaying characters, and the rest is history!
2. What is the premise of Hearts in Exile (that isn’t on the blurb)?
The real HEART of Hearts in Exile is the love story between Sir Robert and Loralee that spans several decades. They start out as childhood friends, and we get to see their love grow over the years amidst their own personal struggles. It’s also about dreams and families that fall apart and how people handle that, and in a way, it touches on the unconventional love of blended families when we see how Loralee interacts with Xaxony and Kershar—the two main dragons on the island of Draekoria.
3. What inspired you to write fantasy fiction?
When I was little, I wore out a 45-record that went along with a child’s version of “The Hobbit”. Wow—a little reluctant hero took on a dragon and defeated him! What kid wouldn’t be inspired by Bilbo’s story? Then not so long ago, I watched Orlando Bloom as Legolas…well, I had no other choice than to fully immerse myself in my own fantasy world. But in all actuality, I just love the challenge and stimulation of creating something from scratch. Inventing my own races, animals, plants, and mythologies satisfies my mind’s creative needs. I’ve been a full-time mom for the past decade, and writing is the perfect outlet to keep me sane!
4. Who is your favourite character you have created and why?
That’s really hard to say. I admire each of them for different ways. I love Caliphany’s independence, Serenya’s compassion, and Loralee’s fortitude. Then there’s Galadin’s need to right his wrongs, Jayden’s many talents and passions, and Sir Robert’s loyalty and strength. I even like things about my villains and secondary characters. I suppose for the sake of this interview, I’ll highlight Loralee:
She doesn’t crumple when life gets turned upside down. Sure, she feels it and it would be unrealistic if she didn’t, but she finds ways to overcome each situation she’s put into. One of my favorite quotes from her is after she and Sir Robert are reunited, and he asks her how she can’t hate everyone that was involved in her exile. She responds with:
“I did [hate them] for a long time, until I realized hatred does nothing from such a distance, except to harm the one doing the hating.”
5. How did you discover your love for writing, and what do you enjoy about being a writer?
My late mother said I used to run around with a pencil and paper from the time I could hold them (probably not the safest thing to do, now that I think about it), but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy writing. It wasn’t until I began writing those roleplaying stories around 2009 that I thought I might actually make a career out of it. Since then, it’s got me back in touch with the brainy, creative me that I’d been missing for a while under piles of dishes and laundry. I love that I can create something from start to finish and truly call it mine. And unlike my other household chores, I don’t have to keep writing the same thing over again!
6. What other authors and books do you enjoy?
As a teen and young adult, I loved Jane Eyre and read every Victoria Holt novel I could get my hands on. I enjoyed several of Stephen King’s classic horror novels, and enjoyed Lillian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who…” series. Now, I like too many to count, both indie and traditionally published. I just finished a manga-inspired fantasy by indie author Dan Wright called “Legacy of the Dragonkin” and loved it. I’m reading a fantasy anthology about two quirky characters (Weasle & Pickel) by indie author Michael B. Fletcher called “The Kings of Under-Castle”—it’s a hoot! I hope to read the latest by my fellow Melange authors Jenny Twist and Tori L Ridgewood soon. Plus, I want to read “Catching Fire” before the movie this fall and cannot wait for the third book in Deborah Harkness’s “All Souls Trilogy” to finally arrive.
7. How did you feel when you found out you were going to get published?
Ecstatic! Literally jumped up and down while calling my husband at work to tell him the good news.
8. Last but not least, tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I never thought I would, but I actually wear high heels on occasion and LOVE them!
About the author
Mysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya’s Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind’s ‘Sword of Truth’ series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.
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