5 stars for me. I’m usually very stingy with my stars, but I definitely feel that this one deserved it. It was so good!! You know those books you read that when you finish them you wonder why they have been buried under a rock? Well those were my thoughts after I finished the incredibly good and sadly underrated The Mark of Ran.
In the land of Umer, The Creator and an ancient race of beings with untold powers once lived alongside humans. The Creator disgusted with what humans had become abandoned them and to fend for themselves. Rol Cortishane has grown up listening to these stories through his grandfather. He lives in isolation in a rural fishing village with his grandfather and his grandfather’s strange companions. One day the village turns on his grandfather and Rol is forced to flee. He escapes his village and takes refuge in the tower of Michael Psellos. Psellos is a strange man who claims to know secrets from Rol’s past. In the tower he meets Rowen, a beautiful yet mysterious girl who trains him to be an assassin. They fight to learn the secrets of their past, and what their place is in the future of the world. However, that knowledge may cost them a high price.
I’ve been in a fantasy kick lately, and I picked this one up on a whim. The synopsis grabbed my attention, although I had never heard of it I decided to give it a try. I know that hardcore fantasy fans fans love their books huge, and that might be why The Mark of Ran often is overlooked in comparison to writers like G.R.R. Martin. Trust me though this one deserves some love.
Paul Kearney is a fantastic storyteller. The Mark of Ran held my attention the entire time, and the writing was superb Many things happened in the book, and none of them felt rushed. He sprinkles in the right amount of magic, action, and mystery that the reader is always entertained. Much of the novel takes place at sea or on a ship and naturally there are nautical terms. However, Kearney’s writing does an excellent job of walking the reader through the maritime lifestyle in a way that you may not understand what he is talking about, but you don’t feel left out.
Finally what I loved best. The characters. Everyone was so interesting and multidimensional. I thought Rol was a great protagonist and he like many reluctant heros lives with internal conflict. However, he is a very decisive person. He makes his decisions and sticks to them. As for Rowen, I feel very intrigued by her story. I’d be very interested to see things from her perspective, and I hope we learn more about her in The Forsaken Earth.
Overall a fantastic read. I highly recommend it to fantasy lovers but not exclusively. This book can be enjoyed by many. I will definitely be checking out more by Paul Kearney.