Fiction - Science Fiction
310 Pages
Reviewed on 12/02/2021
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

I'm a retired professor of writing and now a full time writer and caretaker for our rescued three horses, six dogs, a cat, a long nosed river turtle, a desert tortoise, and a 500 pound pig. I've been a science fiction and fantasy fan all my life, so when I began writing the Patch Man series, I wanted to create a different kind of world than those I've visited in my readings. Ulan tells the story of how one of my characters became an assassin, but also how events in her life gave her the ability to change.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anelynde Smit for Readers' Favorite

Ulan by Rick Stepp-Bolling is a wonderful and tense adventure. We first meet Ulan and her few friends out after curfew, and when they are captured, disaster is the outcome. The Imperial Guards known as The Panthers kill the boys and leave Ulan mutilated and seeking revenge. The families of the boys who were killed are seeking revenge against her. Her only hope is to flee with a warrior named Bas to a safe sanctuary where she can be trained. It is there where she makes a friend and even falls in love. However, for her, it is never that simple. Ulan has a gift that the Imperial forces are after and will do anything to find. When every day could be your last, you fight or die.

I loved Ulan by Rick Stepp-Bolling in a way that you love something special to you. There is very imaginative world-building and interesting inventions. If you think there is nothing new in this genre, I hope you will read Ulan. I could give away some secrets, but that is what makes this book so magical. The story grows on you and you can feel your strength building as she trains. The inventions, the worlds, and the atmosphere lend themselves to a movie or a series. There is so much to appreciate, and I would enjoy the ride all over again. The characters are well developed and sometimes complicated but that adds to their realness. Her journey is a complex one, but you cannot help but want to see her succeed and win. You root for her even when you shouldn’t. This story was masterfully done and I would direct anyone interested in science fiction to this book.

Foluso Falaye

Ulan barely escapes death after Imperial Panthers murder six boys who ignore the curfew. However, when she goes to report the death of the boys to the Prefect, she is seen as a suspect and has to escape death again. Bent on a mission to avenge the boys, Ulan escapes with help from the Prefect and joins the Sanctuary, where she meets Tara and falls in love with her. Subsequently, Ulan develops her gifts and trains to become a formidable fighter. However, she soon experiences another catastrophe, which tests all she learned in her training. Will Ulan find the strength to fight back and punish all those who wronged her? Ulan by Rick Stepp-Bolling takes readers through an exhilarating chase and revenge-fueled action involving a gifted and strong-willed protagonist.

From life-threatening fights with blood and sand as weapons to intense competitions with water as tools, Ulan is filled with concepts that just blew my mind with their awesomeness! I was completely engaged and eager to see Ulan deliver her vengeance. The book also contains some graphic scenes that intensify the excitement. Imagine being mutilated for hesitating. Yes, the antagonists are that ruthless! The world is well designed with different groups, defined roles, rebels, and an establishment that trains its gifted members thoroughly. I imagine the author must have trained in martial arts because of how detailed the fight scenes are. Every part of the story is quite electrifying as it moves from one unexpected event to another and meanders through different themes: sexual assault, mutilation, vengeance, bullying, friendship, power, love, and more. I'm seriously looking forward to reading more amazing books from Rick Stepp-Bolling.

Jennifer Ibiam

The Imperial panthers prowled Summia, and on one of those days that they killed six boys. Five of the boys were from Clan Hemite, and they taunted Ulan, while Kip, the sixth one, defended her. Unfortunately, they were out after curfew and carried weapons, costing them their lives and Ulan’s hair. A bigger problem arose when Clan Hemite blamed Ulan for the boys’ deaths. They wanted blood revenge, but the Prefect was quicker. He asked a skilled assassin, Bas, to escape with Ulan, even though she had another plan. Ulan wanted revenge for the death of Kip and her lost hair. She nursed a grievance against the Imperial panthers while Clan Hemite was out to shed her blood. How far can she run? What is her fate? Find out in Ulan by Rick Stepp-Bolling.

Ulan by Rick Stepp-Bolling was captivating, action-packed, and fast-paced. The novel was such a smooth ride that I didn’t sleep a wink until I finished it. By the end of this book, I was motivated to sign up for self-defense classes. Many things went down in Ulan, from politics to betrayal, loyalty, survival, romance, deception, humor, and more. I loved the plot, and the storyline was a masterpiece for a prequel! Rick is a fantastic, talented storyteller who drew me in with his writing style and character development. My favorite characters were Ulan, Tara, Mindara, and Shalah because I love alpha females. For a minute, I wished to have some of Ulan’s “copy and paste” ability. Bas was extraordinary, and Kip was a keeper. I had high hopes for Ja, but it is what it is. I’m invested and hope to read more of Rick’s work.

Tammy Ruggles

Ulan by Rick Stepp-Bolling is a well-crafted, engrossing novel about a young Summian girl blamed for the death of six boys from Clan Hemite. The Imperial Panthers are the true murderers. She gets caught up in a blood reckoning and tries to escape with the help of a post-war rebel named Bas. At Sum-Est, the Lore Master named Ja teaches young trainees how to be Lore Mistresses. This is where Ulan realizes she can avenge the boys' deaths by becoming a Lore Mistress. This is where Tara comes into her life. Tara is also new, but she shows Ulan how to make use of the body/mind connection, and how to love.

This is Book 4 in the Patch Man series, and the character of Ulan is so intriguing she makes you feel as if you know her. This is due to Stepp-Bolling's wonderful way with character, story, and world-building. This author builds Ulan so completely and intimately that you can almost predict what she is going to think or say about a situation, but there are still surprises along the way. I like that Ulan feels guilty over not being able to do anything but witness the event, and then she is doubly impacted when she herself becomes an intended victim. I must say Bas is another intriguing character, who teaches her how to fight once she's on the run. The supernatural teachings she receives are intriguing, and the suspense and dread are always in the back of your mind because Red ward stalks her to Sum-Est.

It's so interesting to watch how Ulan progresses into a warrior and assassin, and how she's transformed by it, and by love. The opening scenes are tense and richly descriptive, setting the stage in a vivid way. She's a bit complicated, but that's what makes her an attractive character. So basically, what we have here is an in-depth character study of a standout personality. The drama is gripping, well-paced, and thoroughly entertaining, replete with finely-drawn, intelligent characters that live and breathe. Fans of fantasy and adventure will love Ulan by Rick Stepp-Bolling.

Natalie Soine

Ulan by Rick Stepp-Bolling is set in the Summian desert and tells the story of Ulan who is taunted by six boys from the Hemite clan. One of the boys, Kip, decides that what they are doing is wrong and tries to protect Ulan. An orthodox group believes women have no role in fighting and interprets the Tel-Amir from a fundamentalist perspective. The Imperial Panthers, a death squad, come to her rescue but they too are violent and ruthless, killing the six boys to show what happens when their orders are disobeyed. The Prefect will inform the Clan Hemite that their sons are dead. Farah, the head of Clan Hemite, will require an act of blood revenge and enlists Twil instead of the Red Ward. Bas, a Galgahan, takes care of orphaned animals, usually poisoned by neurotoxins, and works for The Prefect. President Gelfson occupied Summia and introduced a curfew imposed on all activities and roving Imperial troops. Ulan informs Kip’s father, Gunn, of Kip’s death. Gunn sees Kip as a hero and gives Ulan his valuable bracelet. Farrah, under the command of President Gelfson, enlists Karn to kill Bas and Ulan. Bas and Ulan travel to Sum-Est, to the Temple of the Lore. Ja, Lore Master of the Temple Sanctuary, educates Tara and Ulan in the art of self-defence so that Ulan can protect herself and avenge the deaths of the six boys.

Ulan is a riveting story, action-packed and filled with excitement from beginning to end as the Hemite clan seek revenge. The interesting array of characters are all well described and easy to relate to, especially Bas and Ulan. The story is smooth flowing and makes for a quick, easy read. I particularly enjoyed the technology and weapons described in the story including the Holo and laser blades. Rick Stepp-Bolling does a fantastic job of explaining the events, locations and landscape – from sand storms to underground rivers. Overall, a fantastic novel, highly recommended to all readers.