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Rangers at Roadsend by Jane Fletcher
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I have a fairly easy time finding m/f and m/m books that fit my tastes, but f/f has been really hit-or-miss. While browsing All Romance Ebook's Lesbian category, I noticed that quite a few of the titles I marked as being potentially interesting and non-skeevy were published by Bold Strokes Books. The next time ARe had a sale, I decided to give Bold Strokes Books a shot. Rangers at Roadsend was one of my purchases.

This is another one of those times when writing things out in paragraph form seems to be a problem for me, so I'm falling back on bulleted lists.

Aspects of this book that worked for me:

* The world. Fletcher doesn't make it clear right from the start that this is an all-female civilization, so, if I hadn't already known that from reading reviews, my only clue for a while might have been the lack of men and male pronouns. I latched onto terms like “gene mother” and enjoyed finding out what they meant and how this world worked. This book takes place over 500 years after the world was colonized. That really hit home for me when another Ranger was talking to Katryn about snow lions and had to ask her if she understood what was meant by “male” versus “female.” The characters are generations past being able to understand anything other than a single-gender society.

* Chip. Chip joined the Rangers to escape her wealthy and influential family, not wanting to be bound by their expectations. The story brings her face-to-face with one or two of her family members, and tensions are still high. Because Chip's family has its fingers in just about every area of society, I also got to find out more about the world through Chip's memories of her life with them.

* Katryn. I initially thought she'd turn out to be a traitor who'd had second thoughts about what she'd done or was thinking of doing. I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding her and really enjoyed it when she began telling her story. She had been through some hard times prior to meeting Chip, and I wanted things to work out for her.

* The murder mystery. I wanted to know who did it. There were tons of suspects – more people who met the victim hated her than liked her.

* Chip and Katryn's relationship. I love books in which the reader knows the characters are interested in each other well before the characters themselves do. Chip was immediately attracted to Katryn but didn't act on that attraction because 1) it's frowned upon for a higher-up to be in a relationship with a subordinate, 2) relationships between Rangers aren't generally encouraged, and 3) Chip didn't think she was attractive enough to catch the attention of someone as beautiful as Katryn. Katryn's attraction to Chip grew more gradually. They had some incredibly cute moments. One of my favorites: Katryn is visiting the place where she was beaten by her comrades for the first time since the incident occurred. Chip, concerned for her, squeezes her shoulder, and Katryn giddily finds herself thinking “Perhaps if I act totally pathetic, she'll give me a hug” (pg. 176 on my Nook). I loved Chip's uncertainty about the depth of Katryn's feelings for her, and I loved the awkward little conversation they had about that.

Aspects of the book that didn't work for me:

* The slow pace. It's not like the pacing was a surprise – although the book's description appealed to me, the excerpt was worryingly slow. Katryn doesn't start telling her full story until page 78 on my Nook, so I spent longer than I felt I should have wondering whether the entire book would be about uncovering the “mystery of Katryn.” The book picked up the pace when it switched to Katryn's story, but, even then, it took a while to get to the murder.

* The murder mystery's resolution. I finished the book feeling a little confused about some of the details, but it's possible that things would be clearer to me if I went over the explanation a few more times.

My interest in Katryn, Chip, and their world was more than enough to carry me through the book's pacing. I finished Rangers at Roadsend quickly and immediately wished I could read one of the other books in the series. Unfortunately, Bold Strokes Books charges quite a bit for its e-books, so much that it might actually be cheaper for me to hunt down the other books in used paperback form instead.

Other comments:

The book's formatting looks a little funny at the beginnings of sections. My guess is that the formatting was done for the paper version and then wasn't prettied up and customized for the e-book version.

Also: I would have liked it if characters' thoughts had been italicized. It's common practice to italicize a character's first-person thoughts when a book is written in the third person, and it was a little jarring that this wasn't done.


Technically, Rangers at Roadsend is 247 pages long on my Nook. Page 247 to 259 is a short story titled “Three Steps Forward.” It gives more information about the beginnings of the Sisterhood, the religious branch of Chip and Katryn's society. I was not a huge fan of Dr. Himoti, with her enormous blind spots and habit of making huge decisions with little regard for anyone else's input, but I still enjoyed seeing how her words helped shape the Sisterhood.

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 24, 2013 |
One of the best of the Celaeno Series from Fletcher. She combines a fantasy setting with a 'who-done-it' mystery plot that drives the story. ( )
  sbarret | May 27, 2007 |
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'Rangers at Roadsend' was originally published as 'The Wrong Trail Knife'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0974137820, Paperback)

Gaylactic Spectrum Award finalist Jane Fletcher returns with another Celaeno World novel.

The absence of men on the planet doesn't mean that there aren’t any problems. Indeed, Sergeant ‘Chip’ Coppelli has seen more than her fair share of them. She escaped her family's manipulative plots by running away to join the militia. After nine years in the elite Rangers, fighting thugs and wild predators, Chip has learned to spot trouble coming.

Katryn Nagata joins the 23rd squadron under highly unfavourable circumstances. Katryn is clearly worried, and not ready to tell anyone why. The first time Chip sets her eyes on Katryn, she knows trouble is on the way.

But Chip wasn’t expecting murder.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:16 -0400)

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