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The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  252 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
In this debut novel, acclaimed short-story author Tim Pratt delivers an exciting heroine with a hidden talent–and a secret duty. Witty and suspenseful, here is a contemporary love song to the West that was won and the myths that shape us….

As night manager of Santa Cruz’s quirkiest coffeehouse, Marzi McCarty makes a mean espresso, but her first love is making comics. Her cl
Paperback, Bantam Spectra Book, 416 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Spectra (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 24, 2010 Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: quirky, fantasy, dark, 2006
If, from the title of this book, you think it’s a graphic novel, you’re very close. The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl is a book about a woman who writes and illustrates a cowpunk (an odd combination of steampunk and a Western) comic book titled The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl. Her name isn’t Rangergirl, though, it’s Marzi (short for Marzipan), but her life does begin to take on some strange similarities to the main character of her comic book when she starts to see visions of her charact ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
I found some of the concepts in this book really interesting - concepts of the genius loci - the spirit of a place - what I sometimes refer to as "the little gods". Also concepts about how reality is based on perception, even more so when dealing with such things.

I also really enjoyed the blending on the Wild West theme onto the modern setting.

But even though the premise was pretty awesome, and it deals with a lot of interesting concepts and plot ideas, the story, itself, seems like it could've
Jun 01, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This is amazing. Really amazing. I was born in Santa Cruz and have visted some friends that went to college out there and so I'm fairly familiar with the town and Pratt does a good job of making the town seem like it's filled with both normal and crazy people, but that's just to be expected. Which is true. It IS Santa Cruz after all.
This book is seriously one of the best books I've read in the past two years. It's exciting and has crazy stuff going on next to normal stuff and there's the "Magica
May 06, 2010 Michele rated it liked it
Finally...I finished the book. Author sets up a vivid scene, and can take you place. But the book is odd. First half of book took a lot of wading through, because it was setting up the story. Last part of the story grabbed this reader and she wanted to finish the story to find out what happened.

The story is about a girl, Marzi, who draws comics and works in a coffee lounge in Santa Cruz. Two years ago, she had a bit of a break-down, dropped out of school, and started re-claiming her life. She ha
Jun 03, 2010 Bethany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic. I'd put a *bleep*ing in there too, if there weren't gentle readers with soft ears out there. Pratt's description and use of location really makes the book, though the hilarious characters and the inventive plot sure do help as well. Without a doubt, he's my new favorite fantasy author, and without a doubt this is the best of his full-length fiction out there (so far, anyway).
Lori Whitwam
Jan 02, 2009 Lori Whitwam rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Borrowed from a friend, who liked it a lot more than I did. It's an interesting premise, but I don't do well with books where the rules and realities change at the will of the character, for no discernible reason. I liked some of it a lot, but the ending ultimately didn't seem to make much sense, meaning that it didn't unfold naturally from the ongoing plot.
Jul 28, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-reads
I loved this book. It was so creative and just pulled you in. I would recommend to anyone looking for a creative, well written novel.
Dec 06, 2016 Sarahanne rated it really liked it
This book was unexpected. Weird. Adventure, fantasy - sorta. Almost too scary for me (I'm a whimp), but I'm glad I persevered. Elements of art & myths & archetypes... A lot to think about. So many interesting ideas.

The kind of book that gets reviewed in clauses instead of complete sentences.
Jan 18, 2017 Mike rated it really liked it
A delightful story - one of those meta tales of a writer writing about herself writing. Marzi is a barista and a creator of comic books. Rangergirl is her main character, a heroic figure in a neo-western, confronting dastardly villains. Then the characters start to appear in her world, and the only way to defeat them is to travel to their world. Or is it really theirs? Who gets to define reality?
Dec 02, 2013 Camille rated it really liked it
This review and others posted over at my blog.

What if characters from a comic you wrote suddenly began creeping their way into your life and were less than friendly? Would you take a stand against them or call a shrink? Marzi finds herself facing The Outlaw, a nemesis she created for her gun-toting, badass alter ego, Rangergirl, in her wild west themed comics. As The Outlaw and his minions force their way into her life and threaten to destroy her town she must face them and defend her home.

Comics, the Old West and pre-historic creatures populate this story set in San Francisco, a place of neo-beatniks, earth feminists, agoraphobes and other assorted wildlife. This book is deadly serious in tone and yet I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of amusement at times. Marzi McCarty is no kind of heroine—she’d be the first to tell you that. But she’s a legend in her own mind and the artistic streak runs deep inside her.

Artistry of one kind or another fuels the people in this book from a mud-
May 12, 2008 Fanny rated it really liked it
This book was a bit stange for me at first, but then I started to like it. The main characters in this book are Marzi McCarty, (short for Marzipan) her friend Lindsay, her other friend Jonathan, Jane, Beej, Denis, and the Outlaw. Marzi is just working at the coffeehouse Genius Loci, when an earthquake hits and a regular Beej starts going on about some earthquake god, dressed like a Native American with skin like cracked sandstone. Marzi just thinks she's seeing things, again. Marzi has just met ...more
Sep 15, 2016 Melanti rated it liked it
A rather strange book.
Sort of a weird western, crossed with Buffy the Vampire slayer, with hints of some of the themes Charles de Lint plays with. (Manatou, Consent reality, artists, etc)

I was bored and ready for it to be done with by the time I was half done, yet at the same time, it's such an ODD book I kept reading cause I really wanted to know how it ended.

I'm not a comic book fan, but I think I would have preferred to read the (fictional) comic book rather than this novel.

So, to date, I've
Oct 13, 2014 Garrett rated it really liked it
A fun and engaging book that has comic books, art theory, murders, coffee, fluid sexuality, Old West tale-telling, vision quests, oracles and an unstoppable protagonist in the form of Marzi, who is an awesome central character. Reading this, while you're in it (and you will be) feels like the longest buildup to a climax EVER, but it would be a mistake to consider it that way, since it really has more of a comic book issues leading up to the last issue - in the old mini-series format feel. The pr ...more
Kivrin Engle
Feb 18, 2009 Kivrin Engle rated it really liked it
Genius Loci: the pervading spirit of a place, or the guardian deity of a place.

The place is a well-known Santa Cruz Victorian coffeehouse, in the heart of my downtown, and renamed Genius Loci, by our author, for what transpires within its atmospheric walls and behind its mysterious doorways. I dig that eclectic café and its dedicated baristas. Here’s what else I dig: an urban fantasy set in my very own urban landscape, my beloved Santa Cruz, a place I have lived for over 27 years. Blend with th
Mar 02, 2009 Kay rated it really liked it
Marzi McCarty works as a night manager at the Genius Loci coffeehouse in Santa Cruz and by day creates The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, a cowpunk neo western comic book. Rangergirl is the best sort of heroine doling out her own brand of justice but things turn decidely strange when her imaginary Rangergirl world starts to alter the real world. Full of quirky, cool characters and a super deadly bad guy called the Outlaw this novel rocks! With imaginative, sharp writing, a heroine with sideki ...more
Aug 18, 2007 Renee rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: right now? everyone.
Rangergirl. I want to write some intensely intelligent review of this book. I want to praise the coming of what I think could be one of the best books I've read in years. My brain is a bit too jumbled, though, from reading the last 369 pages in one go today.

Couldn't put it down for longer than a few minutes without it pulling me back in, through the dirty, grimy world it set up for us, an overlay of modern California and the rampaging Old West drawn so beautifully I could practically feel the gr
May 06, 2009 Allison rated it liked it
I picked this up at the library on a whim. It's marked as "sci-fi," but it was really more of a combination of fantasy and western, which in theory appeals to me. The story centers around Marzi, a comic book artist who must stop an ancient and evil god. Pretty standard fantasy fare, right? Right. And to be frank, a little too formulaic. I found myself wishing the comic book Marzi draws (about a Western hero named Rangergirl whose adventures parallel Marzi's own) was an actual thing, and that I c ...more
Apr 19, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marzi, comic book artist and part-time barrista fights evil entity with the power of art! The actual comic creation side of it is a bit too vague for my liking, especially given how important the stories are, but at least what is given is reasonable.

Apart from the whole "art creates reality" trope which I always enjoy, it's also got some fun superhero/western mashup going on. It's very much in the zone of stuff I like.
Jul 16, 2008 Paul rated it it was amazing
Takes a bit of time to introduce the characters and set everything up, but once the story gets going it really sucks you in. Quite literally.

The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl is a hugely impressive debut novel and one of the best I've read in a long time. A cracking story - peopled with well rounded characters and somne genuinely funny one-liners - that merrily tramples over a range of genres. Well worth checking out.
Matt Butler
Jun 08, 2013 Matt Butler rated it really liked it
Wow--this was one I picked up at a used bookstore, thinking it might give me a little bit of mindless escapism. I vastly underrated it. My wife and I both thought it was a lot of fun. Check it out! Western-tinged horror/fantasy novel about opening a door into a very bad place. Plus, most of the main characters are artists (interesting approach).
Dec 28, 2010 Simeonberesford rated it liked it
Shelves: urban, fantasy
I have been reading Tim Pratts short stories for a while this is his first novel.[return]The Coffee shop Genius Loci is a gateway to the spirit world. Our Heroine author of the Comic Book The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl finds herself fighting the spirit of desolation that wants to break through It isis already affecting those she knows. Can Art triumph over desolation?
Apr 15, 2010 Kris rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I generally don't like Westerns, even with sci-fi in them, so this one was a stretch for me. It was ok. I did like the Santa Cruz setting. I think his style is better-suited to short stories, so I recommend Hart & Boot & Other Stories, which I loved, instead.
M Scott
Apr 23, 2016 M Scott rated it liked it
Three and a half stars. Some likeable characters and good Santa Cruz setting. Feels over-long & lacking in surprise. But over-all, a pleasant fantasy novel set in northern california coffee houses where writers write pleasant fantasy novels set in...
Mar 12, 2013 Roy rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, especially the tie-ins with proficiencies of the art school students. The ending was a bit short, making it somewhat disappointing. Could have been so much more! Still very enjoyable. Read the whole thing in two days.
Apr 18, 2009 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2009
This book has an interesting premise, but it's one that I can't really put in a review without it being massively spoiler. There's a little more angst than I like, but it's a nifty blend of art, imagination, and coffee.
Shauna Mckelly
The parts of the book that were good were notable, but the setup went on for a long time and became boring.
Mar 29, 2016 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I read this book in high school and I just reread it and I love it SO MUCH. Everyone should read this book. Seriously.
The art student talk, the setting, the surreal fantasy. It's everything.
Lee Edwardsen
A well done first story from an author who has since delivered some fine pieces of work.

It's fun, intense, and worth your time. Please enjoy.
Jan 05, 2009 Loreen rated it really liked it
This book is for people who like Charles De Lint but could use a break from fairies and are willing to try cowboys, earthquakes and a scorpion Spinx instead.
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