After nine years in the rangers, dealing with thugs and wild predators, Sergeant 'Chip' Coppelli has learned to spot trouble coming. That is just what she sees in the unexplained discrepancies surrounding the new recruit, Katryn Nagata, but even so, Chip was not expecting murder.
Jane Fletcher is a GCLS award-winning writer and has also been short-listed for the Gaylactic Spectrum and Lambda Literary awards. She is author of two ongoing sets of fantasy/romance novels: the Celaeno series—The Walls of Westernfort, Rangers at Roadsend, The Temple at Landfall, Dynasty of Rogues, and Shadow of the Knife; and the Lyremouth Chronicles—The Exile and The Sorcerer, The Traitor and The Chalice, The Empress and The Acolyte, and The High Priest and the Idol.
Her love of fantasy began at the age of seven when she encountered Greek Mythology. This was compounded by a childhood spent clambering over every example of ancient masonry she could find (medieval castles, megalithic monuments, Roman villas). Her resolute ambition was to become an archaeologist when she grew up, so it was something of a surprise when she became a software engineer instead.
Born in Greenwich, London, in 1956, she now lives in southwest England where she keeps herself busy writing both computer software and fiction, although generally not at the same time.
4.5 stars. I liked the murder mystery scenario. I had not read the summary before so it was a little unexpected in what I thought would be more of a fantasy novel. Overall good story, good pace, the romance was a nice slow build, and I liked trying to work out the world setup through hints. My only real issue throughout was that I wanted more back story on the world. But then at the very end she gave it too me. So problem solved.
Two years before being published as ‘Rangers at Roadsend’ via Bold Strokes Books, this book had been published under the title ‘The Wrong Trail Knife’ via Fortitude Press, Inc. I mention this specific factoid for one specific reason – the book description for ‘Wrong Knife’ is either written somewhat poorly, or if accurate, then implies that the book followed a different plot-line than the one I read in ‘Rangers’ (either more straight forward with less flashbacks, or . . . well ‘[Chip] knows trouble is on the way; [b]ut Chip wasn’t expecting murder’ implies murder will occur, not that a long ago murder was revealed).
I’m traveling down this specific path for the simple reason that I probably would have liked this book better if it had followed a more straight forward plot line. Instead the book, in part one, presents us, the readers, with Sergeant Chip Coppeli accepting a new private, Katryn Nagata, into the 23rd Ranger squadron as her underling. Then shows us them circling each other, getting close, darting back, getting close, then . . .. Then, suddenly in Part Two, we are way back in time when Katryn Nagata first joined the Rangers and the 12th Ranger squadron (the same squad that was in ‘Shadow of the Knife’). And I personally found myself accidentally skimming. Because I didn’t care – I already ‘knew’ Katryn had a fucked up existence in her first posting, had been accused of murder, had the accusation dropped but left in a way that rumors still follow her, etc. etc. I’d already learned of that in part one. I wanted to ‘rush forward’ back to the present. I didn’t want to cover ground that had already been covered. Except . . . the flash back was really really long. And more that Part One was a foreshadowing of Part Two . . . or something like that. Foreshadowing isn’t the right word. Hmms. No matter.
Interesting story. The investigation/mystery that unfolded, the mystery of the murdered sergeant, was quite interesting to watch unfold. The fact that the actual murderer was blindingly obvious (so much so that I knew who the murderer was even before the murder occurred), and that ‘everyone’ had trouble putting the facts together is not as irritating as it might have been (I knew because I saw things unfold; the people investigating didn’t have the facts I did until much later and didn’t normally investigate murders (not sure how often Militia lieutenant’s investigate murders, I know she did a bit of investigative work in the Shadow of the Knife book, but not a murder investigation – also she kind of got things wrong in that investigation (to a certain extent . . . arguably . . . ).
This was the second book I have read in the Celaeno series. And I enjoyed it a lot more than Shadow of the Knife. I decided to read the books in chronological order instead of in order written. And so far I am glad I did. Knowing the story of the Butcher and Ellis from reading Shadow first, this book flowed perfect for me. No questions about why people did what, character motivation and so on. The end of this book introduced the Temple and Celaeno's history, so I don't feel out of the loop historically either and many question I had from Shadow is now answered. Next chronologically is Temple at Landfall, and considering how Rangers at Roadsend ended in the Temple, I think I'm on to something going chronologically. Jane Fletcher's website gives the chronological book order if you are interested.
I'm not sure it's the best book to read immediatly after Walls of Westernfort. I liked it (although I have to admit the thing with the knives confused the hell out of me), but it has no worldbuilding or the amazing character development of the first two books.
It's telling that the Appendix, while short, was so much more interesting to me. I was literally shaking my head over the irony in that little piece of history from the Elder-Ones.
I liked this a lot! Less than I liked the other books, but still very much.
Chip was the star of this book, for sure. I loved reading her POV. While I really like Katryn, I'm not sure I really liked the style of the book, that put most of her POV in a flashback to explain what happened at Roadsend. I got a little bummed out and bogged down by how horrible her life was, and was really happy when we came back to the present.
The third act definitely picked things up; the murder mystery aspect was really cool, and really well plotted out, lots of nice twists and turns. I got really emotional down to the end, because I felt so badly for the murderer. I was glad that it wasn't another unsympathetic one-note villain, but jeez, I almost cried during her and Katryn's last talk in the cell. She deserved to be punished, but heck. :/
Chip and Katryn's romance was very sweet. Lots of things that appealed to me personally, and it helped that I loved them as characters in the first place.
Also fuck Himoti but I liked the Appendix as well. I've always wondered exactly how things unravelled, turned the way they did after Landfall, and the interconnecting stories of three women was a really neat way to show it.
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.
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.
Loving this series still, i wasn’t expecting this to become such a murder mystery but it was fun. I love how the series doesn’t really go in order and gives backstories to all of these characters while slowly revealing more about the lore ahaha.
I read this not realizing it was the second in a series, but the order of the books does not matter at all.
This book was fascinating because it's a lesbian romance and a cold-case murder mystery. The mystery is engrossing, if a little lacking in thrills, since it's all about solving a years-old murder long after the fact with only interviews and circumstantial evidence. The conclusion is not terribly satisfying, but satisfying enough. The romance is a bit tepid, and has a bit of the "insta-love" problem - the characters fall for one another for no discernable reasons I can see, and chemistry is minimal. It's still cute, though.
The part of this book that's weirdly addictive is the fantastically real way the author writes this sort of military setting and cast of characters. I've never thought reading a book about, basically, what is a fantasy equivalent of the army rangers or green berets would be interesting, but it totally was. The sisterhood, the honor code, the patrols, the squadrons - I've never been, like, into Risk or military stuff but this book totally hooked me anyway. I found myself in love with the Rangers, skeptical about the Militia, and wondering about the Sisterhood and the Temple Guards.
The other amazing thing about this book - and this is so bizarre - is that, OK, it starts in a setting where everyone is a woman, but absolutely nothing is said about this or explained, at all. At first you wonder if the Rangers are just women-only, or if maybe this book just doesn't have male characters, and it isn't until about 2/3 of the way into the book a character mentions in conversation "Do you understand what I mean when I say he?" and you realize, men just don't exist at all. There is one gender on this planet (sort of - it's complicated) and it's female. There is no reason given for this; in fact, it's more implied that the characters themselves don't know why or how, or even that there is any other concept. That in itself is cool. Quickly you just accept that this is the way it is, and read on, not really needing an explanation for WHY there are all women - maybe assuming it's just a MacGuffin setup for the entire lesbian romance.
THEN, you get to the epilogue. It's about 25 pages or less, and is THE BEST PART OF THE ENTIRE BOOK. It gives a brief but fairly sensible explanation for, well, everything. Where these people are, why they are there, how they got there, why there are only women, why some have the psychic healing gift, how they procreate, what's the deal with the wild animals.... It's some seriously amazing world building, maybe all the more so since it's not an info-dump, it's narrative, and it's thorough, poignant, moving. And it comes at the end, as this afterthought. Blew me away. I was done with the book but instantly wanted MORE. I couldn't believe I had just found all this out, and that was it.
I'm so glad this isn't the only book in the Celeano series.
I never say this about books i am usually critical and the most i give are 4 stars if i really like it. but I loved all these books. This whole series I was sorry to see it end or whatever i REALLY wanted them to keep it going. I think I can say I don't think I have one book I don't like more then the other. I take that back the first book with i read out of order hooked me fast. i don't think this is a main stream book to say for sure the art work hasn't been Holly-wooded up and it looks like a fan volunteered and did the art work, which personally love because it makes it more grassroots and that's that mom and pop lesbian book store feel i love.Which makes it more special to me And let me. because it's a book that addresses religion,social and cultural impact historical view points Jane Fletcher made a place where anything isn't just because its a female society this beautiful place just because its a female society. They still have domestic violence and situations fights,robbing and stealing etc. enjoy the read.
Of all the Celaeno books I've read so far it's left the least positive impression.
I'm not sure whether it was the order I read it in, it's a pretty much direct prequel to Temple at Landfall, and having read that, I knew how it was going to end. That in itself is not necessarily a problem if it's filled with enough meat besides the obvious parts of the stories and here I just didn't feel there was. Heavy on romance, a murder mystery and information about the Ranger characters from Landfall, the only thing I felt added to my knowledge of Celaeno was the in depth look at life at the Rangers, and that was good and interesting.
Not a bad read by far, I just didn't connect with it as much as with the others.
+ New characters. + Backgroud stories of known characters. + Great drama and suspense. + Good amount of pages + Good dialogue - Same thing with description. - Shorter "mature" moment than the previous ones. - Prequel instead of a sequel.
Overall: You can expect pretty much the same you can expect from the other books. Fortunately, this one gain my attention by adding a detective-like suspense in it, which was a good addition to the series. You get to learn the story of two main characters, their previous life, and problems. Also, you get to hear a little more about how a religious group got started. I personally liked the story, and hope to read more stories in this series.
This prequel to the first two Celaeno books concerns two side charaters from the rangers seen in the first two installments of the series, and how they became a couple. This book, as with Fletcher's other books, relies mostly on character development, and very little plot. There is a murder mystery here, but little is truly devoted to it. Still, the characters are strong and the story engaging enough. Still, this can't hit the high mark left by the previous book in the series.
I'm thinking this might be my favourite book in the Celaeno series so far. As the story takes place before all the others and you're aware of how this is going to end, I didn't expect to like it as much. I did, though. Chip is an engaging character and it's nice to get her story. It helped that there was a minimal amount of the weird scifi background in this book and that the plot for once didn't revolve around the heretics.
fantasy like story and I am glad the description of the two love birds wasn't like Xena and her side kick ( tall & short, Black hair and blondie). Good detective plot but I personally would have loved more erotic undertones.