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The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl    by Tim Pratt order for
Strange Adventures of Rangergirl
by Tim Pratt
Order:  USA  Can
Spectra, 2005 (2005)
Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Horror is creeping up on Santa Cruz with every stroke of Marzi McCarty's pencil. But can she stop the evil threatening her world before it's too late?

Marzi is night manager of the Genius Loci coffee shop and somewhat of a local celebrity for her artistic talent. She's the creator of Rangergirl, star of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl comic book.

Rangergirl's adventures, filled with strange characters and bizarre occurrences, are as far removed from Marzi's own life as possible. But when Marzi notices that people from her comic book are starting to appear on the streets of Santa Cruz, she realizes that something is horribly wrong. Add to that the fact that many of the coffee shop's regular patrons are acting downright odd, and you have the beginning of a cataclysmic threat to the world as we know it.

The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl is one of the most inventive books I've ever read. Tim Pratt is a master at dishing out one unusual episode after another, each one blending oddball comedy with the grotesque. The characters are as colorful as you'd expect from a book with such an outlandish plot. From Jane the mud woman to Beej the art student compelled by the Earthquake God to do his bidding, each character plays off the others and suits the dark comic style perfectly.

Pratt's writing never quite managed to pull me in entirely, but in this case I can't say that was completely a bad thing. I'm not sure I could have taken too much of Rangergirl's experience, since it veered from the wildly bizarre to the downright horrifying. In places, the pace slowed to a crawl as Marzi spent time with her friends, worked at the coffee house, went for walks, or did any number of other routine activities. A little more action would have added some much-needed spice during the lengthy periods of character introspection.

As the title warns, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl is indeed a strange tale. It's best read with an open mind and a large tolerance for the eccentric.

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