Have you ever had liking, attachment or obsession with fictional characters? Fell in love with any male fictional character? Well, I have always had this problem. When I read the Shopaholic series, it was Luke Brandon. Now it is Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series. I am hooked on to these novels because of this character.
Ranger is Cuban-American, hot, dangerous, mysterious, super-intelligent. And he is as unmarried as a man can get.
He is a bounty hunter and much more. He starts off helping Stephanie learn the tricks of this trade and goes on to become her friend and occasional lover.
Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it looks. There is a third guy, vice cop Morelli, in the picture. Stephanie and Morelli go back all the way to childhood.
Trenton girl Stephanie shares an on-and-off relation with Morelli but considers Ranger her friend and mentor. She is also hugely attracted to this friend-mentor and he doesn’t stop making advances towards her either.
That’s where we Ranger fans are bothered. Stephanie can’t choose one (“Babe,” Ranger said, “you need to make some decisions.” “I made decisions. I’m just having a hard time sticking to them.)”. She oscillates between both of them – each hot and attractive in their own way.
This love triangle has gained so much popularity that Stephanie Plum readers are divided into two large groups – Team Morelli and Team Ranger. Team Cupcake and Team Babe.
Need I say which team I belong to?
I am Ranger Ranger all the way. Team Babe.
Suddenly, I am attracted to anything mysterious or dark. A grand SUV. A sleek, shiny black Merc. Tinted glass. A lonely parking lot. A Tesla. Dusk.
I am obsessed with this mysterious character. He is tall, muscular and superhot. The air around him is usually a few degrees higher. His skin is the color of mocha latte. He wears only black. He has a fleet of expensive black cars, their source unknown. He owns a building where he and his team reside and conduct their operations. His house is secretive, not listed anywhere on records. It is as neat and progressive like him – sleek, black, sophisticated with state of art equipment. He is one of the few people in the city who can carry a concealed weapon. There is no lock he cannot open. There is no door he cannot pass through. He does all he can to watch Stephanie’s back. He silently helps her, puts all his energy and resources into taking care of her and gives her more protection than she can ask for (or deserves) without expecting (and getting) anything in return. It’s easy falling in love with this fictional guy (Sad but true. He is fictional). Women, including me, are taking their obsessions to different levels. Someone starts using Bulgari Men’s Green Shower Gel. Someone starts wearing black. I am dying to get a Rangeman T-shirt.
And here are the reasons why Stephanie should choose Ranger –
– Ranger loves Stephanie for who she is. She is a disaster magnet. She is silly, selfish, muddled. He doesn’t have to do so much for her. He can do without getting shot and having his cars burnt. He never attempts to change her.
– He has saved her life million times. He is beside her as soon as she is in trouble, even without her calling him. He just knows. Ranger has his ways.
– He has given her a key to his house – The BatCave. She is free to come in, stay, use the facilities there any time. Ranger leads a secret, dangerous life because of the work he does. And he trusts her enough to give her a key.
– Ella, the housekeeper and the only woman who enters the premises, calls him a ‘nice handsome man’. She takes care of his food, house and personal belongings. She knows how he lives and what goes on in his house. And she still calls him nice. And that is because Ranger treats her (and his Merry Men) well and lives a clean lifestyle. His people respect him.
– Stephanie has dragged him to her parents’ house for dinners (occasionally as a replacement for Morelli when the latter skipped out). He tolerates them and their awkward questions patiently and politely. For her.
– He keeps giving cars to Stephanie. His Mercs and Porches. She blows them up, gets them stolen. And all he says is – I’ll be there / I’ll send someone / I can replace the Porsche. I can’t replace you. You need to be more careful. And I don’t see her showing any bit of remorse over the destruction she causes. All she thinks about is herself.
– He is an intelligent, powerful, resourceful person. He has multiple businesses. He is awfully busy. But he makes time to check on her at least once a day.
– Ranger is Wizard. God. Wind. Shadow. Magic. Superhero. Batman.
– He makes advances towards Stephanie because he loves her and is deeply attracted to her. But he knows where to draw the line. He won’t cross the line when she is officially in a relationship with Morelli.
– Steph often lives in Ranger’s house and does office work for him. Even when Steph flirts back with Ranger, he knows how to stay away from her bed (his bed, actually).
– Stephanie takes liberty to occupy his house at free will which Ranger doesn’t question and yet, he has to explain himself to her time and again (especially when she royally occupies his bed and she sees him coming into the room in the wee hours of morning. She has the guts to give him a look and ask whether he is going to get into the same bed – because she is so scared of getting physically involved with him lest she gets enchanted by his charms. Ranger – poor Ranger – goes on to explain how he has been working or driving or chasing bad guys all night and needs some sleep. Gosh. Why does he have to explain… in his own house, dammit!!??).
– Ranger jumped off the bridge for her. For god’s sake, he jumped into a river to save her! He was there at her side just as she was being dangled off the railing and jumped in a second after she took the plunge. No one does it just for sex.
– If Stephanie is going to stick around in this profession, she cannot survive without Ranger. She needs him for protection and rescue.
– Ranger can read Stephanie’s mind.
And not to mention..
– I messed up my mid-terms because of my obsession with Ranger (and Daniel Sunjata).
– I am still on Book 2, but I know everything that happens between Ranger and Stephanie up till Book 20.
– I have read group discussions, quotes, analysis – everything on their relationship.
– My heart is breaking over the fact that Ranger is so considerate, generous and caring and Stephanie is just using him. It is so heart wrenching. I feel so hurt about a non–existing, fictional character.
I also have a few questions / comments / thoughts / requests for the author:
– Are you just dangling Ranger in front of us helplessly-in-love ladies to keep us interested in the series? Because from what I read, the later books get really boring and Ranger is the only reason people keep reading.
– Please don’t project Ranger as a sex monster who raises Stephanie’s body temperature every now and then and walks away no-strings-attached. He is much more than that.
– Stephanie is using Ranger, manipulating him. It hurts! She unabashedly sleeps with both men without giving any thought. She accepts help from either one shamelessly. She started out as a naive, adorable character. What happened to her later?
– Ranger saves her throughout each book out of his love and care for her. Often, he and his men get shot in the process. But every book ends with Steph sleeping with Morelli. Why? Just.. why?
– Ranger could snag a smarter woman. And he should to teach Stephanie a lesson.
– Ranger smiles. He laughs. He worries. He has a heart. Bring that side out. He is not all guns, sex and killing bad guys.
– I am uncomfortable with the fact that in One For The Money, Ranger is chatty, smiles and laughs a lot like a normal person. But later, probably after you decided to create a love triangle, you made him quiet, unsmiling, ‘not normal’ and sexy. Is that because you needed a twist to be added and used Ranger for it?
– You have conducted polls and we have voted for Ranger. This is it. Just close the chapter this way and let everyone live peacefully.
I have a lot of things to say to Team Morelli but I am trying to contain myself.
All those who could use a good light read, try reading this series. It is chick-lit combined with detective combined with rom-com. But do not blame me if Ranger captures your heart and mind. I am a victim too.