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Black God's Kiss

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  202 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
First published in the pages of "Weird Tales" in 1934, C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry is the first significant female sword and sorcery protagonist and one of the most exciting and evocative characters the genre has ever known. Published alongside seminal works by H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, the five classic fantasy tales included in this volume easily stand the test ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Paizo Publishing (first published 1982)
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Best Sword and Sorcery
26th out of 156 books — 186 voters
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Pulps Past and Present
28th out of 200 books — 84 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 517)
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Dan Schwent
Black God's Kiss: Joiry falls to a conqueror named Guillaume and Jirel goes to hell for a weapon to use against him.

The first story was pretty good. The writing reminds me of Michael Moorcock and the trip to hell uses the strange geometry Lovecraft made popular. The weapon she brought back was a surprise but probably shouldn't have been given the title. Jirel seems like one tough cookie so far, years ahead of her time.

Black God's Shadow: Tormented by the guilt of Guillaume's fate, Joiry returns
Riju Ganguly
Jul 04, 2011 Riju Ganguly rated it it was amazing
At the very outset it needs to be stated that I don't agree with all those reviewers who had thought that they were doing C.L.Moore and her fantastic creation a service by comparing her with Conan the Cimmerian. No, Jirel of Joiry is not a "Gal Conan", she is a lot more than that or any other Red Sonja types currently flooding the fantasy market. She is closer to Kull of Atlantis in sombriety and credibility. Her physical strength has limits, she knows fear and acknowledges its presence in the p ...more
Sion Rodriguez y Gibson
Jun 22, 2007 Sion Rodriguez y Gibson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans
C.L.Moore's writing is foundational to the sword and sorcery genre and deeply neglected.
Teo Kos
Nov 05, 2015 Teo Kos rated it it was ok
C. L. Moore's "Black God's Kiss" collects all six Jirel of Joiry stories (including Quest of the Starstone, the Jirel/Northwest Smith crossover).

Moore's greatest strength is her fantastic vocabulary and the ability to create extremely vivid images with her prose. Each story is worded in so beautiful a manner that is rarely equaled in the genre (or elsewhere). Her sentences possess a certain musicality and flow, resulting in very distinctive writing. Her worlds are truly fantastic, with creatures
Feb 19, 2012 Larou added it
Shelves: fantasy
This volume from Paizo's Planet Library (which is a great and praiseworthy undertaking, although I’ll have to frown at the very sloppy copy editing for this volume which is full of typos) collects all of C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry stories. It fulfills all the usual conditions for a true classic: It is old (all the stories in here were published in the period from 1934 to 1939), it was innovative back in its day (presenting the first ever female Sword & Sorcery protagonist, and – although th ...more
Ernesto I. Ramirez
Oct 24, 2012 Ernesto I. Ramirez rated it it was amazing
Reading Black God's Kiss made me realize what have I lost at not knowing Catherine Lucille Moore. The five histories (and the crossover with her husband's character) appearing in Black God's Kiss (which is both the first story's name in the volume and the one which marks Jiriel of Joiry as an extraordinaire and quite human character) let me taste something of what Moore really is.

There is no other way to begin talking about Black god's Kiss and C. L. Moore than analizing Jirel of Joiry, which ca
Jadis Reich
Mar 19, 2014 Jadis Reich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story, wonderful heroine, wonderful conclusion conclusion. You can tell Ms. Moore is still learning her voice, but the vision is so compelling and eerie that hardly matters.
In an era of Feminazi joke heroines Jirl of Joiry stands out as *not* being a hyper-defensive misandrist snark fest, but instead a wild woman in wild times - much like the also bloody-maned Sonya of Rogatino. The conclusion is quite surprising and feminine, as well as all-too-human.
Dec 14, 2015 Shane rated it did not like it
I made it about a third of the way through this book before giving up. It was all about atmosphere. Page after page of description of shadows and flickering lights and the voice forever calling. This was possibly the most repetition I've ever read in a book. It just felt like one long scene where the same things kept happening over and over. The plot is really bad too. A warrior princess punishes and evil conqueror and then falls in love with him and regrets it because she can't stop thinking ab ...more
May 01, 2015 A. rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Hamblin
Nov 09, 2015 Andrew Hamblin rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Jirel of Joiry first introduced by C. L. Moore in 1934 in the pages of Weird Tales is noted as being one of the first post-Conan Howard influenced sword and sorcery protagonists as well as the first heroine of the sword and sorcery genre (ed note: I won’t lie that first bit about Conan comes via wikipedia, the reference was cited as being from Lin Carter so anyone who wants to take umbrage may rightly do so). Paizo, once again continuing their brilliant use of the Planet Stories name, republishe ...more
Dec 31, 2012 Chris rated it it was ok
If you are a fan of episodic pulp add a star. If you are interested in women in fantasy/sci-fi as writer or character, add a star.

The first story is the best of the lot, a defeated woman willing to sacrifice her soul to save her land, or perhaps more her pride. Her sanity and bravery are tested by lots of adjectives and things that just aren't right. The atmosphere is eery and well done.

By the second story it's apparent these stories weren't meant to be read back-to-back. Jirel goes back into th
May 09, 2011 g026r rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I've got a bit of an odd relationship with many of the Weird Tales authors, and particularly the stories that they published therein.

Case in point, Catherine Moore's Jirel of Joiry stories, collected here in one volume, including the crossover with her other character, the space-faring Northwest Smith, that she wrote with her eventual husband, Henry Kuttner.

Now, in Moore's defence, these were written fairly earlier in Moore's career, and were not originally intended to be read in such close prox
Troy Taylor
Jun 04, 2013 Troy Taylor rated it it was amazing
Taking a walk back in time ... when the fantastic wasn't ruled by elves and dwarves -- but by whatever (very, very) weirdness the author could think up. This collection of short stories by C.L. Moore is a fantastic look back at that era -- and the exploration of a character, Jirel of Joiry, who defies every convention of gender from that time (1930s). She is fearless, course, uncompromising and violent. But she also has a particular brand of honor, which gets tested in each and every one of thes ...more
Jun 17, 2015 Coen rated it did not like it
I expected much of this, as this is a collection of real classic pulp stories, and I love classic pulp. Also I like fantasy and sword and sorcery, and I like tough female heroes. And since this book has all of that, I expected a lot of it. I did not expect it to be very well written, but I expected it to be enertaining, at the very least.
It was not. It was boring.
Some of the stories, especially the first one, have some interesting ideas, and an interesting twist at the end. But before you get t
Oct 07, 2012 Dan rated it really liked it
A collection of six short stories, first published in magazine form in the 1930's, Jirel of Joiry became the first sword and sorcery heroine, also written by a woman! Catherine Moore writes incredibly evocative scenes and adroitly creates psychological tension in her readers. The stories are not merely "standard" hack and slash, but thoughtful solutions to plot crises are often found in philosophy, internal strength, and for Jirel, sheer intestinal fortitude. A rash chracter prone to paroxyms of ...more
Hmmm, I'm thinking 3.5 stars with half star being removed for that ending. Ugh. Otherwise, very imaginative and snappy take on the "descending to hell on a quest" trope.
Jan 14, 2011 Zare rated it really liked it
Meet Jirel of Joiry, first female fantasy heroine., vengeful and harsh warlord on a quest to vanquish his foes and evil-doers. In her adventures she chases her enemies to other plains of existence, fights very disturbing creatures and even comes across a traveler from the distant future.

Very interesting collection of stories - but be warned! If you expect constant action and sword fights you may end up disappointed because main point here is the atmosphere of the story - effects of the surroundi
Feb 20, 2012 Caroline rated it really liked it
Recommended to Caroline by: Roxy!
Shelves: read-in-2012
This is definitely one of the oddest books I have ever read. Originally published in the 1930s in serials, these 5 stories follow the warrior queen Jirel of Joiry. The stories primarily take place in dark otherworlds, different realms of hell to us, as Jirel is forced to battle with the supernatural and evil. The books are rich with imagery, there is relatively little action and even less dialogue. I definitely intend to read these again, and let these worlds sink into my imagination even more.
S. Ben
Feb 02, 2009 S. Ben rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, fiction, owned
The cover is terrible, embarrassing.

Okay, that aside, the stories were pretty good pulp fantasy, and the first (title story) in particular had a nice twist ending. By the end, the recipe got a little old, but I suppose that's what one expects from the genre. Definitely different than modern fantasy, and worth a read if you can get past the cover, but don't feel too shy about skipping one of the middle stories if it's getting old.
Timothy Boyd
Feb 21, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it it was ok
Moore's writing style reminds me alot of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, neither of whose writings I enjoy. Moore was a pioneer writer as she wrote of a strong female lead in an era dominated by men and male characters. I did not like the stories overall
Jan 26, 2011 Jevhad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is old style fantasy... if there is such a thing. I in particular feel indebted to Paizo for resurrecting this kind of books and hope they will have more coming for C.L. Moore. Her descriptions really take you along on the journey and the kiss to the black god's statue seems to me a way to solve the plot that only a woman could have envisioned. Really great book.
Dec 14, 2012 Joseph rated it it was amazing
The first story in the collection was slow and weird, but the ones after that were much better. Interestingly the main character, Jirel, is a female type Conan mixed with Joan of Arc. Anyways, I liked the last story best about the spaceman from Mars who helps Jirel fight the evil warlock in his bizarre night realm.
Aug 17, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
There are a lot of interesting worlds and ideas in this slim book. The second story repeats a lot of things from the first one, probably because they were first published serially and the second is clearly a sequel to the first. The other stories don't do this, fortunately, so don't let it throw you off.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I know that CL Moore influenced Marion Zimmer Bradley, among others ... but meh, I just couldn't connect with this. The style and content don't really resonate for me.
Hunter Johnson
Black God's Kiss, by C. L. Moore. A collection of pulp-era fantasy stories, some of the first to feature a strong female protagonist. Purple prose abounds, but the rococo imagery works well here.
Alexa Grave
Dec 04, 2011 Alexa Grave rated it really liked it
I loved most of the stories. To read an essay on the stories of Jirel of Joiry, please visit my blog:
Jul 13, 2010 Aaron rated it really liked it
Shelves: put-aside
Read only the first story in the collection. It is interesting to read older fantasy, not sure what I think about it yet.
Mar 17, 2010 Thom rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I liked the later stories more than the first two. Will definitely read more C.L. Moore
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Excerpted from Wikipedia:
Catherine Lucille Moore was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, as C. L. Moore. She was one of the first women to write in the genre, and paved the way for many other female writers in speculative fiction.

Moore met Henry Kuttner, also a science fiction writer, in 1936 when he wrote her a fan letter (mistakenly thinking that "C. L. Moore" was a man), and they ma
More about C.L. Moore...

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