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Bride Of The Rat God
Barbara Hambly
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Bride Of The Rat God

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  590 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Chrysanda Flamande was the sultriest vamp of the silver screen in Hollywood, California, in the year 1923. Then an elderly Chinese gentleman warned her that a trinket she'd worn in her last movie had marked her to be the bride of an ancient devil-god of Manchuria. Now the Rat God is stalking closer, and Chrysanda is discovering that there's no mousetrap big enough to keep ...more
Published (first published October 31st 1994)
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I thought it very well done for it's type, and would highly recommend it for fans of romantic mystery, fans of the 1920s studio scene, and those who like Pekingese dogs. I won't bore you by meandering on about L.A., where I lived for four years, but I will refer you to a full, uncensored and off-topic review at:


It's not fair. It's not fair to other writers I'll read after this book – Barbara Hambly is going to make most of them look bad, and I feel sorry for them. It's also not fair to me as the reader to set the bar this high, so that I am perpetually a little dissatisfied with almost everything else. We won't even get into what she does to my own writing and opinion thereof.

This is the first time I'm writing a second review of a book. I reread BofRG for pure pleasure over two years ago, and wrote a
A nice urban fantasy novel set in Los Angeles in 1923, during the height of the silent film era, hence the hilarious title and movie poster cover. The story takes place during the filming of The She-Devil of Babylon, which is plagued by mishaps because the film's lovely star is being hunted by an ancient Chinese demon.

The blurb is misleading, because our protagonist is not the glamorous, good-natured "Chrysanda", who calls everyone Darling and lives on alcohol and cocaine, but rather her dowdy s
Nov 16, 2009 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any adult
I'm re-reading this again for the fun of it...

1. I love this book because of the horrible title
2. I love it because of the awful Rat-God cover
3. I love it because its actually about Chinese Mythology (made-up or real, doesn't matter)
4. I love it because it takes place in the midst of early silent movie making
5. I love it because it has interesting characters with interesting backgrounds
6. I love it because it moves fast.

Erin (PT)
This is an ebook reread of an old favorite, one I've read many times and will probably read many more. Appropriately enough for a novel about movies, there's something very cinematic about Bride of the Rat God--more so than the rest of Hambly's novels--and it captures well the spirit of the era as well as the somewhat innocent, sweetly charming banter and romance one thinks of when you think of "classic" cinema. I also think it's one of Hambly's funniest books, down to the hijinks of the Pekinge ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Marsha rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
I’ve always loved history especially since I grew up in Los Angeles, California, an area filled with it. So, when I read the summary for “Bride of the Rat God” and discovered that the setting was the early silent movie age in Hollywood, I was fascinated. Additionally, the book has a paranormal twist centering on Chinese mythology; so, what’s not to love, right? Well, the problem is in the writing I’m afraid. Sometimes, the best approach when attempting to tell a story is the direct one. This boo ...more
Down-to-earth widow Norah works as the chaperone to her glamorous, silent film star sister-in-law. Mostly this entails looking after Christine's trio of Pekes and ensuring Christine arrives places on time, but when Christine's stunt double is the victim of a violent murder on a night when Norah experiences some creepy horror herself, surreal Hollywood gets even stranger.

The 1923 Hollywood setting had me swooning; I pretty much ate up every detail about film-making, about the brutal lifestyle, ab
I love this book. It should be an idiotic story, and I’d love to know if the title was Ms. Hambly’s idea or her publisher’s: it certainly does sound like a movie title, and one the starlet who is also the title character would star in, but it also makes the book sound like a B Movie, and the cover art … And it’s anything but B.

Christine, aka Chrysanda Flamande, is the sister-in-law of Norah, whose point of view dominates. Christine married her brother a while ago, and then after his death – and
Yvonne Lam
When I finished reading Bride of the Rat God the first time, I reopened it at the beginning and started reading it again. Yes, I loved it that much.

The blurb makes me think that Hambly's publisher really didn't quite know how to market this book, but then again, one of the things I like about Hambly's characters is that they are very much themselves and not easily reducible to blurbs. The main viewpoint character is not Chrysandre Flamande, star of the silent screen, but her widowed sister-in-la
Totally fun book that's exactly what it means to be. Norah, an English widow who lost her husband in WWI, has come to Hollywood to live with her sister-in-law, a jazz baby silent movie star with little talent for acting on screen but larger than life off screen. Christine is mad for all things Chinese, including her three little Pekinese dogs and, unfortunately, an opal necklace that appears to be cursed. It appears to make her...dun dun dun...the bride of the rat god. Yes, that title is actuall ...more
I love how Hambly can take the most lurid, pulpish, overdone premise and somehow, I've no idea how, turn that silly premise into a solid book!

Her characters are always so much deeper than you'd expect for a novel of that type.
Ned Hayes
BRIDE OF THE RAT GOD is a marvelous historical novel (with an element of fantasy to it) that belies its kitschy title.

The title makes the story, of course, because it is, in fact, about a silent film star who gets caught in a sorcerous web of complications involving a sacred Chinese heirloom, a jealous demon-god who wants her soul, and his attempted sacrifice of her on the altar of his own ancient desire.

Sounds kind of melodramatic and silly, eh?

Not so much. Barbara Hambly has a deft touch with
This is fun, a 1920s Hollywood set fantasy novels, with a bookish heroine, demon fighting pekingese dogs. Not a great book, but a lot of fun and the setting and details had a lot of charm.
Julie Davis
Rereading this for the umpteenth time. I know it is an odd book for "comfort reading" but there you go. No power for our third day and I pull out Bride of the Rat God.

This is one of those guilty pleasures that is totally legitimate but would make me blush if anyone caught me reading it in public.

The title alone is bad enough. Repeating the plot doesn't redeem it much: an ancient cursed necklace worn by a 1923 Hollywood movie star condemns her to death by a demon (the Rat God itself). She must d
Amy Lilly
Bride of the Rat by Barbara Hambly

A scurry in the dark, red eyes half seen and a vampy Hollywood starlet. What could have been a Bela Lugosi horror film turned into a suspenseful novel that slowly filled this reader with a creepy sense of dread.

Norah finds herself enmeshed in murder while on the set of the movie She-Devil with her sister-in-law Christine. Christine, the star of the film, finds herself the target of an ancient Chinese demon known as the Rat God. Hollywood Hearththrob, Blake Fall
When, in 1923, movie star Chrysanda Flamande (real name Christine Blackstone) sweeps into her sister-in-law’s life, Norah finds herself moving from a small village in England into the glittering circles of Hollywood’s most famous directors and stars. And after her husband’s death in WWI, Norah needs someone to take care of and to learn to live again.

But as the latest movie goes forward, things keep going wrong. A mysterious old Chinese man, brutal murders, a rigged explosion (instead of the fake
The blurb makes it sound like a VERY different book than it is. What it is turns out to be much closer to a historical horror rather than a fantasy. I was thinking something more along the lines of Strings of Fate by Jen Wang, but this is much, much darker.

However, the historical bits were amazing. And I am in love with the uniqueness of Hambly's characters. They all feel real. Even all the secondary characters. And the historical period? Amazingly detailed. But again, everything feels natural,
Kate  K. F.
I'm always impressed by how different the books Barbara Hambly writes are, they're all wonderful and of a variety of genres. Bride of the Rat God isn't an easy one to pin a genre on as it starts off as a look into Hollywood culture of the 1920s through the viewpoint of an Englishwoman who's acting as a companion. Then it gets elements of a mystery/pulp novel where there's violence and motives aren't fully clear before ending up almost an urban fantasy. So far its one of my favorites of her novel ...more
Not my favorite Barbara Hambly book I've ever read, but as always, an entertaining read. This particular book is notable mostly for its setting: it's a blend of Chinese-inspired fantasy, horror, and mystery set in 1920s Hollywood. It's an unusual choice for fantasy, and as usual, Hambly handles it very very well. As you may be able to guess from the name, the titular Rat God is preying on the stars of the silver screen. Well, one in particular. Yes, the book is substantially less campy than the ...more
Barbara Hambly: Bride of the Rat God

This combination of mystery and supernatural fantasy is set in the world of silent movies, Hollywood studios and Chinatown. Norah, a First World War widow living miserably in Manchester is swept up into the crazy world of 1923 Hollywood by her deasd husband's sister Chris. Chrysanda Flamande is a silent movie star. living life in the fast lane, but essentially good-hearted. She whisks Norah off to Hollywood as dogsitter for her three Pekes and general companio
Lindsay Stares
Premise: Small-town Norah is surprised how well she's adjusting to Hollywood as her sister-in-law's assistant and doggie caretaker. Chrysanda (aka Christine) is a rising star in the silent movies with a flamboyant lifestyle and a troupe of Pekinese. Norah begins to hope that she can finally start to put the sadness of her husband's death behind her, when mysterious happenings begin to follow both women. What does Christine's necklace have to do with a gruesome murder? And how can they protect th ...more
Sarah Sammis
Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly was originally released in paperback in 1994. It's now been rereleased in ebook form. Intrigued by the setting — 1923 Hollywood, and the mystery — an ancient Chinese curse, I decided to give the book a try.

Nora, a British WWI widow, comes to Hollywood where her sister is a silent movie sensation. After her arrival, members of the crew are brutally murdered. If Shang Ko, a self described Chinese wizard, is to be believed, the movie star sister is in danger —
Kay Hudson
Bride of the Rat God, by Barbara Hambly, was as enjoyable this time around on my Kindle as it was when I first read it in paperback twenty years ago (something I didn’t remember when I snagged it from the Kindle Daily Deal offerings recently). It does eventually live up to its rather lurid title, with a cursed necklace, a Chinese wizard, and a powerful demon, but it is also a fascinating picture of Hollywood in the 1920s, when movies were silent, parties were noisy, and Chinatown was a mystery. ...more
Comment dire... ce n'est certes pas le livre de l'année, trois mois pour le lire parce que bourré de fautes de frappe ou d'orthographe énormes (je retiens un "chez-d'oeuvre" par exemple) et que le style est assez inégal. Impossible de savoir si c'est du à la traduction ou à l'auteur même.
Beaucoup de mal pour rentrer dans l'histoire donc, j'ai persévéré malgré tout, mais c'est peu ou prou cousu de fil blanc et la fin est connue bien avant d'y arriver. J'ai surtout eu envie que ça se finisse.
The title is difficult to ignore and also, perhaps, to take seriously but I enjoyed the book. The setting is Hollywood sometime in the early 1920s. Prohibition, the Hollywood studio system, and other bits and pieces of history are all part of the tale, and done so well that they aren't a distraction but make the whole thing even more plausible. Norah, the heroine, is a recent transplant from England where she survived WWI and the influenza epidemic - and again, the bits of history aren't distrac ...more
Ms Hambly dishes out a lurid tale from the silent film era of a starlet who finds herself in possession of a necklace that marks her as the unwilling bride of a demon! It was a fun romp with sketchy characters and a lot of flash and razzle dazzle. The most well-drawn characters of all were the Pekes, little fu-dogs that steal every scene. Despite the eye to detail and the dabs of actual research that shine out amongst the dross, I found this book sub-par to her better work. Her romance storyline ...more
A silent movie star menaced by a Chinese rat god because of a cursed necklace?? I mean, that sounds amazing. It's not. At all. Somehow Hambly started with that fantastically promising premise and wrote an incredibly dull book - completely lacking in wit, style, and thrills.
Jackie Newman
This book took forever to read! The narrative is pretty uneven, jumping from one scene to the next with no transition. The best thing about the book is that it takes place in Hollywood in the 1920's. Don't read it if you have another option.
Dans le Los Angeles du cinéma muet, l'actrice Chrysandra Flamande a tout ce qu'elle désire: des amis éperdus d'admiration, des soirées brillantes, des distractions exotiques et plus de bijoux qu'elle ne peut en porter.

Une vie de star, jusqu'au jour où un vieux Chinois la prévient que le joyau ancien qu'elle a porté lors de son dernier triomphe cinématographique l'a désignée comme la fiancée d'un dieu maléfique de Mandchourie.

Bien sûr, Chrysandra ne l'écoute pas. Mais des meurtres étranges sont
I like the title. I like the dogs. I mostly like the characters - flawed enough to seem real. But I didn't feel any real passion or romance between the two leads... so maybe this doesn't really fit into my Romancing the Romance quest all that well. Maybe it was meant to be a supernatural thriller instead of a supernatural romance? But I didn't find it all that thrilling, either.

I'm not really sure about the treatment of the Chinese. Sometimes it seemed like the author was just representing the
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aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
More about Barbara Hambly...
Children of the Jedi (Star Wars) Dragonsbane (Winterlands #1) The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1) Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, #1) The Armies of Daylight (Darwath, #3)

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