God Stalk (Kencyrath, #1)
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God Stalk (Kencyrath #1)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,133 ratings  ·  75 reviews
In the first book of the Kencyrath, Jame, a young woman missing her memories, struggles out of the haunted wastes into Tai-tastigon, the old, corrupt, rich and god-infested city between the mountains and the lost lands of the Kencyrath.
Jame's struggle to regain her strength, her memories, and the resources to travel to join her people, the Kencyrath, drag her into several...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 1st 1983 by Berkley (first published 1982)
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You have to love Goodreads. I would never have heard of this novel if I had not seen some glowing reviews by other readers. P.C. Hodgell, who I plan to read more of, has created one of the most unique and interesting fantasy cities I've ever come across. Ancient, corrupt and "infested" with gods that battle for worshippers and power. The main character is named Jame and she arrives at Tai-tastigon with no recollection of who she is and we learn about the world and herself right along with her. A...more
4.5 stars. This is an original, superbly written debut novel with outstanding world-building. It is always nice to come across an older, lesser known (in least in my case) book that contains truly creative and unique ideas and this book does that. The City of Tai-tastigon is truly the main character of the book with its thousands of gods (most with their own temples) and its confusing, maze-like streets. Add to that a strong, well-drawn main character with unique and unsual skills and a deftly w...more
Apr 15, 2013 Jon added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Cait
Matthew Brown
This series is among my all-time favorites, and I'm a big fan, but I'll try to give it a balanced review. Since this starts a series, this is a series review as well.

I don't want to waste your time, so I'll begin with the series' negatives:

1. The series is unfinished, and there are at least three or four more books to go.

2. The first book and the most recent are a quarter century apart. The writer's style has changed over time; she plots better now, but the excess of imagination and ideas slows....more
This book seems almost incoherent at times. I think I'm missing something. I think I'm missing a LOT of somethings. Often, I felt like I had no clue why things were happening.

For instance, Jame has amnesia. That's mentioned several times. But she remembers her name, her father, her brother, her culture, history, but not other things? What exactly is she forgetting? Despite them SAYING she has amnesia and mentioning a few minor things she has forgotten, it's not really dwelt on. It's not a plot...more
The start grabbed me: an amnesiac young woman dashes out of the haunted wasteland and into a complex, baroque city that shares more than a thread of DNA with immortal Lankhmar. She navigates city politics and the paradox of the city's religious life, all while discovering or rediscovering her own talents and history. Whatever the larger issues of this world or worlds, Jame is left to her own devices and for now her entanglements are of her own design.

Each step of her discovery results in a more...more
May 25, 2013 Mark added it
I am not rating or reviewing this book, because the author's use of words rubs me the wrong way and my brain keeps analyzing it as a Bulwer-Lytton contest entry. For example:

He didn't see Jame, who was already parallel to him in the shadows.

As opposed to being perpendicular to him in the shadows?

Then Jame saw that a large, indistinct form was taking shape before her.

How does an indistinct form take shape? It started out looking indistinct, but as it took shape I could more clearly see that it wa...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

This was a fantasy story with a female protagonist. There were some pretty dark moments but no so much that it overshadowed the sense of adventure evoked by the story. I enjoyed the different characters, the presence of magic, the strange culture of the city, and all the gods. The appendices at the end were really useful. (In fact, I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I read them before the book.)
Melissa Proffitt
What do I love about this book? Pretty much everything. From the moment protagonist Jame enters the god-ridden city Tai-tastigon, the prose is rich and evocative. Hodgell spins out a couple of different mysteries, not least of which is the mystery of Jame herself--who is she, where did she come from, why does she know things first-hand which are supposedly only legend? Jame's experiences as thief and dancer in Tai-tastigon make for an entertaining and sometimes horrific story.

But I think the thi...more
The city of Tai-tastigon, mysterious as it is, fails to draw me in. It forms no shape in my mind's eye, and slips like shadows from my dreams' landscape.

The main character, Jame, mysterious as she is, with cryptic memories sprouting like weeds from her brain, a thief incomparably skilled yet honorable, a being of as-yet-undiscovered powers, fails to form as a coherent person. Sometimes she is tortured. The next instant, she is carefree and joking. No transition between these two states.

The tone...more
I enjoyed everything but the first and last chapter of the book very much. Those left me with the feeling that the rest of the novel didn’t really matter, and that the bigger questions weren’t answered.

Initially I had trouble getting into the book, as the heroine (Jame) doesn’t know what’s going on now and she has a 10-year memory gap in her past. The initial mysteries who and what Jame is, and what she was doing outside the city of Tai-Tastigon are all presented in chapter 1 but are not resolv...more
I have heard some good things about this series and I wanted to like it. However, this story didn't really work for me. The plot seems to jerk along. I would be reading a section and getting into the story and suddenly the story would move in time and space and something seemingly unrelated would happen. Also, I really couldn't develop any empathy for the characters -- not even Jame the main POV character. This reduced my enjoyment of the story. Things did finally pull together ... but I really...more
Andreea Daia
I am in fact reading an omnibus edition, but since the books were written so far apart, I thought that I would record/review them separately.

My first impression is really good. The writing has been very nice so far and the story catching.

This is a very good book, there is no doubt about it. As most people said, there is one word to characterize it: creative. P.C. Hodgell has a deluge of original ideas. In fact she has so many that the strongest point of this novel is also it...more
This is one of the most epic Mary Sues I have encountered outside of Harry Potter or teenie self-insert het fanfic. The extent of her Mary Sue powers is pretty mind-boggling, in fact, so much so that "What improbable special power will she discover next?" got to be as interesting and suspenseful as the highly adventurous adventure plot - which actually was rather interesting, though not without various serious flaws. The flaws are mostly what you'd expect of a Mary Sue's adventure, at least, if...more
May 10, 2007 Mrelia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone who likes good fantasy
This series has been a favorite of mine since my early teens, when I found it in a garage-sale stack of paperbacks. I was reading the first couple chapters while Mom was rooting around in the glassware.

THE HILLS ROLLED up to the moon on slopes of wind-bent grass, crested, swept down into tangled brier shadows. Then up again and down, over and over until only aching muscles distinguished between rise and descent, climb and fall. A nigh...more
Jul 07, 2012 Zoe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this book back in the 80s; I can still remember the art on the hardcover edition from my local library, which obviously isn't this cover. Nor is it the cover of the edition which I have, Chronicles of the Kencyrath, which also includes the second book, Dark of the Moon. Anyway, I recently reread it with a slightly different perspective - PC Hodgell was a graduate of Clarion, and somehow that made me read it differently. It's still a reasonably well-crafted book; the city of Tai-tastigon...more
I LOVE this book. I still cannot imagine why it was not picked up by a large publisher and promoted the heck out of. I recently purchased the latest book and wanted to re-read the series. (There's only four, and this is the first one.) It's a sci-fi, fantasy novel, and it is rich, layered, and thoroughly enjoyable. We pick up our heroine, Jame, injured, on the run, suffering from an infected haunt bite. She knows her name, and bits and pieces, but not much else. In this condition she staggers in...more
Chuck Rezac
Perhaps the best of the series. In this one Hodgell introduces Jame and the final world on the Chain of Creation. It's well paced, the conflicts are generalyl balanced with Jame as the one who tips things one way or the other -- usually making no one happy for long. That's her special gift and it's best demonstrated in this book. The fate of a dancer, an inn, a guild, the city and empires are all decided by her actions. In later books the scale and sweep of the damage she leaves in her wake seem...more
This book and its sequels drew me in as few books do. The author drops you right into a fully-formed world, provides very little direct exposition, but I never got lost or thought, "Wait, what's happening here?" The style isn't the lofty, breathtaking prose of much high fantasy I could mention, but like an excellent butler does its job well without calling attention to itself—no mean feat. If I go on I'll just descend into expressing my enthusiasm with random keyboard-mashing, so GO READ THEM AN...more
A good story, well told. A backstory almost as good, though less developed as Tolkien's Middle Earth, but . . . but . . . .

It just didn't work for me. I think it was the clunky opening. Hodgell's writing got better as the story progressed, but the first hundred pages were so poor that I almost quit after the first several chapters.
Catherine Faber
I love the heroine's self-deprecating humor, and the author's worldbuilding. This author has a gift for what I think of as the cryptic archetype--stuff I never thought of as an archetype until it surfaces in the story and seems so ...resonant, emotionally.
Kate Morgan
I don't understand why this book has such great reviews...when I read it it feels like I have blinders on. She has great ideas but they seem to come together in a shambled way. I keep wanting to like it, wanting to get the plot, or be surprised when some new development happens, but the world feels too colorless (literally, I can't imagine what it looks like, what people look like, why they might feel the way they do). Good authors pull you in, they get you to a state that you know what the char...more
A unique fantasy that doesn't follow too many mainstay fantasy lanes. I am looking forward to reading the second installment.
Althea Ann
My first book by this author, who's described as a "cult favorite." Never heard of her before, but I thought this was a quite entertaining fantasy in the classic vein (think Thieves' World) but with a vein of darker elements running through it... (maybe a little Storm Constantine, Tanith Lee, Meredith Ann Pierce...)
From the wilderness, the young woman Jame arrives at the city of Tai-Tastigon... unfortunately during the inauspicious night of the Feast of Dead Gods, when all sorts of formerly-wors...more
Cheryl Landmark
This book was...umm, different. And, not necessarily in a bad way. Just in a way that had me scratching my head every now and then.

It had all the typical fantasy elements--gods, magic, intrigue, action, vivid imagery. The author introduced some very creative and original concepts, but, at times, they seemed almost overwhelming and confusing. Just when I thought I understood what was happening, something would get thrown into the mix that had me wondering what it meant to the overall storyline.

Aug 25, 2011 Estara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: fans of dark epic fantasy with occasional flashes of humor
Recommended to Estara by: Auto-buy author and series - reread in preparation of reading Honor's Paradox
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this book during a very trying time in my life. It was read and re-read many many times, finally I found the sequel and then had to wait a zillion years for the rest of the books to come along but they have always been worth it. She went thru several publishers, a hiatus to get an advanced degree and finally seems to be landed safely at DAW with a good chance because of sites like Amazon.
This is an entirely different world and one that is not based on some sort of earth myth. It is dark a...more
I first read God Stalk back in university, when the woman I was dating at the time told me how much she loved it and suggested I read it. And I did, and it was really good, and then I read Dark of the Moon and Seeker's Mask...and that was all the books there were then, so I stopped. But now there are three more, so I figured I'd pick God Stalk up again after more than a decade and see if it still holds up, and I'm pretty happy with my decision.

There's a lot of backstory to the series, but Hodgel...more
I really enjoy this book and I enjoy it more every time I read it. I read a bunch of the negative review and their main problem seems to be that the main character (and by extension the reader) has no idea who she is or what is going on. That was actually a lot of the fun, discovering the world and yourself along with Jame.
I really debated whether to give this fantasy book (and the subsequent three books in the series) three stars or four. On one hand the plot is complex and background information is revealed in bits and pieces, leaving one to feel rather out of the loop or possibily even stupid. I kept feeling like I was missing something. Also, the author has a tendency to digress into strange dream or alter reality scenes that seem to go on forever. On the other hand, I really dig the protagonist who is a stron...more
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“A face stared up at her from the mirror beside her hand. Was that really what she looked like? Was that really what she looked like, all sharp lines and huge silver-grey eyes? Certainly, no one would ever call those features beautiful, Jame thought ruefully; but were they really enough like a boy's to have fooled that old man the alley? Well, maybe with that long black hair out of sight under a cap. It was a very young face and a defiant one, she thought with a odd sense of detachment, but frightened, too. And those extraordinary eyes... what memories lived in them that she could not share? Stranger, where have you been she asked silently. What have you seen? The thin lips locked in their secrets.

"Ahhh!" Jame said in sudden disgust, tossing away the mirror. Fool, to be obsessed with a past she couldn't even remember. But it was all behind her now.”
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