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God Stalk (Kencyrath #1)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  1,576 ratings  ·  104 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
Mass Market Paperback, 284 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
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
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 i
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
Melissa McShane
Re-read 1/4/15: I'm struck this time (every time I read this, I see it from a different angle) by the ambiguity of Jame's relationship with her God. Yes, the question of her identity is an interesting tangle, but it affects what we learn about the Kencyrath's God and how it touches Jame's people even in its absence. Crazy priests aren't new to fantasy literature, but I like that their insanity, when it happens, arises from the power that makes it possible for them to be priests in the first plac ...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.
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
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
I've been vaguely aware of this book, and that it's generally considered a Good Thing, for some time now, so when it impinged upon my consciousness again lately, I popped over to the Kobo shop and bought it (hooray for the magic of ebooks!). And I found'm not sure I think it as brilliant as some people I know seem to, but I did enjoy it.

Jame, injured and pursued by boggles, comes running out of the badlands and into the distinctly weird city of Tai-tastigon. There she finds friends,
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is 2.5 stars, for “it was okay.” There are aspects of the book that I appreciate, but my reading experience was a slow one; when I take more than 3 weeks to read a 265-page fantasy novel, it hasn’t fully engaged me.

God Stalk was first published in 1982, and has evidently become a cult classic. The beginning is strong, with Jame, a warrior woman of sorts who has lost several years of her memory, stumbling into Tai-tastigon, a city inhabited by dozens of minor gods and their worshippers. Not
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
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.)
Ben Babcock
So, God Stalk is the first book in a series by P.C. Hodgell that seems to have a cult following but otherwise is shrouded in obscurity. I can’t remember where I first saw it mentioned, but it sounded interesting. I read the omnibus edition of the first two books.

It seems like God Stalk is a book that provokes one of two reactions: either one loves its rich, evocative characters and environment, or one hates the confusing and vague style of writing that leaves one constantly feeling like one is m
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
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
December 5, 2014:

Fantasy may be my first love in literature ... I read it non-stop in my teens and found this book the year it was published. I cherished it--still cherish it--as one of the best fantasy novels that have ever fallen between my hot little hands. Of course in the late 70's, early 80's there was much less to choose from if you were a girl--either the embarrassing woman-in-jeopardy fantasy or hard-core feminista stuff. All I had to compare it to was that awful Dragon Riders of Pern,
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
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
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
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
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
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
I recently re-read this entire series, so I thought I'd leave a review. I discovered the Kencyrath Chronicles when I was about 13 years old. God Stalk and Dark of the Moon were at my local library and they looked interesting. I burned through them both in a week and desperately wanted more. For years after that, I would check the library (including the regional database) for more installments. One day in college, I was browsing and put in a search- discovering three follow up books in ...more
Chicola Pimentel
Although she has a firm grasp on the english language, she has a somewhat enjoyable writing style; the setting is awful, really awful.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. Who gets lost in their immediate vicinity even if it is built to be a maze. Look i have been to favelas many times and they are actual mazes to me, to me not to the residents. There is this moment where a resident ties a rope to his door knob in order not to get lost. WTF. There is no sense in this, it's just a gimmick to make the place myste
K. M. Herkes
Reading the many other reviews for P.C. Hodgell's writing, I'm inclined to conclude that she must be something like cilantro, or truffle oil, or hot Thai peppers. Many people love it, some people hate it, and no one stands on the middle ground of "Eh, it's nice enough, I suppose."

I stand firmly in the love-it camp. I revisit this series once every year or two, as new novels come out, and I always start back at the beginning, with God Stalk.

That's also about how often I treat myself to stir-fry w
I am quite perplexed by this book. The parts that were written were amazing, with great dialogues and wonderful world building.
I got the impression thought that the book was supposed to be twice or three times as long, and it was badly mangled to fit some editor requirements in lenght. I kept going back to see if I by mistake missed a paragraph somehow. Some passages didn't have any sense at all.
Some characters appeared for the first time, but the way they were written was as if the reader was
Review of the six books released so far in this series:
Overall Rating: 3.5/5.0

TODO: review in progress...

This is a wonderful series about good vs evil. It has a creative world building I didn't read so far in any book. Three people were combined in a convoluted way into a single race called Kencyrath by Three-faced God to fight an evil called Perimal Darkness. For 30000 years they fought the darkness. But, they never won. Each time they lost a world, they moved to an another world in a chain of
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Other Books in the Series

Kencyrath (7 books)
  • Dark of the Moon
  • Seeker's Mask (Kencyrath, #3)
  • To Ride a Rathorn (Kencyrath, #4)
  • Bound in Blood (Kencyrath, #5)
  • Honor's Paradox (Kencyrath, #6)
  • The Sea of Time
Dark of the Moon To Ride a Rathorn (Kencyrath, #4) Seeker's Mask (Kencyrath, #3) Bound in Blood (Kencyrath, #5) Honor's Paradox (Kencyrath, #6)

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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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