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Kirith Kirin

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  892 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Kirith Kirin is like no other fantasy that you have ever read. Jim Grimsley has created a fantasy that could have come right from our world where power and greed can tempt, and sometimes conquer, even the most rightist person and where knowing who your friends and enemies are can be very difficult if not impossible. Yet it is not our world. For in Kirith Kirin's world magi ...more
Paperback, 554 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Meisha Merlin Publishing
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Nina There definitely is! (I'm in the same boat as you in terms of reading preferences, and it's something I'm wary of too). There's a LOT of plot to get…moreThere definitely is! (I'm in the same boat as you in terms of reading preferences, and it's something I'm wary of too). There's a LOT of plot to get through before it starts, though, jsyk, and something that did bother me was that (possible spoiler, but like...) the relationship can be read as grooming, albeit much less malicious than grooming usually is.(less)

Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those who treasure strange lands filled with magic, lore, evil queens, dark mages, and larger than life heroes, Kirith Kirin has much to give. Author Jim Grimsley does not fast forward through any of the events in this epic tale as he reveals its mysteries. Those who will settle for simple universes and fast action will not find their place in the world of Kirith Kirin, but those who revel in detailed world building and the slow unraveling of of arduous paths to a satisfying resolution will
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
It was...quite sad, but not in a good way. It COULD have been a great book-quite possibly absolutely brilliant. It was started with a very nice concept-but it is very poorly executed. There are elements in it which clearly show it could be a classic of high fantasy. There is also the potential for it to have become a romantic fantasy that could quite easily have been of the "this will leave you huddled in a corner crying and hugging a teddy bear" type.

Sadly, however, the author is apparently a g
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
4,5 stars.
It was a long, slow book. There were places where it was dragging, sometimes almost unbearably, but when I finished it, I felt good, and I don't feel like rating it lower. Mind you, it's as fantasy as it can be; if you don't like high fantasy as a genre, there's no chance you'll enjoy it. I'm not an all-consuming fantasy fan myself but this book somewhat clicked with me from the beginning, and even though I spent days reading it (I normally read much faster), I didn't want to hurry, or
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's odd, because in some ways this isn't a very well-written book: it's dense, slow-moving and at times hard to follow; I found the sequel, The Ordinary, to be superior in terms of storytelling and writing. But despite its flaws, this is a captivating story -- I had trouble putting this book down, even though it was slow going. Grimsley has obviously put a lot of thought into the workings of the society depicted in the novel. He also manages to write about the use of magic and make it more than ...more
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1300s, magic-crystals
Maybe only three stars? I really don't know. What an interesting and at times frustrating book. There's an amazing story here, but sometimes it can be hard to see under the weight of all the lore the author just keeps piling on. At times I found this book breathtaking, other times I found myself skim reading. I did enjoy the way the author gleefully embraces a lot of classic tropes the genre has moved on from, but I suspect this was less intentional and more a result of the author not realising ...more
Kirith Kirin is the kind of book I savor with great anticipation and delight. It takes reading through a lot of other things to finally find a gem like this novel and I do not regret it one bit. The world building is complex and it can be overwhelming at times. But the descriptions are so luxurious and beautiful that I do not mind the fact that I will have to read the entire book again to grasp all the names and mythology.

Jessex’s journey was touching. I was in awe of the author’s vision as he
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, fantasy
Is this book hard to rate or what. I would probably describe it as 'If Storm Constantine wrote the Kingkiller Chronicles' sort of novel, but that would be over-simplifying things, and wouldn't make much sense anyway. But it's a start. So let's go with 'If Storm Constantine wrote the Kingkiller Chronicles' for now.

- Kirith Kirin is told in the first person POV by Jessex, who starts his life as a farm boy before a true dream brings him to Arthen to light the lamps and sing the morning and evening

Que libro tan complicado. Aclaro que la trama no es complicada, sino que su lectura. Hay una superabundancia de nombres extraños, y lugares extraños, y a ello suma razas de las que nunca se dice nada, sino que su ubicación geográfica.
Lo peor es que estoy pensando en leer la 'continuación'.

Hay momentos propios de toda fantasía épica, el chico elegido que debe combartir contra males inconmensurables. demasiada información presionada a la fuerza a lo largo de todo el tema, que hace la lectura u
Andrew Peters
I read Kirith Kirin right after I finished Richard K. Morgan’s The Steel Remains, which made for quite a study in contrasts (I liked both books for different reasons). Grimsley’s approach to fantasy is earthy, atmospheric and mystical, and reminded me a bit of Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea. It is also extremely meticulous, and that was the tough part for me. The story is a nearly day-to-day account of the magician Jessex’s apprenticeship and the eventual mastery of his powers. At times, I found it ha ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm
Not much of a romance - it is there but nothing happens of note until about 3/4 through. I think that is what kept it from being a great read - too much epic. And then it ended - I found myself thinking, "I read all of that and...that's it?"
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book combines both adventure and fantasy into an interesting novel. It is understandably hard to write a fiction book without confusing the reader as much of the characters and settings are made up, yet Grimsley managed to introduce a completely unrealistic and complex world without confusing the reader. Overall the story had strong character development throughout the novel yet there were some plot holes present and an exaggeration of many unimportant characters. I rate this rare yet wonde ...more
Abi Walton
Jim Grimsley does not fast forward any event in this incredible high fantasy novel. Grimsley is not a fantasy writer, he usually writes realistic fiction and stage plays. He is well known for his book Dream Boy. So it seems unfair and almost criminal that he should sweep in a write one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read. Kirith Kirin tells us a tale about a young Farmboy who becomes the most powerful wizard in the world whose destiny is to restore Kirith Kirin place as King, after the r ...more
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, glbt-m-m
Kirith Kirin is an epic, epic fantasy tale - imagine something the scope of Lord of the Rings' mythology, but condensed into 500 pages. The world building and history of Kirith Kirin are rich and detailed, staggeringly so. Echoing what another reviewer said, the history of the story almost overpowers the story itself - which is unfortunate, because both the present and past of Kirith Kirin's tale are fascinating. If Grimsley had perhaps drawn his story out into a trilogy, we would have been give ...more
Wrong Train, Right Time
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay
Taken from my July 29, 2001 review:

Grimsley does an amazing job with this book. The characters are well developed and take you on an amazing journey. This book did remind me of the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy which it is bound to be compared.

Jessex is an adolescent on the verge of manhood when the winds of destiny catch him up into a struggle that has been blowing across the land. It is a journey of discovery and love that fuels the progress of this story.

Unlike similar books in the genr
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Jan 29, 2012 marked it as decided-not-to-read
Shelves: fantasy-fiction
Someone in a GR group I belong to was really talking this up. I didn't get very far in, but meh, seemed like typical humor-missing epic fantasy.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Fun Fantasy for 3/4 through. Writer got too involved in creating the fantasy world, characters and story line suffered. Luckily he had some good twist and happy ending at last.
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The depiction of magic in this book is far different from that in a typical sword-and-sorcery story. It is breathtakingly powerful, and the novel is worth reading just to for the stunning battles.
Well...this was a DNF for me, but not necessarily because it was bad. It was a combination of factors-it's a long book, I'm a college student who just got a job during finals season and in the end I had to turn it in to the interlibrary loan people at my university before I found the time to finish it.

Then again, I also had plenty of time over break and I chose to start another Tanya Huff book and read through about 10 webcomics instead, so I guess there's also something to the fact that maybe
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, queer
Hm. This was... a read. I can't say it was necessarily an interesting one, but I can't say it was a boring one either. I really was intrigued by the world and magic system, and those descriptions of the magic battles--those were fantastic on so many levels (pun intended). But it dragged so, so much. It seemed like very little happened in comparison to the length of this book. It also had a very... unconventional story arc, which I don't quite know how to feel about.

Overall, it reminded me of bot
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Huh. Consider my reading slump to be gone.

Once in a while, serendipity happens to lead you to a fantastic book hidden amongst the chatter and noise of everything else. Kirith Kirin was that book, for me. I stumbled upon a glowing review for it (the review itself is not hosted on Goodreads) while attempting to search for more fantasy books with gay characters. It did take me a few months to get far away enough from the stress of university and to get enough time for myself before I managed to buy
Aveline Reynard
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 Stars

This is a book I'll probably revisit year after year. I honestly love this book, even though there's a few obvious things I took issue with: a really slow burn start, a zoomed-in focus on inconsequential details and a zoom out on the more dramatic situations, not enough time spent with the characters and a lot of very dense and elaborate worldbuilding. Looking back at it as a whole, I found that I didn't really care, and I had trouble putting it down along the way.

The aforementioned w
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Identified as the next server at shrine in Arthen, fourteen old shepherd boy Jessex is traced to his father's farm and with some haste taken to the Woodland to join Kirith Kirin's men; who could know then that Jessex was to become the most powerful magician of his day. On his first meeting with the boy Kirith Kiern is smitten by his beauty, but is reluctant to act on his feelings although they are not unrequited.

Following a summons Kirith Kirin's task is to travel south with his armies and magic
Dec 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, if a little slow at times, Kirith Kirin was a magical work of art. The characters were pretty mellow for me, the style of writing didn't ever make me feel overly attached to anyone. It might of been the atmosphere of *spoiler* of how everything was written for the past *spoiler*, and I'm sensitive to such atmosphere and it's always boiling in the back of my mind.

I did like the battles between good and evil, especially as the 'evil' ones had been good once. I think there's a
Nov 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: university, fantasy, lgbt
I honestly have NO idea how to rate this. It took me a month and a half to read. What was going on. I didn't actively dislike it like 'Captive Prince' or 'Ariah' but I also don't think I completely like it? It's not a "I loved it but GOD it's dodgy" like 'Melusine'. Idk

I was really into the beginning. It felt like a really CLASSIC fantasy, but gay, and I was so about that. I was really into the classic fantasy premise of an Immortal King amassing an army to take back his rightful crown, I was so
Apr 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
The story follows Jessex and his journey to become an all-powerful warlock in order to restore the balances of power in the mystical world of Arthen.

The first barrier to finishing this book was the glossary at the end. This is one of those stories where you really have to invest the time and energy into it, becuase half the vocabulary is made up. Sometimes this works really well, and the fantasy setting seems more "real." Here, however, it fails.

The use of magic in battle was told through a neve
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, gay-ish
Like a mythical unicorn, this is a serious, honest-to-goodness fantasy story that contains same-sex romance and passion. When I originally read this book I assumed it was going to be another forgettable gay pulp fiction novel, with swords and sandals and a little magic thrown in. To my surprise and delight, the fantasy elements are paramount and the romance just part of the story.

There are moments when you can tell this genre was a little outside of Jim Grimsley's comfort zone, but overall it i
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: other-fantasy
I unfortunately couldn't manage to finish this novel. I didn't give it one star because there were some interesting plot twists and I liked both the main character and Kirith Kirin (and their romance, even if it started too fast). Still, there were in particular three things that made it difficult for me to complete the reading:
- Jessex is fifteen years old when he gets together with Kirith Kirin. He acts like an adult so why didn't the author let him grow up? Kirith Kirin is immortal... and Jes
Nov 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: x-ebooks
I first got acquainted with Jim Grimsley's work through "Dream Boy", an incredibly poignant coming of age story, brief and stark, painful and unbearably beautiful all at once. When I found out about Kirith Kirin, I wondered how the author of Dream Boy would handle a fantasy story and I immediately wanted to read it. Kirith Kirin was a surprise in the sense that it was firmly established in a "conventional" fantasy setting. I expected more "vagueness". It's a short novel but with lots of atmosphe ...more
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Jim Grimsley is a playwright and novelist. Jim's first novel, Winter Birds, was published by Algonquin Books in 1994. The novel won the 1995 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and received a special citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation. Jim's second novel, Dream Boy, won the American Library Association GLBT Award for Literature (the Stonewa ...more
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