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Jirel de Joiry

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  778 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
C. L. Moore created Jirel, ruler of Joiry, in reaction to the beefy total-testosterone blood-and-thunder tales of '30s pulp magazines, but Jirel is no anti-Conan. She's a good Catholic girl, stubbornly purposeful, relentless in pursuit of enemies or vengeance, hard-boiled and a little stupid, and cannot be distracted by mere physical attractiveness. Indeed, in Jirel's worl ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Gallimard (first published 1934)
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Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Swords-and-sorcery fans
Note, Feb. 26, 2015: While skimming over the stories again, as part of adapting and expanding this review for another site, and with the benefit of a number of years of further reflection, I decided that this collection fully merits an additional star, raising it to five!

Originally published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in the late 1930s, Moore's five stories ("Black God's Kiss," "Black God's Shadow," "Jirel Meets Magic," "The Dark Land," and "Hellsgarde") featuring beautiful swordswoman Jir
I had never heard of C.L. Moore or her stories until a friend lent me this book, which is a bit sad, since she seems to have been quite a figure. Specifically, she was one of the earliest women writers to enter into the sword-and-sorcery genre, publishing stories in the same magazines as Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft.

Jirel of Joiry collects some of those stories, specifically the ones that deal with...Jirel of Joiry. Jirel, the ruler of a fictional kingdom located somewhere in medieval Fra
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I may bump this up a star (because GR lacks half stars). The first story (a novella), "Black God's Kiss," is a classic that I highly recommend. It has a kind of weirdness that reminds me of Dante and Machen. The second story, "Black God's Shadow," is basically the first story rewritten, but not nearly as good. I increasingly lost interest as the collection went on. I kept feeling like I was reading the story, or parts of the same story, over and over. Moore is first rate when it comes to descrip ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Not a fan. I read this as fantasy horror, and it seems very over-descriptive, yet flat and repetitive. Jirel is interesting purely for existing (a warrior lady written in the 1930s!), but there is zero depth to her as a person. Very little seems to happen in each story as well.
Jun 05, 2015 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ebook
Famous as a woman's answer to the overwhelming and unquestioned masculinity fantasy of Howard's Conan, I was surprised to see that Jirel of Joiry was published within two years of the first Conan story. My experiences with Sword and Sorcery have been pretty dismal so far. Conan was inept and loathsome; Fafhrd was competent but loathsome; Imaro was briefly interesting in its cultural setting and racial politics but derivative of Conan's failures in the execution. Joanna Russ' Adventures of Alyx i ...more
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Jirel is one of the very first, if not the first, swordswomen adventurer. This is heroic fantasy with Moore's deft touch on the imagery.
Block God's Kiss and Hellsgarde are pretty interesting stories. The other three are just really bad. There's not much worth calling plot in any of the stories, if there's anything at all; and Jirel doesn't do anything at all except to switch her emotional state between defiant and angry. Whatever made Moore famous, these stories certain weren't it.
I found Jirel fascinating as a heroine of 1930s pulp fantasy. Throughout her adventures, Jirel's opponents constantly seek to victimize her, use her as bait, lure her in, or overpower her. Often she can't escape witnessing or even being part of horrific things, but she takes these impossible situations and confronts them on her own terms. I thought this was a nice alternative to always evading danger or using feminine wiles to get out of tight corners. Jirel is physically and emotionally capa
An unusual fantasy -- early 20th century sword-and-sorcery stories by a woman, with a woman protagonist. I'm sorry to say she still sometimes came off as a caricature, but there is plenty of remarkably original material as well; her descent into what the medieval French-ish heroine assumes is "hell" but is clearly some very alien, very other, dimension; or her encounter with a more than a little unsettling ghost "hunters." (And no, I will not clarify that.)

All in all, I came away liking Howard's
Ross Lockhart
Jun 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Swords and Sorcery is the brand of fantasy you’re looking for, then C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry is just the girl for you. Red-haired, armor-clad, and dealing out destruction with her massive two-handed sword, Jirel set the standard for tough warrior women decades before Xena, Warrior Princess or even Tolkien’s Arwen and Éowyn. Girl power, indeed.
the gift
Proto-feminist sword and sorcery, very imagistic, sensual, emotional, epic archetypes, violent, not very intellectual. Difference from male authors? Woman is not prize or prey. Woman is Heroine.
Bernardo Marrello
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Latimer
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere between Howard, Leiber and Moorcock in style, with a feisty heroine who is nobody's damsel in distress. The stories are more sorcery than sword, with a fair dose of horror. I preferred the later stories to the more famous first two, but each one showcases a remarkable character who shattered the glass ceiling in fantasy long before anyone seems to remember.
Michelle B
I read this *mumble-mumble* years ago & found it extremely uninteresting. It was endless talk & description & practically no action. It amazes me that Moore & Kuttner together produced interesting fiction but individually weren't all that hot.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Opening line- "They brought in Joiry's commander, struggling between two men-at-arms who tightly gripped the ropes which bound their captive's mailed arms."
James Hold
Sep 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Moore: endless description with little action.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C.L. Moore is a favourite of mine, an early classic writer in the fantasy field, who was able to bring emotions other than fear and bloodlust to pulp writing in the days when that was rare. Jirel of Joiry is the original kickass female protagonist, a warrior woman from the nobility who fights alongside her men and is feared by her foes. And yet she isn't just a man with breasts; she's very much a woman as well as a warrior. Her spiritual descendants include Buffy the Vampire Slayer and just abou ...more
Francesco Manno

In this anthology of short stories (written in the thirties of the last century and published in Weird Tales), Catherine Lucille Moore poses as a woman protagonist, which has never happened before that time in fantasy.
Jirel thus becomes the archetype of the female heroine, used later by many other authors of sword and sorcery. Our warrior has nothing to envy to a man as a force, indeed can boast a much greater courage than all the other warriors that accom
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Ce court recueil regroupe six nouvelles de fantasy, initialement parues dans des revues américaines dans les années 1930, et mettant en scène Jirel de Joiry, une femme-chevalier française.

Contemporaine de Lovecraft, Catherine L. Moore a publié pas mal de textes dans les pulps américains, écrivant aussi bien de la fantasy que de la SF (avec le héros Northwest Smith).

Les six récits que l’on a ici sont très disparates, car publiés à plusieurs années d’intervalles. Le style est malheureusement un pe
Aldo Ojeda
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I found out about C.L. Moore, I wanted to read Jirel of Joiry; a female writer with a female protagonist in the pulp era? I'm in!

This book gathers all the stories from the titular character. The first three (Black God's Kiss, Black God's Shadow, Jirel Meets Magic) that present us Jirel, the indomitable, fierce warrior, are actually very weak. Moore adds obstacle after obstacle for the sake of it, but doesn't adds up well. I was starting to believe that maybe it was too much hype for J
Feb 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheryl Tribble
Although Jirel's a warrior, we barely see that side of her, since the stories are more about her battling magic or sorcery or powers of another world than physical combat. The stories have a Lovecraftian feel to me, with similar formless, nearly indestructible evils and an overall feeling of inevitability, however what is inevitable is entirely different (i.e., in Lovecraftian stories it never seems possible that the evil will lose; in these stories, it feels inevitable that Jirel will win).

Myke Edwards
Granted, this was written many years ago, so the whole "show, don't tell" thing wasn't necessarily en vogue, along with many other rules of writing that (as a writer myself) I have ingrained into me and how I read. That said, the stories themselves were interesting, but still not perfect.
Much of the bulk of these tales consisted of Jirel going from point A to point B, with long-winded descriptions of these weird and foreign places. She went to go get something, usually a weapon, and then found i
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moore's descriptions tend to the excessive, and this may not be to any particular reader's taste.

I was struck by the similarities of the stories: each seemed to represent a journey into an alien otherworld where the laws of physics and possibly the laws of morality are different. In particular, "Black God's Kiss" and "Black God's Shadow" take place in a plane or realm that makes very little sense to us, but it still abides by some strange rules. With these stories as well as "Jirel Meets Magic"
Juan del Desierto
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
El conjunto de relatos de "Jirel de Joiry" de C. L. Moore es una lectura muy recomendada para los que creen que la literatura fantástica ha sido juvenil hasta que G. R. R. Martin se ha atrevido a abordar una fantasía adulta y carente de clichés. Lejos del naturalismo y hundiéndose en los terrenos de lo onírico, los relatos de Jirel de Joiry son joyas llenas de ambientación y extrañeza y narran las aventuras bizarras de esta heroína que rompe moldes, la primera mujer en el terreno de la "Espada y ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found every story in this collection fresh and interesting. The main attributes: the sword and sorcery feel (brutal, cynical and simple contexts in which to play out moral dramas without subtlety between super human and supernatural forces in a roughly medieval setting) and the strong female protagonist. Fine, but these served only as instruments to plunge the hero into one nasty crossworld horror universe after another. Each story had a quite inventive and unique object and set of rules. The ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taken together, the stories could almost read like a novel, since there is a small amount of sequential order to them, but they are separate stories. All of them follow the various exploits of Jirel, the ruling lady of Joiry. She was a very strong and distinct character, which I enjoyed, but in many respects she is the only character. Her adventures take her to a number of otherworldly places which were great fun to read about, but I thought the second story was far too similar to the first. Cer ...more
reverend dak
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this at a used bookstore for cheap. I knew Moore was on the Appendix N list abd I thought I would give it a shot. I read this after reading Howard's Sword Woman and thought it would be the same kind of thing. Both originally published in wierd pulp & horror mags from the early 1900's, but they ended up totally different. Jirel was royalty and leadership from the start and her adventure was more surreal and strange. Moore's style was also a stark contrast from Howard's. While Howard i ...more
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-fiction
I had been looking forward to reading this book for some time before finally purchasing a copy. It was well worth the wait. It turned out to be a quick read, but only owing to the fact that I could barely put it down once I started it.

The influence of Robert E. Howard is very apparent, but Jirel is not simply a female Conan, Solomon Kane, or any of his other characters. Moore has created her own original universe, one that I’m sure REH would have loved to read about. If you’ve already finished
Clifton Toliver
This book was a fun and enjoyable read. I think it is one of Moore's best efforts. The main character, Jirel, is a likeable if many times hot-headed character. To my mind she is a cross betweem Robert E. Howard's Red Sonya and Michael Moorcock's Elric Of Melnibone in terms of the plot situations she finds herself in. It is a nicely written piece of dark fantasy that has some interesting plot twists. If you like books with a strong yet slighty "flawed" heroic main female or male characters, I hig ...more
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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
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